The fourth round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship stole all the headlines this week. Organised by AKK Sport, the event set a new benchmark for the championship as the organiser of the world’s best rally brought all its expertise and skill to play on rallycross. This was also the first live broadcast in the new era of RallycrossRX, and in territories where there was no agreement for the event to be broadcast live it was made available on the internet as a live stream, effectively meaning you could watch the event as it happened wherever you were in the world.
On the track the action was good all weekend, Liam Doran bouncing back from his heavy crash in Hungary to smash in fastest time in the first heat with Petter Solberg, points leader Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen winning the later heat in evenly matched races. Newcomer Brian Deegan bagged two race wins in the heats, but a puncture in the first heat hurt his run and eventually placed 13th, just out of the finals. The event is also attended by a number of important guests, including head of VW Motor Sport Jost Capito.
Solberg progressed to the final after winning his semi and then swept around the outside of the pack in the first corner to take the lead. Quickly establishing what appeared to be a winning margin, Solberg was forced to park his DS3 in the fifth lap after a bolt in a track control arm broke. Tanner Foust was on his way to second place when Solberg was forced out and completed the last lap to take his second event win of the year. Timerzyanov won his semi-final and emerged from the final with second place, Hansen completing the podium finishers. Rough stuff early in the race did for Doran’s challenge and he placed fourth. The LDMS squad had a great event after its Hungarian nightmare, Andreas Bakkerud taking the second car to the final before stopping in the third lap.
Having found his feet in Hungary, Reinis Nitiss looked every inch the winner in Finland and by the time the final came around was in unstoppable form as he led home Set Promotion team mate Ildar Rakhmatullin. Eric Faren, also in the wars in Hungary, placed third in a closely fought final that lost pole starter Vadim Makarov in the first lap. TouringCar was dominated by Derek Tohill who won all four heats. Robin Larsson jumped up from row two to lead the final and when his car went sick there was a messy incident between himself and Tohill that left the door wide open for Roman Castoral. The wily Czech picked his way through the trouble and went away to take the win ahead of Tohill and Daniel Lundh. JRX dropped to just three starters and was won by William Nilsson.
On the eve of the Finnish event Timmy Hansen announces a new commercial deal with the Japanese-owned, Scandinavian-influenced brand Hygge. “We are delighted that Timmy joins the Hygge family and we are very excited to work together to develop the Hygge watch brand in association with Timmy’s rallycross career. As with Hygge, Timmy is young, dynamic and has a very successful international future ahead of him,” said Yoshimasa Sato, president of Hygge.
British Junior rallycrosser Charlie Bean launches a bid to put together the backing to race a JRX car in Sweden in July. Invited to take part in the JRX series by Kenneth Hansen, Bean said “I’m completely over the moon that Kenneth Hansen called with the invite and I’m really hopeful that potential investors will come forward so that I can prove to them the value of sponsorship in European Rallycross.”
Mats Lysen leaves the Finnish event saying that he will drive his new five-cylinder Clio for the first time in the following weekend’s Norwegian event. Lysen’s new car has been delayed by problems surrounding its engine, but will be tested in the week before the event. The 2012-spec four-cylinder Clio he has raced so far will also be used in the Norwegian event where it will be driven by Tord Linnerud, a former rallycrosser who also counts rallies up to WRC and circuit racing including TouringCars on his CV.
Retirement from the semi-final in Finland proves to be the breaking point for Knut Ove Borseth and Hedtsroms Motorsport. In the days following the event, Borseth announces that he has left the Swedish squad and will drive his own Ford Focus Supercar with his Drive for Life team in the Norwegian event and for the rest of the year.
Having done a superb job of getting rallycross rookie Toni Lukander to 15th place in the Finnish RallycrossRX event, Eklund Motorsport is set to appear again as Henning Solberg enters his home event at Lanke. It will be the older Solberg’s second event of the year with Eklund with whom he placed 15th in the season opener at Lydden.
The PS Racing Center at Greinbach hosted an event that counted towards the Austrian, Hungarian, Czech and CEZ series. Home favourite Peter Ramler (Seat Leon) started as favourite but got a whipping from Hungarian Zoltan Harsanyi and his Mitsubishi, Tamas Karai making an Austrian sandwich of the red-white-red by placing third in his Skoda. The home fans had more to cheer in Super1600 where Christian Petrkovits (Polo) led home compatriot Werner Panhauser (Citroen C2). The Supernational category meanwhile was won by Gerald Woldrich’s wonderful Mercedes C class.
Ahead of the Swedish Rallycross Championship dovetailing with the STCC in 2014, OMSE and Kristoffersson Motorsport took part in a demo run at Solvalla, Johan Kristoffersson running his VW Scirocco and OMSE fielding Fiestas driven by Michael Thiman, Patrick Sandell and team boss Andreas Eriksson.
While RallycrossRX moves to Norway, Germany is preparing for a feast of national action at Buxtehude with the latest DRX event at the venue that will close the European season at the end of September.
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