Rallycross is one of the youngest types of motorsport. Its history goes back only to 1967 and the first, improvised championship was held England. It was when the epidemy of aphthous fever spread over the British Islands and the organisers were forced to cancel the RAC Rally. However, because its participants had already arrived in Britain, a race on a short, closed track with differentiated surface (road metal, asphalt and concrete) was organised for them.
The informal competition turned out to be successful and was enjoyed both by the drivers and fans, who could observe unusual spectacle and technical rides of their favourites in one place. Rallycross then developed rapidly - the European Championship in this sport have been held since 1973. What is interesting, rallycross has not gained much popularity outside Europe. Still, the championship of the Old Continent is the highest rank competition (there is no World Championship) and the top competitors come from France, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and Germany.
For years rallycross has undergone numerous changes regarding the track, cars allowed to enter or the regulations. At present, events are held on a closed circuit where the length of loop fluctuates around 1 km and the surface include road metal and concrete or asphalt. A rallycross event starts with timed practice on the basis of which the order of starts in the qualifying heats is fixed. In the qualifiaction process (three heats) the competitors fight for the right to start in the finals. According to the results from the first heat the starting position in the second (heat) is settled and from the sum of the results from the two the position for the third heat. In the finals the competitors are admitted the start position on the basis of their two best results from the heats.
Cars allowed to enter rallycross competitions are also a curious issue. In the European Championship automobiles are divided into Divisions, depending on the engine capacity and the introduced technical modifications. In the strongest and the most spectacular division the only elements from the original car are in fact motorcar body profile and engine block. The regulations allow advanced changes concerning decreasing the weight of a car, strengthening the engine, suspension transformation, modification of gear chest, etc.
That is why while observing a rallycross competition on the highest level we should not be surprised when we see for instance a Ford Focus that looks like a WRC car (a World Rally Championship car). It weighs, however, a few hundred kilograms less; some of the chassis elements are made of plastics and under the bonnet there lie dormant over 600 hp (in World rally Championship the limit is 300 hp). It is not a secret that the budgets of top drivers starting in the cycle of Rallycross European Championship are comparable to a respectable budget of a private team starting in World Rally Championship.