Part of the charm of the Holjes rallycross circuit, home to the Swedish round of the World Rallycross Championship, is it’s remote location. The ‘Magic Weekend’ is held in the peak of summer, on the first weekend in July. On Saturday, in early February, that remote venue had a significantly different look to it as hardy spectators, many of who had arrived on snow-mobiles, braved the conditions to watch the first round of the RallyX on Ice winter series, based on the single-make Supercar Lites category.
Reigning Swedish Rallycross champion Sebastien Eriksson made the best start in the final, avoiding contact behind and led from start to finish, consistently increasing his lead throughout the race and performing an immaculate set of donuts between in the snow banks in celebration afterwards. “It was pretty comfortable in the end. I had a really good start and I didn’t get hit by anybody in the first corner, so I could keep the speed up and just do my own race,” said Eriksson.
Swedish Touring Car star turned rallycross driver Richard Goransson was the only driver to win all of his three heats, which were based on position rather than time, and topped the order at the Intermediate stage. A poor start in his semi-final left him second to Eriksson, and with no way through was on row two for the final. He came out best of the turn one contact in the final and ran second, dropping time to Eriksson throughout the race, in part due to having to fend off the attentions of Finn Joni Wiman, who finished third.
Folkrace driver Tobias Svard was one of the stars of the day on his Lites debut. He made up for spinning in an early practice session to win his semi-final and finish fourth in the final. Super1600 event winner Janis Baumanis made it to the final by had contact with former rallycross and World Rally star Thomas Radstrom, which culminated in his event ending in a snow bank. Radstrom finished fifth. World Rallycross star Andreas Bakkerud made a poor start in his semi-final and didn’t make it to the final. “I don’t have the experience on ice really so wasn’t as quick as some of the others. I had a lot of fun though, and if doing these events makes me one percent closer to Petter Solberg for next season [in World RX], then that’s good,” said the Norwegian.
Reigning RX Lites champion Kevin Eriksson spent his heat races stuck in traffic on the jokerless circuit that was difficult to pass on. He made a poor start in his semi-final and later admitted to pushing too hard in an attempt to better his fifth position, spinning after dropping a rear wheel into a snow bank. Tomas Holmen made his Lites debut in the event and finished fifth in his semi-final, while another Swede also made his first Lites start. Per Eklund won the first winter race at Holjes in 1976, and was invited back as part of the fortieth anniversary celebrations of Finnskoga MK, the organising club at Holjes. Learning the car in the heats, Eklund made it into the second semi-final and ran second for the first two laps, before his race ended prematurely in a snow bank on the outside of turn two, assisted by Wiman.
The event also ran a ‘Historic’ category. Based on times in the heats, the cars lined up in grid formation for the final, but nothing was a match for Stian Hafsengen in the iconic ‘Glomma Papp’ Ford RS200. Olle Arnesson ran second in his Audi rally car, pushed though out the race by current World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg in the historic spec Escort MkII that he will use next weekend in the Historic category on rally Sweden. “I was much faster than him, but it would have been a crash if I had tried to pass and that would have been no good,” said Solberg. Stig Blomqvist finished fourth in a thundering V8 Ford Falcon, with Stig-Olov Walfridson rounding out the order in a Volvo 240.
A full gallery of photographs to follow.
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