Seven days, July 25

by Tim Whittington |

In a busy weekend across Europe national and ‘zone’ championships were in action, the FIA NEZ producing the first champion of the year as it concluded its short season with a trip to Lithuania  for the fourth and final round. Algimantas Glikas (Mitsubishi Lancer) won the event but a few points from last place in the final was enough for Kazimieras Gudziunas to take the title with his Ford Puma Supercar.

The Super1600 category was won by Kasparas Navickas (Fabia II) ahead of Janno Ligur’s similar car and Russian Roman Stepanenko’s Lada. Ernestas Staponkus made it into the final with his VW Polo and added sufficient points to secure the class championship. Norwegian visitors had a good event, Ola Froshaug taking his second win of the Baltic trip in the ‘Open’ category with his Volvo s40 while Christian Sandmo (Opel Kadett E) won the ‘2000’ section, each also securing the championship title in their class.

Sedlcany in the Czech Republic was the scene for the fourth round of the Central European Zone series, the event also counting towards the Austrian national championship. Austrian drivers starred, Alois Holler (Focus) winning the event ahead of compatriot Tristan Ekker (VW Polo) while Klaus Freudenthaler (Fabia) claimed the Super1600 honours by beating Michaela Kalna who had a rare outing in her father’s Peugeot 206. The Supernational victory was taken by Roman Castoral (Opel Astra) who beat Gerald Woldrich’s Mercedes C class.

The Belgian and British championships shared an event at Maasmechelen in Belgium, Jos Kuypers halting Patrick Van Mechelen’s run of Belgian championship victories by claiming the event win with his new Focus. British series points leader Julian Godfrey (Fiesta VI) placed second, effectively winning the British championship event while Van Mechelen (Fiesta VII) made it onto the podium in third place. Koen Pauwels (Focus II) and Pat Doran (Citroen DS3) were next up in a competitive event in which Jos Jansen earned a creditworthy sixth place. The Belgian championship classes were won by Dennis Remans (Super1600 Fiesta VI) and Jos Sterkens (TouringCar Volvo C30) while Kristof Bex (Volvo S40) and Pedro Cokelaere (Honda Civic) won the over two-litre and up to two-litre Supernational classes repsectively. David Bell won the British championship’s BMW Mini class while Graham Rodemark and Ollie O’Donovan were winners in the Swift Sport and RX150 series.

Global Rallycross moved on to Bristol where it completed a Saturday event in the NASCAR track. Ken Block and Patrik Sandell were joint top qualifiers but were undone at the start of the final by Toomas Heikkinen who moved through from the second row of the grid to take the lead. Once ahead, there was no stopping Heikkinen as he progressed for to take his third consecutive victory of the year and move further ahead of the pack in the series. Heikkinen’s cause was helped by first lap pushing and shoving that put several drivers, including champion Tanner Foust, event winner Liam Doran and European champion Timur Timerzyanov – again driving for Travis Pastrana’s Dodge squad – out of the running in the final. Brian Deegan’s Fiesta had been damaged in the heats, but progressed from the Last Chance Qualifier and then avoided trouble in the final to nurse his car home in third place. Sverre Isachsen gave Subaru its best run to date, but was slowed in the final by a damaged exhaust caused by the first lap contact.

The new GRC Lites category was also on the Bristol bill where Joni Wiman was again victorious. The final was halted after Kevin Eriksson rolled. Sebastien Eriksson also missed the restart, leaving Wiman alone on the front row of the grid from where he took a clear win ahead of Austin Dyne and Alexander Westlund.

Albatec Racing had a mixed couple of days at Loheac last week, giving new recruit Kris Meeke and successful test ahead of his appearance with the team in the French round of the European Championship at the venue. Things took a turn for the worse when lead driver Andy Scott crashed later in the test, suffering a fractured collar bone that ruled him out of the team’s planned participation in the weekend’s British/Belgian championship event at Maasmechelen.

On the eve of continuing his French championship campaign at Kerlabo, Jerome Grosset-Janin confirms his entry for the French round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Loheac. The French championship leader has been unbeaten in the first four rounds of the national series.





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