Seven days, September 5

by Tim Whittington |

The world had its eye on Loheac last weekend, the race action is well documented in other stories on The French round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship attracted a crowd put at 65,000, making it the best attended rallycross event ever. Loheac has long been regarded as the biggest rallycross event in world, but has been absent from the European championship since 2001. This return was triumphant and, along with the star name drivers who took part, there were a surprising number of high profile guests and the biggest media turnout of the year.

The event had been built up as an RX versus WRC showdown, Sebastien Loeb and Kris Meeke joining the field in which former former World Rally champ Petter Solberg was batting for both sides, as it were. Rallycross won the day, Loeb and Meeke both fast but not dealing as well with the actual racing as those who are used to direct competition.

French drivers are always good on home ground, the combination of home knowledge and the fact that their national series is very competitive and has consistently developed fast racers, giving them a useful edge. Supercar had plenty of examples of those attributes, but with a huge entry in Super1600 the championship regulars really had their work cut out. Eventually four Frenchmen made it to the final. That strength in numbers clearly demonstrated their abilities, but also perhaps made Reinis Nitiss’ victory even more valuable and a clear indication of the level at which the Latvian is driving.

The only event taking place at the same time as France was at the eastern extreme of the known rallycross world where the Finnish championship had the last of its six events at Honkajoki. The series has been dominated by the outstanding achievements of Joni-Pekka Rajala who notched up a notable first early in the year when he took victory in both the Supercar and Supernational classes, a feat he then repeated several times on his way double championship success. Rajala performed his party piece once more in the final round where he used his Mitusbishi Lancer to lead home Ari Perkiomaki (Fiesta VI) and Atro Maatta (Focus) in Supercar. Driving his Supernational Escort VII, Rajala led home the similar car of Jukka-Pekka Peltokangas and Kimmo Sipola’s unusual Puma.





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