550hp, 4x4, 0-100 kph in less than 2’’5, five cars line-abreast at the start for intense races of 4 to 6 laps on mixed circuits of around 1km, alternating between asphalt and gravel: these are the “explosive” ingredients of Rallycross, a discipline that first saw the light of day in 1967, and whose flagship competition has (since its creation in 1976) always been, and remains so to this day, the FIA European Rallycross Championship.
Three Driver’s European Champion titles are up for grabs every year, the culmination of a ten-event season: the first is in the SuperCar category (the blue riband category, bringing together very much improved TouringCars, most of them turbocharged and four-wheel drive – given that all original two-wheel drives can be converted into 4x4s); the second is in the Super1600 category (front-wheel drive TouringCars with a maximum 1600cc cylinder capacity); and the third is the TouringCar category (TouringCars with a maximum 2000cc cylinder capacity, rear-wheel drive – given that all original front-wheel drives can be converted into rear-wheel drive).
The principles of Rallycross have always been founded on the progressive evolution of the Drivers during an Event, moving through qualifying rounds (three per Driver) towards a final phase (a succession of Finals, C, B and A). In 2013, this traditional format will continue to be applied in the Super1600 and TouringCar categories.
On the other hand, at the initiative of IMG, the promoter of the European Championship, a new scheme will be introduced in the SuperCar category, in order to increase the competitors’ track time, provide the public with even more action and adapt the rhythm of the events to suit television broadcasting.
This new format is based on a fixed field of 25 SuperCars per event and a ‘round robin’ system of qualification (30 races in total, in which each participant will meet every other driver entered), followed by two semi-finals and a grand final pitting the 6 best (the first three in each semi-final) against one another.