Gronholm and Kristoffersson in Portugal. Klara Andersson on World RX podium. National racing from Finland, Germany, France.
Seven days in rallycross, 22 September
by Rallycross World |
17 September / In the first half of a double-header event at Montalegre in Portugal, Johan Kristoffersson claimed his fourth event win of the year in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Kristoffersson again had to work hard for his win, two punctures in the Progression race putting a dent in his day. Teammate OC Veiby eventually placed second to Kristoffersson but also had a difficult day after crashing at the end of H1 and non-starting in H2. Veiby’s charge back to second place pushed the Hansen brothers down the order, Timmy placing third and Kevin fourth. Gustav Bergstrom continued his impressive rookie season with another appearance in the final and placed fifth.
17 September / The Finnish Championship reached its conclusion at Honkajoki where Jere Kalliokoski completed the defence of the title, running out as the Rallicross SM champion for the second year in succession, and third time in six years after a head-to-head with Mika Liimatainen in the final. Starting the last few laps of the year just one point apart, Kalliokoski got the drop on Liimatainen at the start and held his nerve to win the final. Henri Haapamaki completed the podium, the top three all driving Ford Fiestas. Half of the championship’s four classes were decided before the final round, the new V1600 category also going to last event of the year. There were 21 starters in the class for the last round in which Matias Lautamaki (Toyota Yaris) won for the third time to secure the title. In the SRC (Supernational) class Ville Mikkonen (BMW) finally put technical problems behind him and won the event to secure second in the championship, Oli Lahti having already secured the title. There was a new winner in the Autokrossi class, Aatu Matikainen taking the win in his Toyota Starlet. Victory in each of the first four events had secured the title for Jere Tikka (Toyota MR2). Tuomas Venalainen secured second in the series with second place in the final race of the year.
18 September / Niclas Gronholm won round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre in Portugal, the Finnish driver elevated from second place on the road after John Kristoffersson received a 10 second penalty following a contact incident with race leader Timmy Hansen. Gronholm worked Kristoffersson hard on the track, but the Swede was first to the chequer after a blistering Joker Lap in the last lap of the race. When the penalty dropped Kristoffersson to fifth, OC Veiby was elevated to second place and Klara Andersson stepped on to the podium in third place – the first female driver ever to finish in the top three of a World RX event. Kristoffersson continues to hold the championship lead, 21 points ahead of Veiby.
The two FIA European Rallycross Championships accompanied World RX in Portugal, and the destiny of both titles was settled at the mountain-top venue. In Euro RX1 Anton Marklund claimed his third FIA European Championship crown, but endured a tough weekend to get there. Marklund was fortunate to escape a clash with Janis Baumanis (Peugeot 208) on Saturday and was then roughed-up at the start of the final in which he eventually finished fourth. At the front Enzo Ide (Audi S10 secured his first FIA European Rallycross victory in a near perfect weekend. Baumanis and Ulrik Linnemann (Ford Fiesta) completed the podium, the latter again performing strongly against the professional teams. Marcin Gagacki (Fiesta) was fifth in his best finish of the year.
Beaten only in H2, Kobe Pauwels (Audi A1) maintained his calm and took his third event win of the year to claim the European title at just 17-years of age. Behind the Belgian, Damian Litwinowicz (A1) came through to take a personal best second place with Portuguese Euro RX regular Nuno Araujo (A1) also recording a personal best on home ground in third place. Jan Cerny was heroic again in the Skoda Citigo and Joao Ribeiro (A1) completed the finishers in fifth place.
18 September / The seventh and penultimate round of the French Rallycross Championship took place at Mayenne where Julien Febreau returned to the Rallycross France grid and took the win. Beaten only in Q2, Febreau was top qualifier, comfortably ahead of Damien Meunier (VW Polo) and Samuel Peu (Peugeot 208). Making great use of a DA Racing Peugeot 208, Febreau went on to win the semi-final and the final. Peu, and title rival Romauld Delaunay were both jostled out of position in the first lap and second place eventually went to Olivier Spaminato (Renault Clio) with David Vincent third in his 208. Anthony Paillardon (Audi A1) took the Super1600 win and maximum score at the end of a perfect day out. Julien Meunier (Renault Twingo) placed second with Jimmy Terpereau (Citroen C2) completing the podium. Tom Le Jossec stamped his authority on the Junior series, taking a maximum points haul in the Renualt Clio-based championship with another win. Mathieu Fretin and Kelig Gouesbet joined Le Jossec on the podium. Aude Dupont won the Coupe Feminine, Melanie Lefrancois and Emma Chalvin second and third, while Anthony Pelfrene (Renault Clio) and Jean-Francois Blaise (Renault Clio) won in Divisions Three and Four respectively.
18 September / DRX, the German Rallycross Championship completed a double-header weekend at Schluchtern where honours were split between Michael Grunwald who guided his Subaru Impreza to victory on Saturday and Dietmar Brandt (Audi S3) who took the Sunday win. Cross border Benelux raiders made off with the silverware in the over 2000cc Supernational category, Dutchman Bart Bel (Volvo S40) leading home compatriot Maikel Alew (BMW E30) and Belgian Jelle Blockx (Volvo S40) on Saturday before Blockx stepped up to take the win on Sunday when Bastian Sichelschmidt (BMW E30) managed to work his way into second place ahead of Alew. Sven Seeliger took his Fiesta to a brace of under 2000cc victories, Dutchmen Johan Kwinten (BMW M1) and Pim Garvelink (Honda Civic) making it to the podium on Saturday while the home racers were ahead on Sunday, Dustin Volzer second his Opela Manta and Axel Seecamp’s BMW E36 third. Tim Braumuller (LifeLive) and Dave Tijdink (JvdC) took the Cross Car wins where Samuel Drews (LifeLive) was the Junior winner. In the Production class Philipp Knoff (Peugeot 205) won on Saturday and Andreas Huhn (Honda Civic) took the Sunday honours while the Rookie winner on Saturday was Marcel Euteneuer (VW Polo) before Philipp Knoff, this time driving a Citroen Saxo, won on Sunday.
This weekend / Take a deep breath, this is a big one. Nyirad in Hungary closed the entry list for its event that counts towards the Hungarian, CEZ, Austrian, Czech and Slovakian championships with 147 drivers listed. Thank fully Polish racers are otherwise occupied at Slomczyn.
pics: World RX, Red Bull Content Pool, DRX, Rallycross France, Rallicross SM
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