Heathcote & Linnemann win, Solberg & Ekstrom launch 2017 liveries

Seven days in rallycross, March 25

by Hal Ridge |

Nathan Heathcote (Citroen C4) won the first round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship at Croft, on his maiden appearance in the Supercar category. The reigning Swift Sport Rallycross Champion qualified on the outside of the front row for the final, and as Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta) made a slow start, Heathcote passed pole sitter Warren Scott (Citroen DS3) – also on his Supercar debut – for the lead around the outside at turn one to lead until the finish. Procter finished second with Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Focus) third. Oliver Bennett (Ford Fiesta) was fourth on his rallycross debut, while Julian Godfrey (Ford Fiesta) was fifth and Jake Harris (Citroen DS3) was sixth. Neither Mad Mark (Citroen Xsara) or Scott finished the final.

In the MSA Supernational Championship, Paige Bellerby (Lotus Exige) won the opening round of the year ahead of the returning Ash Simpson (Lotus Exige) and Allan Tapscott (Vauxhall Corsa), while Tom Llewellin (Suzuki Swift) won the MSA Junior final from Tom Constantine (Suzuki Swift) and Norwegian racer Ole Henry Steinsholt (Suzuki Swift). A Norwegian also finished on the podium in the Swift Sport category, as Christoffer Lia finished third in a Peter Gwynne Motorsport run car behind winner Chris Woollett and Rob Shield. Chrissy Palmer won the RX150 final from John Ward and Kirk Langley, while Paul Coney (Vauxhall Corsa) led home Craig Lomax (Citroen C2) in the joint Super1600 / BMW Mini / Hot Hatch category. Martin Hawkes was top BMW Mini finisher. Ray Morgan won the Retro Rallycross Championship final.

The second round of the Belgian Rallycross Championship was held at Mettet, but ran without any Supercars. Jos Jansen (Ford Focus) and Jochen Coox (Volkswagen Polo) had entered, but withdrew before the start. Coox didn’t compete, while Jansen raced in the Supernational +2000 class in a borrowed Volvo 242. Five European Championship regulars competed in the Super1600 category, which was won by Dane Ulrik Linnemann (Peugeot 208), ahead of reigning Euro RX Super1600 champion Krisztian Szabo (Skoda Fabia) and his new team mate Artis Baumanis (Skoda Fabia). Czech driver Josef Susta (Skoda Fabia) was fourth, with Belgian Steve Otzer (Citroen Saxo) upholding home honour in fifth. Pavel Vimmer (Skoda Fabia) was sixth. Kristof Bex (Volvo S40) won the Supernational +2000 final ahead of Bert Bosmans (Volvo S40) and Luc Maris (Volvo S40). In the Supernational -2000 final Euro RX TouringCar driver Steve Volders (Ford Fiesta) won, with of Kurt Lambers (BMW E30) second and former European Champion Ron Snoeck (Volvo C30) third. The SMS team won the second ever final in the SsangYong RX Cup.

Double FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg and new team mate Johan Kristoffersson launched the Volkswagen Motorsport-built Polo that they will race in the FIA World Rallycross Championship this season on Monday, in Stockholm. The squad is now called PSRX Volkswagen World RX Sweden, and the car is based on a 2014 Polo WRC chassis (pre-paddle shift transmission) with revisions to the cooling package and transmission. The car features a 2.0-litre engine from VW’s GRC Beetle. “We are really pumped up to do this, it’s very exciting. It’s been a lot of work. It looks nice here now and everything, but all of the team are flat out back in Hannover working on the car and it’s nice to see that really big passion,” said Solberg.

Mattias Ekstrom’s EKS team has also revealed its 2017 livery, for Ekstrom and team mate Toomas Heikkinen, and individual entrant Reinis Nitiss, all in Audi S1 Supercars.

The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in the city of Ottawa will host the Global Rallycross Championship’s first visit to Canada on June 17 – 18, for a double-header event. “We’ve been fortunate to see many Canadian fans at our events in the United States over the years, and we’re looking forward to bringing our racing formula north for the very first time, and to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum,” said GRC CEO Colin Dyne.

Reigning RX2 champion Cyril Raymond will defend his title this season, driving for the OlsbergsMSE team. The series previously known as the RX Lites Cup will run over seven events in 2017, including the two ‘flyaway’ rounds in Canada and South Africa. “I’m hugely excited to be racing in RX2 at such an exciting time for the series,” said the Frenchman. “Winning the title last year was the greatest achievement of my career so far, and my number one goal for 2017 is to retain it. With a big entry and the expectation of some very quick drivers in the field, it’s shaping up to be an incredibly competitive season.”

Belgian kart racer and rally driver Guillaume De Ridder will race in the five European-based rounds of the RX2 FIA World Rallycross Championship support-category this season, driving for the JC Raceteknik team, while the Swedish squad has also signed Henrik M. Krogstad to race in the Supercar Lites division of RallyX Nordic this season. “This feels great. Rallycross is completely new to me so I cannot wait to get in the car at the first race and just drive. In rallying, I missed the adrenaline you get from other drivers on the track, so Supercar Lites is the best of both worlds with a rally-driving style and karting strategy,” said De Ridder, who will make his debut at Mettet in Belgium, in May.

The new E/RACING series launched by Speedlaegue in America, which is set to become the first all-electric rallycross championship when it gets underway later this year, has announced that motorsport veterans Tony Cotman and Scot Elkins will be part of its competition staff and will form a technical working group and begin the process of drafting regulations for the new series, which will use four-wheel drive rallycross cars built by STARD in Austria.

« »