By now, the dust and tyre smoke should have cleared from the Kent Downs following yesterday’s thrilling World Rallycross Championship event at Lydden Hill.
As I explained prior to my visit, I was looking forward to experiencing WRX for the first time and, like the rest of the huge crowd, I wasn’t left disappointed by what I saw.
Indeed, the last time I found myself so wide-eyed and open-jawed at live motor racing was watching from the inside of Turn One at the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
On that occasion it was sheer speed of cars turning in to the corner at 200mph-plus that wowed me. At Lydden Hill it was the driving technique, which melds a whole load of aggression with just a smidgen of finesse; always teetering just the right side of out-of-control.
That’s the theory, at least. It doesn’t always go right. That was evident right from the morning’s warm-up session, when Alx Danielsson rolled his Audi out of the competition.
What followed was a rapid-fire succession of races which without exception featured moments of drama: bumping and boring to gain track position in the first couple of turns, intrigue over when each driver chose to take the ‘joker lap’ and close finishes as drivers took every half-chance to try to overtake.
Heck, even the British weather got in on the act, a light smattering of rain throwing a curveball into drivers’ preparations for the showdown race.
And having dismissed the ‘joker lap’ system – where each competitor must take a longer detour once each race – as a gimmick beforehand, I definitely warmed to its merits when I could see the various positions of all the competitors on the track at the same time.
The final climaxed with a frantic duel between two of world rallycross’s leading protagonists, Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekström. These two drivers have proved their capabilities across distinct motor sport disciplines - Solberg by winning world championships in rallying and rallycross, Ekström by combining his WRX campaign with his main line of work, DTM touring cars.