For those with time on their hands, the question is; What to do with the summer break?
Some just can’t stay away from racing, which is why we find World RX stars Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss racing Ladas in Latvia. Held in Jekabpils, the event was the seventh round of the VAZ Tuss and attracted 42 drivers. Nitiss qualified second and Bakkerud fourth after suffering gearbox problems in the heats. That left the pair in the second semi-final which Nitiss led with Bakkerud in third. As the race progressed, Bakkerud was able to climb to second and enjoy a close battle with Nitiss, the Latvian remaining calm and securing the race win. The final started well for the Olsbergs MSE duo who ran second and third, bumper-to-bumper with Estonian Tammemagi who led. Bakkerud took the joker first and was chasing the leading duo. Nitiss was forced out when his gearbox failed mid-race. After Tammemagi took the joker, Bakkerud soon caught him had a close battle over the remaining laps, but could not pass and finished second, 0.439sec behind the winner.
The penultimate round of the Rallycross Challenge Europe was run at Valkenswaard in Holland with eight Supercar entries battling for honours at the Eurocircuit. Dutch driver Will Teurlings had to abandon before the final in which Roman Stepanenko (Citroen C4) started from pole after being fastest in two heats. Koen Pauwels (in the ex-Van Mechelen Fiesta) was quickest in the first heat and beat his Russian opponent off the grid in the final. After Stepanenko then lost ground challenging on the outside of the first corner, Pauwels was able to control the race and pull away for to take a clear win. Alois Holler (Focus) completed the top three with Bernd Schomaker (Skoda) fourth and now in the series lead. Belgian Supernational star Steve Volders used his ex-Kuypers Focus III in the event and placed seventh. The most interesting races were in Super1600, but with 11 cars classified after three heats there were no semi-finals, and the final then lost almost half of the pack after a first corner incident that put Josef Susta, Vaclav Veverka Jr and Gergely Marton out. Stanislav Susta, also quickest in all heats, took the lead in the final and won ahead of Sven Seeliger and Marcel Snoeiijers. Jos Sterkens and Roman Castoral battled in TouringCar all day, Castoral winning three heats. In the final it was Sterkens who had the best start but after both had taken the joker it was Castoral who took the win and put himself ahead in the title race. In the supporting Supernational races, Peter van de Wege won the up to two-litre class and Kristof Bex took the large capacity final.
Ford Focus driver Andy Grant claimed victory at the fourth round of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship at Pembrey, beating fellow Supercar driver Simon Horton in the final and superfinal. Irishman Tommy Graham completed the superfinal podium having started on the second row of the grid. SuperModified winner Allan Tapscott beat Graham and Guy Corner in the category and finished fourth in the superfinal. Rally man Larry Carter won all four of his heat races and led the B final until engine failure halted his challenge. Welshman Jeff Hope-Davies scored his maiden rallycross win in the Production category in his debut season. Paul Davis finished second while top qualifier John Lyne spun at the first corner. An incredible recovery drive followed to earn him the last spot on the podium in the last inches of the race, beating Chris Harper by four hundredths of a second.
Back to filling the summer gap, EKS RX driver Pontus Tidemand and his team manager in Mattias Ekstrom’s new Audi squad, Emil Axelsson are set to renew their partnership as they tackle in Rallye Deutschland in an R5 Fiesta. Clearly they think a good warm-up for the forthcoming World RX of France at Loheac.
National championshop racing continues this weekend, meanwhile. The Finnish championship going to Oulu for the fourth of its five events and the Swedish championship rejoining the STCC package for the second visit of the year to Ring Knutstorp and GRC moves to Daytona.
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