World RX stars starred in Rally Sweden; Reinis Nitiss joined the Rally X on Ice field and won in his first start in snow while Petter and Pernilla Solberg completed a hat trick of victories in the historic event that accompanies Rally Sweden. In the rally itself, Ole Christian Veiby won WRC3 in his Citroen DS3 and Pontus Tidemand (accompanied by EKS RX Team Manager Emil Axelsson) led the rally at one stage before going in his WRC2 Fiesta.
In the Rally X on Ice event, round one winner Sebastian Eriksson rolled out in his semi-final against Nitiss (the event was run on a rally-sprint basis) while Kevin Eriksson pipped Marcus Gronholm by 0.07s to win his semi and take on Nitiss in the final. “I made a few mistakes in the final, but when I noticed that Kevin had also made some errors, I knew I would win,” said Nitiss.
The Solbergs won the historic event easily, finishing more than three-minutes ahead of their closest rival a regularly setting times that eclipsed most of the R5 cars. “Driving at home in Norway, in front of the big crowds was unbelievable for me yesterday and then it was the same for Pernilla when we were competing here in Sweden today,” said Petter Solberg.
Albatec Racing has announced that it will run two cars in the MSA British Rallycross Championship with returnee Mark Flaherty pairing up with team boss Andy Scott for the eight-event series. “Andy and I have a lot in common, and our programmes for 2015 seem to suit well, so I’m looking forward to a successful season with them, and whilst acknowledging that I’ll miss the opening round, I’ll be going all out to win that title,” said Flaherty who broke a 20-year absence from rallycross when he stated in a couple of British events with Liam Doran Motorsport last year.
Also in Britain, the one-make RX150 series is getting a facelift for the 2015 series with the buggies upgraded to use a new engine and revised bodywork. The 1000cc 150bhp Honda Fireblade engine used is being replaced by a newer but similarly rated RR motor while the new bodywork incorporates increased cooling ducts to combat a hot-start problem. “We’ve always had problems with hot-starts on the buggies, so the new bodywork design will help with engine cooling, and it has a larger surface area too, so it will give people more room on the vehicles for their sponsors. The chassis is staying the same,” said RX150 promoter Ollie O’Donovan. Insurance company Jelf will back a buggy in the 2015 championship for celebrity drivers. “We’ve got good interest from new drivers for this year, so it should be good,” said O’Donovan. Marc Scott has claimed the category title in each of the last two years, but the Dumfries driver is yet to announce his plans for 2015.
The Clubmans Championship in Britain has cancelled the test day it had planned for February 22 and is urging drivers to get entries in for the March 8 season opener at Blyton Park. 2014 Champion Kieran Curran has confirmed that he will defend the title this year.
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