Drag racing aside, World Rallycross Championship cars are pretty much the quickest things on four wheels.

Based on humble hatchbacks but extensively re-engineered into almost unrecognisable machines, they make use of tremendous traction and heavy boost to launch off the line quicker than even Formula 1 cars.

This start performance is not just staggering, it’s also highly important. This is because the races can be as short as four laps long, meaning a fluffed first few hundred metres will pretty much end all hopes of a good result.

Guy Wilks, Britain’s sole remaining entry in this year’s WRX championship, has plenty of all-wheel drive competition experience to his name. Ahead of his final qualifying race at the season's Circuit de Catalunya round, we ask him how he nails a start in his JRM World Rallycross Team Mini Countryman.

“It’s pure aggression. It’s a reaction thing,” he says enthusiastically.

“We’ll do a tyre clean before we roll up to the start. It’s just to get dirt and debris off of the tyres and warm them a little, but we don’t want to warm them too much because these tyres are actually cross-ply, not radial, so if you heat them too much they start to move more and more.”

Wilks says while the tyres do have a manageable operating window, multiple starts can quickly damage them. “One clean usually does the job,” he confirms.

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“We roll up to the start line, and the start marshal brings us 10 to 15 centimetres from a trigger point. The trigger is a little rod that sticks up in front of the bumper to recognise a jump-start,” he continues. “If we’re too early, we’ll knock the trigger down and that signals we’ve jumped the start.”