|PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool|
The first three rounds of the championship all went the way of the Hansen brothers', but victories for Niclas Grönholm and Johan Kristoffersson in Riga mean just 23 points cover the four leading protagonists for the Benelux World RX of Spa-Francorchamps.
The Hansen World RX Team siblings are also the only two of the title-chasing quartet to have previously raced at Spa; Kristoffersson was absent in 2019, while Niclas was ruled out due appendicitis, whilst his team-mate Timur Timerzyanov clinched his first victory.
KYB EKS JC's Kristoffersson is a three-time champion at the pinnacle of the discipline, and but for persistent ill-fortune, his current points total would be significantly greater. GRX-SET World RX Team’s Grönholm, meanwhile, was the highest scorer in Riga – form he is bidding to carry with him into the second half of the campaign.
There are a number of dark horses in the field, too. Grönholm’s team-mate Krisztián Szabó has been a model of consistency as one of just three drivers to progress through to the final in every round to date in 2021, and Kevin Abbring has shown flashes of speed in the UNKORRUPTED Renault Mégane.
Enzo Ide in the second KYB EKS JC Audi S1 Quattro will carry Belgium’s hopes, while Timo Scheider is overdue a change of fortunes after proving to be on the pace but out of luck. Whilst All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport is hoping to have solved their driveshaft "supply part" issues that led to DNF's in Latvia.
Anton Marklund is an intriguing addition to the entrylist. The 2017 FIA European Rallycross Champion rejoined the fray in Euro RX1 at Höljes and set the pace until his shocking roll in Q4. The Swede returns this weekend in a Hedströms Motorsport run Hyundai i20 and is sure to put up a fight.
The challenging, purpose-built 913m track located at the heart of the famous Ardennes venue is characterised by significant elevation changes and incorporates one of the most iconic corners in world motorsport, not to mention the ultimate test of bravery – the daunting Eau Rouge.
The spectacular ascent of the Raidillon and its 15% gradient is followed by a tight hairpin bend, before cars hurtle back down towards Eau Rouge. There is also a stadium section that features an extra-wide, banked corner designed to allow drivers to adopt various racing lines. There are parallel jumps in the standard and Joker Laps.
The amphitheatre atmosphere around the circuit offers fans a full view of the action from wherever they are watching.
Track Length: 913m
2019 Winners: ROUND 5: Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS)
Fastest lap: Johan Kristoffersson 48.099s (in semi-finals)
Joker Lap Loss: 1.4s seconds (approximately)
2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship standings (drivers):
Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 130 pts
Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 113 points
Johan Kristoffersson (KYB EKS JC) 110 pts
Niclas Gronholm (GRX-SET) 107 pts
Krizstian Szabo (GRX-SET) 88 pts
Kevin Abbring (UNKORRUPTED) 79 pts
Timo Scheider (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 64 pts
Enzo Ide (KYB EKS JC) 57 pts
Juha Rytkonen 43 pts
Mattias Ekstrom 37 pts
Rene Munnich (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 16 pts
Attila Mozer 13 pts
Peter Hedstrom 11 pts
Oliver O'Donovan 10 pts
Herve Knapick 9 pts
Tamas Karai 9 pts
Oliver Bennett (Xite Racing Team) 8 pts
Mandie August (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 4 pts
Patrick Guillerme 2 pts
Dan Oberg 1 ptRound 6 World RX of Benelux Schedule (CET Times)
Grid Wrap Up Show: 17:39 [RX+ only]
Semi-Finals and Final: (from) 17:00
Grid Wrap Up Show: 18:00 [RX+ only]
Red Bull TV (FINALS) ROUND 6 [Sunday] - at 16:45 UTC+2 - https://www.redbull.com/int-en/events/fia-world-rallycross-championship-belgium