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World RX fire investigation ongoing as Lydden Hill RX1e races cancelled

Ongoing investigations into the Lydden Hill World Rallycross Championship paddock fire that destroyed Special One Racing's cars has caused the cancellation of its RX1e class races on Sunday.

Sebastien Loeb, Guerlain Chicherit, Special ONE Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Following the decision to cancel Saturday's RX1e races, a brief statement issued on Friday evening stated that World RX's second-tier RX2e championship and the British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy would continue as planned but with no track action for the RX1e cars.

A further update was issued late on Satuday evening that explained the decision "to permanently stop round four of the World Rallycross RX1e championship for safety reasons".

Both Lancia-badged cars fielded by Guerlain Chicherit's Special One outfit, including one due to be raced by Sebastien Loeb, were destroyed along with a team transporter in the blaze on Friday. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

The stewards bulletin said that from video evidence, it had deduced "that the fire was initiated at the battery of the car while it was in the team area charging, but it is not clear why this happened".

Battery manufacturer Kreisel has supported investigations initiated by the FIA with the cooperation of the Kent Fire service, Lydden Hill track staff and the championship promoter.

But the update stated that "the investigation has not progressed far enough to determine a root cause for the failure that led to the fire. Nor will the investigation be able to find the root cause in time for the event to proceed with the assurance of the appropriate level of safety for the spectators, team members and drivers".

Sebastien Loeb, Special ONE Racing

Sebastien Loeb, Special ONE Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

The decision to cancel, after "various alternatives for the management of the event that might have permitted the Competition to proceed" was made as "all alternatives would be based on speculation on the causes of the extremely dangerous fire".

It added that Kreisel "was unable to provide an appropriate level of assurance in the system, pending their investigations".

World RX moved to electric power ahead of the 2022 season, and was making its return to the spiritual home of rallycross for the first time since 2017 after events staged at Silverstone in 2018 and 2019.

There is a short turnaround before the next event at the Belgian Mettet track on 5-6 August.

In a statement, Hansen Motorsport boss Kenneth Hansen said his team "supports the decision of the FIA"."The main reason is that safety comes first," he said.

"We need to learn from what has happened and benefit from it.

"We love to be on the racing track, it s our passion, so we are sad not to have been racing this weekend, but we don't want to risk anything.

"I think we can come back stronger from this - not just us but the whole championship."

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