The full spectrum this week. Right at the top of rallycross, World champion Petter Solberg celebrated his 40th birthday with a party at home in Torsby last weekend, and the Norwegian ASN took the opportunity to present the birthday by with his its highest award; the gold Medal of Merit. “It’s incredible the results Petter Solberg has achieved. He is arguably the all-time Norwegian motorsport contestant and we are deservedly proud of Petter. He has no doubt deserved ASN’s highest award, the Gold Medal of Merit,” said Secretary General Hallgeir Raknerud when he presented the medal to Solberg. “I am incredibly grateful and proud to receive such a distinction. I have a big heart and passion for the sport and it’s always nice to be appreciated,” said Solberg who this year became the first driver ever to win World championships in different disciplines.
At the other end of the scale, where racing is often for nothing more than pure joy of it, the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship held its penultimate round at Croft last weekend. Supercars were admitted to the event and, using the day at his local track as a test, Kevin Procter was the clear winner. Simon Horton was rewarded for a consistent year, and a sterling effort with his self-developed Subaru, with the title in the Supercar class. Teenager Jack Thorne again shone in his Citroen C2 Super1600 car, winning the SuperModified section of the event where he led home Kieran Curran (Opel Corsa) and Dan Rooke who impressed in his first rallycross event at the wheel of autocross Citroen AX. The Production class win was taken by local racer Martin Peters who led home the similar Citroen Saxos of Jeff Hope-Davies and John Gaskin. Kris Hudson won the Mini class and Ben Davidson (Opel Corsa) was best in the autocross class.
Disappointed to have his run in the event at Croft cut short by a ball joint failure, “Mad Mark” was happy with the pace of his rebuilt Citroen Xsara and is planning a full season of British Champion, Rallycross Challenge and World Championship events in 2015 . “Off the start line it was like a bullett. I thought I was going to need new pants, I don’t remember it being that fast! I need to get the suspension set up better, but it was a useful shakedown,” he said.
Former WRC driver Manfred Stohl is set to make his rallycross debut in Argentina next weekend when he becomes the fourth driver to partner Petter Solberg at PSRX in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The Austrian had his first taste of a rallycross car in last weekend Race of Austrian Champions at Greinbach where he raced Max Pucher’s ex-OMSE Fiesta.
Albatec Racing also has a change to its lineup in World RX Argentina where Ollie O’Donovan (team boss Andy Scott’s sixth team mate of the year) will take over the car vacated by Jacques Villeneuve who has now split from the Scottish team.
The closing event of the year at Greinbach, the Race of Austrian Champions was won by Manfred Stohl who shared Max Pucher’s Supercar Fiesta in the ‘rallysprint’ event. Stohl beat rallycross stalwart Alois Holler (Focus) and Jabko Wieszt (Seat Leon). Christian Petrakovits continued his absolute domination of the event by winning the two-wheel drive section with his Super1600 VW Polo. As usual, the event mixed rallycross with rally and autocross cars and was run in very slippery conditions, see video below.
Former rallycross driver Ron Hudson (75) died last week after a long illness. A successful publisher, Hudson indulged his passion for motor sport and used ex-works Escorts prior to racing a Sierra Cosworth in the European Rallycross Championship. He was also generous with his time and knowledge behind the scenes. A flamboyant character with a huge passion for life, Hudson is widely remembered for towing his ex-works Escort behind a Rolls Royce to take part in autocross events.
The film ‘Wildcards’ shot by videographer Josh Allen at the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship has been nominated for an award in the London Motor Film Festival
The Irish Rallycross Championship concludes this weekend at Mondello Park with Declan Kelly and Thomas O’Rafferty battling for the title while the World RX field prepares to regroup in Argentina where the Autodromo Rosendo Hernandez at San Luis will host the final round of the first ever FIA World Rallycross Championship on November 28-29.
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