The FIA World Rallycross Championship again held the headlines, the sixth event of the year turning up the sixth different winner at Toomas Heikkinen gained his first World event win and, in the process, gave Marklund Motorsport its first international Supercar victory. Run on a newly built rallycross track at the Circuit Jules Tacheny in Mettet, the event marked the half way point in the 12-round World championship and of a busy period in which teams had contested four events in 30 days. An estimated 25,000 visited Mettet over the weekend, Sunday’s large crowd treated to some fine action on the undulating track. Suspension problems denied Petter Solberg his second event win of the year, but the Norwegian left Belgium with the lead of the championship. The event was also a great one for VW Marklund Motorsport which topped the team order for the first time as Ford OMSE had its poorest event of the year with Andreas Bakkerud and erstwhile points leader Reinis Nitiss both encountering problems. Janis Baumanis continued his impressive debut season with his second event win while TouringCar provided a fairy-tale run for Filip Baelus who won in his first FIA event.
The French championship also reached its sixth event at Pont de Ruan where there was mixed weather and big shake up in the results as Supercar debutant Julien Febreau broke the dominance of JB Dubourg and Fabien Pailler. With Dubourg failing to make it past the semi-final stage, Pailler’s second place was enough to push him into the points lead of the championship. Fabien Grosset-Janin gained his first Super1600 victory while Christophe Saunois, Emanuel Anne and Firmin Caddedu were the respective winners in Divisions Three, Four and the Twingo Cup.
World Rally Championship star Thiery Neuville visited the WorldRX event at Mettet in Belgium and spoke positively about trying his hand at the discipline. Neuville also revealed that he had come close to driving in his home event this year. “There was a plan for me to race Frode Holte’s Hyundai i20. I was to test the car at Mettet before the media day but when the team had engine problems in the British event that wasn’t possible and we had to cancel the plan. I’m watching out for other opportunities this year and definitely for this race next year,” he said.
The two-wheel drive classes in the Swedish Rallycross Championship broke away from the four-wheel drive classes and headed north for the Norrlandsveckan tour. At Alvsbyn on July 12 Mikael Eriksson took the event win in his Porsche 996, leading home Ulf Eriksson (BMW E30) and Daniel Wall’s Volvo V40. Per Berglund (S40) won the 2400cc class and the Junior win was collected by Andreas Persson (BMW E36). Racers moved on to RallycrossWorld.comu on Juy 14 where Eriksson was the winner in the large capacity Supernational section, Mikael Sandberg (Fiesta ST) and Dennis Bergstrom (Lexus) sharing the podium. Stefan Aeng (E36) won the 2400cc section and Per Jonsson (opel Ascona) the 31-car 2150cc category. The northern events continue tonight at Kalix, if you are fast you’ll just catch the finals here.
Following on the from the Swedish WorldRX event in which there were eight female competitors, the FIA’s Women in Motorsport campaign has published a video highlighting the group of drivers as well as the female engineers and team principles working in the championship.
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