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World Rallycross Championship set for down under

A surprise event is to feature as part of the Australian motorsport scene later this year when the FIA World Rallycross Championship confirmed it was heading down under for its final round.

Although no venue has been announced the event is due to take place in December and comes at an interesting time when the class is pitching electric powered entries against sustainable internal combustion engine examples.

The likes of Peugeot, Volkswagen, Skoda and more are represented on a grid of 16 contesting six events across the world in highly modified machinery.

FIA World Rallycross has grown significantly in the past decade to be one of the most popular categories in Europe and expanded into the US via the interest of action sports star Travis Pastrana. It even was an event in the X Games where rallying stars Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Chris Atkinson all racing against Pastrana’s army of action sports stars including Ken Block in addition to some road racing drivers of the ilk of ex-Formula 1 drivers Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Now it will hit Australian shores, but this isn’t the first time.

Rallycross was a major discipline during the late-1960s and early-1970s at a variety of circuits countrywide using pseudo road racing facilities, with a dirt track generally positioned inside the circuit.

Calder, Catalina Park and Tailem Bend all were used as rallycross venues during this time as some some events even received live coverage.

Peter Brock in the Holden Dealer Team’s ‘Beast’ Torana GTR XU-1, Bob Watson for Renault, Allan Moffat in a Ford Cortina and many more thrilled fans over jumps at Calder, but the discipline petered out by the mid-1970s.

However, rallycross and its more liberal rules may lay claim to aiding in the experimentation witnessed in sports sedans, which its popularity rose throughout the 1970s.

The rallycross entries from the past bare little resemblance to the ones of yesteryear, but experimentation is still a major feature of the discipline to this day.