Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Special ONE Racing Announce 2024 World RX Intentions

Special ONE Racing have announced that they intend to compete in the 2024 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

The team had to pull out of the 2023 campaign following a devastating fire at Lydden Hill in July, which destroyed both of their cars and one of their support trucks. Subsequently, the RX1e class of vehicles have not been used due to concerns about the batteries supplied by Kreisel Electric, which are being investigated as the presumed cause of the blaze.

Loeb in his spectacular Lancia Delta Evo-e, battling Kevin Hansen in Sweden. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

According to their social media, Special ONE Racing team is “pleased to note that the FIA, aware of the difficulties faced by the team following the incident at Lydden Hill, is making every effort to identify the cause.” They explain that the team, “like the FIA, is awaiting the analysis reports – conducted by the battery manufacturer Kreisel Electric on samples taken after the fire – which should help to determine responsibilities.”

The statement also notes that the team is “delighted that the FIA is doing everything necessary to safely continue the FIA World Rallycross Championship next year for all teams, and hopes to be able to take part.”

This marks a change in tone from a statement made on 26 October, where it was revealed that the team and both of their drivers, Sébastian Loeb and Guerlain Chicherit, declined an invitation to compete in the season finale in Hong Kong. The statement declared that “the team is disappointed by the lacklustre handling of the aftermath of the fire that had devastated its cars and equipment three months ago” and, as a result, would not be taking part in the RX2e machinery which the rest of the field has been using since July.

Loeb at the team’s spectacular debut in Montalegre, Portugal. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

The Story of Special ONE Racing So Far

Special ONE Racing quickly established themselves as a fan-favourite in the paddock. After turning heads with their stunning all-electric Lancia Delta Evo-e at their debut in Germany, 2022, excitement continued to ramp up when it was announced that rally legend Sébastian Loeb would compete for them.

Indeed, as 2023 got underway, the situation looked very promising for the French outfit. Having revealed their incredible Group B inspired livery, Loeb managed to reach the final at the team’s very first outing in Montalegre, Portugal, and there was always a Lancia in the final for every round in which it competed.

Sébastian Loeb discussing tactics in Norway. Credit: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool

Unfortunately, disaster was to strike at the fourth round of the championship. Details of the fire and how it spread can be found here. Special ONE Racing were quick to point out that “we can already state that no handling errors were made by the staff of the Special ONE Racing team, nor by those of its partners.” They expressed pride in “the response to our two magnificent Delta Evo-e RXs, of which all that remains today are photos and videos.”

Following today’s statement of intent from the team, hopefully the dream of seeing the cars racing at the top level of rallycross can once again become a reality.