Going into the Lydden World Rallycross weekend, I hadn’t driven a rallycross car for 18 months. I hadn’t even sat in the Ford Fiesta RX Supercar I was driving until Saturday morning.
MAY 31st 2017
Andrew Jordan: WRX 2017, Lydden – “It was fantastic to be back in a 600bhp WRX car at the home of rallycross”
With all this in mind, my aim was to get to the semi-finals. You score points for each of your qualifying races, with the top 12 qualifying for the semi-finals. The top three in each semi-final then advance to the final. However, qualifying for the semis in World Rallycross is incredibly difficult. It’s done on time, rather than your position in your heat races. You could win your heat, but only be 15th on the time sheets…
So, getting my head back into Rallycross mode, I jumped into the Fiesta on Saturday morning, and came back from my first practice run to see I was on top of the time sheets. That was an incredibly nice surprise! Come the end of the session I was eighth overall, and was the fastest privateer behind all of the works teams, which I was very happy with.
The cars were a lot smoother than I remembered. This car was so much easier to drive than the last car I drove 18 months ago. On paper, compared to my usual British Touring Car Championship BMW, these cars are much more brutal with a huge step up in power, but I was actually quite comfy in the car.
That being said, there are a few ways you can tackle the launch control in these RX Supercars, and annoyingly I struggled with my starts all through the weekend. Still, I managed to get myself in the top 10 for both Q1 and Q2, which was filling me with confidence as qualifying progressed.
Unfortunately, a prop shaft broke in Q3, which changed my four-wheel-drive car to front-wheel-drive. And 600bhp with front-wheel-drive is not easy! That dropped us down to 19th in that round, which meant I was 11th overall going into Q4, right on the bubble for making it into the semi-finals.
With that in mind, we took the gamble to bolt on our good tyres for Q4, which we had hoped to save for the semis. I took my joker lap, which is an extra section of the track that each competitor must take once during the course of a race, on the first lap and picked off the rest of the field, coming home to take the chequered flag and win the heat.
It’s amazing competing in a British round of a World Championship, the home support was fantastic and to hear the reaction as I crossed the line was pretty mega. The win was enough to see me through Q4 in 7th, and into the semis from 8th overall – still the first privateer.
Unfortunately, I had used my best tyres to make sure I got to the semi-final, so I struggled in my race, finishing fifth, which was the end of our weekend. I finished eighth overall in the weekend, claiming my spot as top privateer and I can’t be much happier than that. Due to the competitive nature of World Rallycross, there are about 16-18 drivers who could realistically get to the semi-finals every weekend, so I’m very pleased with my weekend’s work.
It was surreal to be starting alongside the likes of Mattias Ekstrom and Sébastien Loeb. I had to take a moment to take it in and think “this is cool”. It was also an honour to race at Lydden Hill, the birthplace of Rallycross. I have a lot of fond memories of this circuit, and it’s incredibly cool to compete in an event here. Next year the World RX moves to Silverstone, but sports evolve, and World Rallycross is evolving at an immense rate. It’ll be different at Silverstone, and it may not be too popular among the purists, but they’ll come around.
I love rallycross, and I loved this weekend, but the BTCC is my current priority. I have another year on my contract with WSR and Pirtek, and I’m hoping to continue that for the next few years. Pirtek and I have been incredibly loyal to each other, and I’m not going to break that bond.
If I could do both, like Ekstrom does alongside the DTM, then that would be fantastic. Unfortunately, the opportunity hasn’t quite arrived yet alongside my BTCC commitments, and my near future is certainly in the BTCC. However, I’m only 28, so never say never!
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