Irish & Belgian championships. New World RX calendar. Rallycross stars in Extreme E.
Seven days in rallycross, 9 March
by Rallycross World |
3 March / The FIA World Motor Sport Council approves a revised calendar for the FIA World Rallycross Championship forced “…by the unstable nature of the global logistics market and the extended shipping times required to accommodate the events outside of Europe.” The change moves the Euro RX event at Nyirad forward to the end of April and Portugal’s World RX counter forward from August to June where it now forms the opening round of the World championship. The German event at Estering as well as the South African and Asian rounds also have new dates.
4 March / The 2023 season begun in Ireland with the first day of a double-header event at Mondello Park that formed rounds one and two of the 2023 Irish Rallycross Championship, IRX. Derek Tohill wins the first event, the Fiesta driver taking the Superfinal victory ahead of Patrick O’Donovan (Proton Iriz). The latter had led the Superfinal but took the Joker Lap having failed to understand that the Joker Lap is not used in the Superfinal (no, us neither!). Michael Leonard Jnr. and John McCluskey completed good debuts in their recently acquired OMSE Fiestas in third and fourth place. Earlier in the afternoon O’Donovan had won the Supercar final, leading home Leonard and Tohill. O’Donovan had also set fastest time in all three qualifying heats. Elsewhere Nicole Drought bagged another win in the Open Clubman (Clubperson?) final with her Renault Clio 172. Jason Bleasdale crossed the Irish sea and got a Modified (Supernational) win win his Vauxhall VX220, the Englishman leading home Peter McGarry’s Volvo C30 and Stanley Bovill’s Escort. Thomas O’Rafferty won the Rally class in his Vauxhall Nova, Toby McGuire (Fiesta) was best of the three Junior starters and Padraic McHale (Yacacross) won the Buggies final.
5 March / In the opening round of the Belgian Rallycross Championship at Mettet, Kristof Bex swept through the day unbeaten in his Volvo S40. Fastest of the 10 starters in all three heats, Bex won his semi-final before going on to take the final ahead of Glenn Cools (Volvo 242) and Dave Cuynen (BMW Compact). Martijn Vanhove (BMW 1) worked harder for his victory in the Supernational – category. Third at the intermediate, second in his semi-final, Van Hove continued his progress to win the final ahead of Mandy Kasse (Ford Fiesta) and Joel Strackx (Honda Civic). Steve Volders was back in action with a Volvo C30 and placed fourth having won the first semi-final. Top qualifier Nick Neyens (Escort MkII) slumped to sixth in the final. The evergreen Davy Van Den Branden won the RX3 final in his Citroen DS3, leading home Yves Teelen and Yenthe Putzeys (Opel Corsa). With 16 starters Cross Car was the best supported class in the event. Jari Van Hoof (Peters) was fastest in two heats, the top qualifier and winner of the final. Closest challenger in the heats, Kobe Pauwels, who was fastest in heat one, went out in the the semi-finals. Nathan Ottink (LifeLive) was eventually second with Arnaud Demelenne (Kamikaz) in third place. Jordan Genten (Kamikaz) was best of the five starters in Junior Cross Car, Lucas Cartelle (LifeLive) and Marius Debuisson (Kamikaz) joining him on the podium. Autocross Superbuggies were also on the bill, Mark Van Eyken (Speis) taking the win.
1-7 March / In a flurry of announcements the Extreme E teams name a clutch of rallycross drivers in prime seats for its 2023 season. Johan Kristoffersson is retained at Rosberg while Fraser McConnell gets a race seat at X44 Vida Carbon. Timo Scheider gets a race seat at the new Carl Cox Motorsport team and Mattias Ekstrom adds to his increasingly busy year after signing up for Acciona Sainz. Andreas Bakkerud becomes the ‘championship’ driver, effectively a reserve and the driver who plays a role in setting out and proving the course. Tamara Molinaro in the female championship driver. Timmy and Kevin Hansen both remain in the championship.
5 March / In the second round of the Irish Rallycross Championship Patrick O’Donovan again set the pace, was fastest in all three heats and won the Superfinal at the end of the day. The Proton driver lost out to Derek Tohill’s Fiesta in the Supercar final but was back on top in the last race of the day where Tohill was second. John McCluskey was third in both races with his Fiesta but the double-header was tough on the Supercar field and only four finished, Tommy Graham fourth in his Fiesta VI. Colin Dowling (Citroen Saxo) won the Open Clubman final ahead of Derek Lenehan (Saxo) and Nicole Drought. Jason Bleasdale repeated his Saturday Modified (Supernational) victory with Peter McGarry again second. The Rally class was again topped out by Thomas O’Rafferty (Nova), Tony McGuire (Fiesta) again won the Junior final and Padraic McHale (Yacacross) won the Buggy final ahead of Se Og Martin (Semog).
This weekend / We think it’s a quiet weekend, so maybe tune-in to Extreme E and see how your favourite rallycross driver gets on, or start planning your viewing season. Our big guide to where to watch in 2023 will be published next week. In the meantime, here’s a little video of the end-of-season fun that is the Lousda Six-hours.
pics: World RX, Extreme E, IRX, Johan Dingenen
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