Procter, Coox & Kelly win championship openers while Eriksson claims RallyX on Ice
by Hal Ridge |
The opening round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship took place at Croft, where local driver Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta) won the final following a race-long battle with Supercar newcomer, Dan Rooke (Citroen DS3), driving for the LD Motorsports team for the first time. Former champion Ollie O’Donovan finished third, ahead of another full-time newcomer to the Supercar division, Dave Bellerby (Ford Fiesta). “Today’s gone really well, the car’s performed faultlessly even if the driver was a bit rusty. Young Dan went really well, we had a great race. The final was spot-on. This is a great start to my rallycross season,” said Procter at the finish. Steve Harris (Citroen DS3) finished fifth with former Super1600 champion Jack Thorne (Ford Fiesta) in sixth on his British Championship Supercar debut. Reigning champion Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta) spun off at the first corner of the final with brake problems, but recovered to finish seventh ahead of Simon Horton (Subaru Impreza).
Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige) won the Supernational final ahead of Gary Dixon (Vauxhall Astra) and Guy Corner (Peugeot 206), while Aidan Hills won the Swift Sport championship final. Local driver Tom Constantine won the Junior category final following a late overtake for the lead on Sam Jones. Chrissy Palmer won the RX150 final and Ray Morgan (Ford Escort) was victorious in the Retro Rallycross category. Kris Hudson claimed top points in the BMW Mini division, Robert Poryra (Citroen Saxo) won the Hot Hatch category and Craig Lomax (Citroen C2) claimed Super1600 honours.
Driving a recently acquired Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo, Jochen Coox won the first round of the Belgian Rallycross Championship at Maasmechelen, in a race where every driver made at least one mistake. Johnny Verkuringen (Subaru Impreza) had led early on but had to settle for second, while Jos Jansen (Ford Focus) finished third. Frenchman Guy Moreton (VW Scirocco) retired from the final on his maiden event with the car. Davy Van Den Branden won the Super1600 division in his Citroen DS3 ahead of Thija Heezen (Ford Fiesta), while Steven Stessens (Opel Corsa) won the Supernational -2000 final. Heavy rain marred the Supernational +2000 final, and it was Kristof Bex (Volvo S40) who won ahead of Steve Volders (Ford Escort), who had started on pole but jumped the start and had to take the Joker lap twice.
The final round of the RallyX on Ice winter series took place on a frozen lake at Are, Sweden, where the last corners of the final decided the championship. Alexander Westlund had led the series heading into the final round, but dropped to third overall following contact with Kevin Eriksson in the final. Eriksson finished second behind Thomas Bryntesson in the event to claim the title, while Bryntesson, who won his second event in a row, moved up to second in the final championship standings. STCC driver Richard Goransson finished third in Are, with Jonathan Walfridsson fourth. Westlund was classified fifth and Thomas Holmen sixth.
The first round of the Irish Rallycross Championship took place at Mondello Park, where European champion Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta) won the Supercar final, only to suffer problems at the start of the Superfinal. John Kelley (Mitsubishi Evo) won the event, ahead of Thomas O’Rafferty (Ford Fiesta), Noel Greene (Mitsubishi Evo) and Tohill. Reigning Irish Champion Willie Coyne (Vauxhall Corsa) finished fifth in the Superfinal having won the Modified class from Lloyd Spendlove (Lotus Exige) and Pearse Browne (BMW 325). Derek Lenehan (Peugeot 106) won the Stockhatch16v class while Dan Dowling (Peugeot 205) won the 8v division. Dan McDonnell was victorious in the single-make Ford Fiesta category while Morgan Quinn (Nissan Micra) won the Junior final.
Two significant television deals for the FIA World Rallycross Championship were announced this week. NRK, Norway’s biggest media organisation and public state broadcaster, will televise the 2016 championship live on free-to-air television stations NRK1 and/or NRK2. The agreement is part of a three-year deal. “We are very happy to have secured the rights to the FIA World Rallycross Championship, which will help give the sport the exposure it deserves,” said Runar Ostmo, Head of Sports Rights for NRK. “Petter Solberg is a household name in Norway and the fact that he is a two-time World RX Champion has certainly helped to heighten interest in rallycross across the country.” Latvian TV broadcaster Lattelecom will televise World RX live on Best4Sport TV and will make coverage available for fans on their TVs, computers or mobile devices.
Andros Trophy champion and European Rallycross Championship regular Jean-Baptiste Dubourg will race a brand new Citroen DS3 in Euro RX this season, built by the DA Racing team. Dubourg raced his ex-Davy Jeanney Citroen C4 in European and selected World Championship events last season and scored a best finish of third at his home round of World RX at Loheac. He will contest a full Euro RX season with the new car this year, along with additional appearances in World RX. “I learnt a lot in 2015, both in knowledge of the European circuits and with the tuning of the car. Over the winter we worked towards creating a car that could reach first place. For sure, with last years experience and the good results at the end of the season, I want to fight for the title in the European Rallycross Championship,” said the Frenchman.
Albatec Racing will run a Peugeot 208 in the French Rallycross Championship this season for former Super1600 racer Philippe Maloigne. The first round of the championship takes place on the opening weekend of May, which will be a busy period for the Scottish squad, who will also be at the third and fourth rounds of the MSA British Rallycross Championship at Pembrey, South Wales, that weekend. “I’m very proud and at the same time excited to be joining Albatec this year. When considering my options for 2016 my main priority was to join a team that had performance capabilities and a good development programme, and naturally having a French team manager helped,” said Maloigne.
European Championship TouringCar racer Magda Andersson will compete in the full rear-wheel drive championship this season in her Ford Fiesta. Andersson made her debut in the category last year, and twice finished on the podium. The 17-year old is targeting the title this season.“Last year my goal was to qualify for the semi-final in one race. I ended up with a fourth place in the championship and two podiums, so I was extremely happy and surprised. This year I am ready to give it all, I want to win the championship,” she said.
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