It’s great up north

by Tim Whittington |

Adding a new first corner to the Kinnekulle Ring must have seemed like a good idea. It may have been a good idea; a fast left under the bridge, into a heavy braking zone, surface change, two corners and an incline before charging back into the bowl-like amphitheatre in which the rest of the track is situated. When the new section of loose cut up rough, very rough, the wisdom of adding to what is a fine rallycross track appeared questionable, and was questioned – not least by the many who suffered punctures and suspension damage. The pile of broken composite panels at the marshal post under the bridge told its own tale of the contact level in the fast left flick that became the first turn.

No matter, the large number of punctures played a role in the outcome of some races during the day, but the annual bun fight that is the final round of the Swedish championship lived up to expectations. A dull, damp day at the undulating track on the shore of Vanern was brim full of the kind of stuff that makes Nordic rallycross utterly irresistible; from Junior, through 2400 to the big-boys’ big toys at the top of Supernational, rear-wheel drive is the way to go. At the top of the tree there is all kinds of weirdness; where else on the planet can you watch a Volvo estate take it to a Porsche 996 and what looks like a gathering of the Swedish chapter of the BMW club?

All year the Supernational heroes have been the real stars of Swedish rallycross. The national championship, for reasons too complex (and too dull) to go into here, has not been able to sustain a Supercar class, so Johan Kristoffersson and one or two others have run in a ‘demonstration’ class. At Kinnekulle, there was a ten-car Supercar field, as good as you will find in any national championship and, as has been the case for the last few years, the national title was on the line in a one-day, winner-take-all, face-off.

Peter Hedstrom won, retaining his 2012 title and bagging a vital end-of-year victory. “I needed that,” said Hedstrom, “It’s been a difficult year so a big win at the end is really important for me and my plans for next year. I really needed this win and it was my race today.” Second to Kristoffersson’s VW Dealer Team Swedden Scirocco in the heats, Hedstrom was faster out of the grid, stood his ground in the first corner bundle in which Robin Larsson crashed out in the second Scirocco, and Andreas Eriksson’s Fiesta suffered a race-ending puncture. Hedstrom had the race pretty well won when Kristoffersson’s car also picked up a puncture, his misery compounded when the other left side tyre also went flat. Mats Ohman won the B final and then, despite a puncture landed a magnificent second place with Anton Marklund third in his Polo which had converted itself to two-wheel drive early in the arduous five-lap final.

At the end of the day the massed ranks of Swedish rallycross left, dirty, bruised but largely happy. Several hours later, as the prize-giving staggered into Sunday morning, even those who had not been successful at the track were happy.

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