At Rally France VW Motorsport boss Jost Capito tells German magazine Rallye that the World Rallycross Championship offers manufacturers a good alternative in the event that the World Rally promoter fails to offer value for money. Capito said the manufacturers will go where they can get good value, and that the World Rallycross Championship was a clever idea that could fulfil that.
ESPN announced last week that it will not continue with events outside America in 2014. The X Games events run in France, Spain, Brazil and Germany this year will not be repeated. “We are proud to have run world-class competitions for both the athletes and spectators; however the overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path,” ESPN said in a statement, adding that “Domestic X Games events in Aspen, Colorado, and Austin, Texas, will be held in 2014, as scheduled.” The move will affect GRC which used the X Games events to provide qualifying rounds outside America.
The Swedish championship reached its conclusion at the Kinnekulle Ring where there was the usual competitive battle in an event that was enhanced by the presence of separate additional classes for Supercar, TouringCar and JRX. Supernational is the mainstay of the Swedish series and both class one and class two (2400cc) titles went to the wire, Daniel Wall taking the big capacity class title after a tough afternoon and third place in the final with his Volvo V40. Linus Westman (BMW E30) and Ulf Eriksson (E36) finished ahead of wall in the final. Erik Wigren (Volvo S40) won the 2400 class, leading homeMattias Ohlsson (E30) who became the champion. It was a similar story in the Junior class, Tommy Johansson (E26) the champion despite ceding victory on the day to the similar car of Andreas Persson. Lars Rosendahl (Fiesta) took a clear TouringCar victory after Daniel Lundh broke the steering on his Volvo C390 and had to retire. Kevin Hansen lifted his third title in 14 days, adding the Swedish JRX crown to the European JRX Series and British Junior crowns. The Supercar final lost Robin Larsson (VW Scirocco) in turn one, Andreas Eriksson (Fiesta) at the end of the opening lap with a puncture and was eventually won by Peter Hedstrom who survived a late driveshaft failure and a fire to complete the defence of his title. Mats Ohman (Volvo S40) worked through from the B final to a brilliant second place ahead of Anton Marklund who lost front drive in his Polo early in the race and nursed the car home for third.
The final round of the CEZ series took place at Nyirad in Hungary where Tamas Karai took the Supercar win in a Skoda Fabia. The Local hero led home Austrian Peter Ramler (Seat Leon) and Zoltan Harsanyi’s Mitsubishi Lancer. Alois Holler (Focus) could not do better than fourth place, but that was enough for him to collect the CEZ title ahead of Ramler. Klaus Freudenthaler (Fabia) made his trip from Austria worthwhile by bagging the Super1600 win ahead of compatriot Werner Panhauser (Citroen C2) and Szalbocs Vegh (Saxo). Freudenthaler also became champion in Super1600, while sixth place in the Supernational section was enough for Czech driver Jakub Bittman (Peugeot 206) to claim the championship crown there.
The Belgian championship had a dramatic last round. Koen Pauwels was in good form all day in his Focus and steered clear of trouble to take his first win of the year. the championship battle raged behind him, Patrick Van Mechelen starting with a five point advantage over Jos Kuypers and surviving a third heat incident in which he rolled his Fiesta to come back and fight to the end on the final. Van Mechelen shadowed Kuypers’ Focus III in the final, third place enough to give him the crown. “I rolled in third heat but the team did a great job and repaired the Fiesta in time and I could finish the job bringing home the Belgian and Dutch crowns,” said Van Mechelen. Supernational title combatants Steven Maris and Kristof Bex both dropped out of the final, clearing the way for Steve Volders to take the victory with his extraordinary Escort Mk1. When the maths were done, Bex claimed the title. The up to two-litre Supernational section was won on the day and the end of the year by Pedro Cokelaere who guided his Honda Civic to glory in the increasingly competitive class. Champion-elect Jos Sterkens dropped out of the TouringCar battle which was won by another Volvo C30, Ivo Van Den Brandt driving a car rented from Filip Baelus. Thys Heezen won in Super1600 with his unusual Fiesta VII, champion elect Dennis Remans placing sixth in his older Fiesta VI.
The German championship ended at the Ewald-Pauli-Ring in Schlüchtern where Andreas Schrader emerged as the winner of the international title after a splendid year in his Super1600 VW Polo. The national German title was also settled in the final round, Silva Winterhoff taking the crown in her Volvo PV. Each of the pair placed second in the final event of the year, Alexander Hiss (Peugeot 205) winning the combined Super1600/Supercar section while Swede Ulf Arwidsson (Volvo PV) took the Supernational category and Jannik Reise topped the ‘Cup’ order in his Polo.
Kinnekulle was also busy on Sunday. FIA champions Reinis Nitiss and Derek Tohill received their Supercar test drives with Marklund Motorsport at the track which was also used by OMSE which had two Supercar Lites on hand for drivers interested in taking part in the revised Swedish championship in 2014. A wide variety of drivers got the chance to drive a Lites car, including Super1600 pilot Eric Faren and Norwegian TouringCar racer Asmund Holten. Among a number of race and rally drivers who took part in the test was GP3 racer Jimmy Eriksson who said, “It is a lot of fun, I have never driven on gravel before, not deliberately anyway, and it is very interesting to see how much grip there is. The cars are a lot of fun to drive.” A couple of drivers were given the chance to drive a Supercar, Norwegian TouringCar/Super1600/Supercar hotshoe Daniel Holten was one of them, Swedish rally star and aspiring rallycross racer Ramona Karlsson another. “The power of the car is incredible, much more than the WRC car I usually drive. I don’t know what I am doing next year, we are investigating both rallying and rallycross but I think the prospect of rallycross is exciting.” said Karlsson.
End of season testing continued in Sweden on Monday when Strangnas was busy. Among those to drive cars for Set Promotion were JRX front runner Magda Andersson who drove a Super1600 Renault Clio. European champion Reinis Nitiss drove a Twingo for the Finnish team which also provdied a Twingo for Oliver Solberg, 12-year-old son of Petter, to have his first run in a rallycross car at the end of a successful Crosskart season.
Having watched his VW Scirocco being raced by Robin Larsson in Sweden on Saturday, Jochen Coox dashed back to Belgium in order to race the car himself in the final round of the Belgian championship at Maasmechelen, his efforts were rewarded with fourth place.
Davy Jeanney has entered his Citroen C4 Supercar for this weekend’s final round of the French championship at Dreux. The car will be driven by Julien Debin who previously raced with the JSA team in 2011 when he tackled the Polish round of the European championship in Super1600, working a Peugeot 206 into the A final in an impressive performance.
Another driver to get his Supercar break at the end of the season is Marc Scott who has earned the chance to race a Supercar in the British Grand Prix event at Croft later this month. Scott, son of European championship star Andy, has won the RX150 series in this year’s British Rallycross Championship and will race his father’s Peugeot 306 Supercar at Croft. Scott Snr. is also slated to appear in the event where he will race one of the Albatec Racing Peugeot 208s.
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