The saying goes that a driver is only as good as their last result, but that isn’t strictly true. Swede Peter Hedstrom is a solid example.
Hedstrom’s outing in his own team’s OlsbergsMSE-built Ford Fiesta [Chassis 007] in the RallyX Nordic double-header at Holjes earlier this year wasn’t the 37-year-old’s greatest hour. He returns to the Nordic series this weekend for the season finale at Arvika as one of five cars run by his squad, but this time he is armed with a Gronholm RX-developed Hyundai i20, the same car he will race next weekend in his home round of the World Championship.
A race win and fifth overall in Q1 on Friday afternoon at Westom in Arvika was a reasonable start in his first race with the car, but on a drying track, and running in the first Supercar race, Hedstrom had the worst of the track conditions.
Ironically though, should it rain for the Torsby-based driver’s home World RX round next week and if the conditions are equal across each session, he could spring one of the biggest surprises in World RX history.
But, would it be as much of a surprise as it appears on face value? On his day, especially when conditions have been at their worst, Hedstrom has proven himself as having the raw talent to achieve top results, not least as a multiple Swedish Champion, more often than not winning those titles in single-round, winner-takes-all affairs held at the end of the year, with Scandinavian weather usually not at its finest.
Spending a large part of every winter working on father Anders’ ice driving schools in Sweden, Hedstrom’s ability and car-control in rallycross is in part at least thanks to his many, many hours driving in low mu (grip) conditions on frozen lakes in his homeland.
Having made his Supercar debut in a Hyundai Accent in the Czech Republic round in 2007, before subsequently racing an ex-Andreas Eriksson Ford Fiesta and then a former Lars Larsson Skoda Fabia in the European and Swedish series, by 2012 Hedstrom was racing a Michael Jernberg-built Skoda Fabia Mk2. In the Swedish and Finnish rounds, both events hit by heavy rain, he starred.
By now racing a Mk7 OMSE Fiesta, in 2016, again in wet conditions, Hedstrom set the fastest times in Euro RX in both practice and warm-up sessions ay Holjes, times that would have been good enough for top-eight overall in World RX, against a high calibre of drivers in the top category, despite not feeling totally at-one with the Fiesta. Since, he has raced various former Marklund Motorsport Polos, and finished on the Euro RX podium at Holjes in 2017, but most recently has focused on running his team for customer drivers.
At Holjes, on a wet and greasy Sunday Hedstrom set the fastest time in the third qualifying runs, then claimed B final victory to graduate to the A final, in which he finished second behind Russian Timur Timerzynov. Three rounds later at Kouvola, on the day that Timerzyanov claimed his maiden Supercar crown, Hedstrom was fastest in qualifying two and three, to secure pole position for the A final, and eventually finished third, behind Timerzyanov and Liam Doran.
How he’s returning to the driving seat, and if his Arvika to Holjes week goes well, could do some more events later in the year.
“Me and Anton Marklund talked a lot about what the best car to drive is just now in the World Championship, and we both said directly, it’s the Hyundai. We thought it was the best choice for us,” Hedstrom told Rallycross World. “I’ve known Marcus [Gronholm, GRX owner] for a long time and we have worked together before. He wants the best for the car, so we made that decision to buy it very quickly, it all happened in one week.
We [Hedstroms Motorsport] have Anton, Anders Michalak and Dan Oberg driving our Polos in the European Championship at Holjes and I don’t want to compete with them, so I’m doing the World Championship instead. The Hyundai is very good, and Holjes is one of my favourite tracks – I’ve done very many laps there. If we can have some have good luck in the Q1 draw and everything goes well, I think it can be a good weekend.”
The GRX i20 has won in difficult conditions before – in Norway with Niclas Gronholm and Belgium with Timur Timerzyanov in 2019 –and if it rains next weekend at Holjes, don’t be surprised to see Hedstrom’s name near the top of the results sheets.« Previous Post Next Post »