O’Donovan’s British double. Benyo best in Hungary. Romagna wins in Italy.
Seven days in rallycross 13 April
by Rallycross World |
8 April / The first round of the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship takes place at Lydden where defending champion Patrick O’Donovan refuses to beaten and wins through in the final at the end of a difficult day. Fastest in both of the two qualifiers, O’Donovan retired from semi-final one with a gearbox problem. Owing to other retirements he managed to scrape on to the back row of the grid for the final, which he went on to win, leading home Jack Thorne (Peugeot 208) and Viktor Vranckx who demonstrated the pace of an RX2e car with a great run to third place having earlier been fourth after qualifying. Polish drivers had a good day in Supernational, Slawomir Woloch (BMW M3) taking a convincing win ahead of Maciej Florczak who battled hard with Dave Van Beers (Renault Clio) before grabbing second place in his Fiesta. Tyler Mcalpin claimed his first Junior win ahead of Ryan Smith and Corey Padgett. Dave Bellerby started his BMW Mini title defence with a win and Ed Stallard won the All4 Mini class. Lee Wood (Escort) collected the SuperRetro win after James Harrold’s leading VW Beetle went out with suspension damage while Terry Moore (Mini) won the Retro final. Champion Max Weatherley won the Swift Sport final and Klara Andersson completed a successful day of training and learning the Lydden circuit by winning the RX150 final.
8 April / JC Raceteknik says that it will run an Audi S1 for Andreas Bakkerud in the opening round of the RallyX series at Nysum in Denmark. “We got to know Andreas better over the last year in Nitro Rallycross and it’s great to be able to continue working with him for the opening round of RallyX at Nysum. He has a huge personality that so many people love and a huge amount of rallycross experience. You of course learn something new every time you go out on track, especially in different cars and having to adapt to different situations. We go into every race we do wanting to get the best result possible, so we will be trying hard to reach the podium and fighting for the top step in Denmark,” said JC boss Joel Christoffersson.
10 April / Patrick O’Donovan repeated his win from round of the 5 Nations British Rallycross Championship on Easter Monday when he conquered an event of mixed weather to extend his series lead. O’Donovan overtook jack Thorne in Devil’s Elbow, then passed Viktor Vranckx up Hairy Hill to seize a lead he would never relinquish, while Thorne and then Ollie O’Donovan also overtook Vranckx, both at the hairpin on successive laps, the pair joining Patrick O’Donovan on the final podium. Elsewhere in the event Slawmir Woloch (Supernational), Tyler Mcalpin (Junior), Ed Stallard (All4 Mini) and Max Weatherley (Swift) all emulated O’Donovan by repeating their round one victories. In the BMW Mini series Ben Sayer used an early Joker Lap to pass Dave Bellerby for the win and Jos Sterkens (Escort turbo) led the combined Retro/SuperRetro final before his car stopped and the lead passed to Lee Wood with Tony Lynch best of the Retro (up to 1600cc) cars in his Toyota MR2. Stephen Jones overtook Andrew Coley (yes, him) to win the RX150 final.
10 April / Having traded his Ford Focus for a Peugeot 208, Mate Benyo wins the first round of the Hungarian Rallycross Championship at Mariapocs. Also the opening event of the CEZ season, the event attracts just eight Supercar starters with Benyo challenged by Tamas Karai (Audi S1). Zbigniew Stanisziewski (Fiesta) qualified second but lost ground to Zoltan Koncseg and Ales Fucik in semi-final two and then slipped to fifth in the final. Karai qualified third, winning one heat to Benyo’s three, and then followed the leading Peugeot driver in SF1 and the final in which Koncseg was third. Lukas Zoll (Volvo S40) was best of the five-car STC+2000 field, Roman Castoral (Opel Astra) leading home a -2000 field of the same size while Gergo Kormoczi (Skoda Felicia) won the -1600 final in a class of 12 cars. Super1600, by contrast, had four runners and delivered victory for Balazs Kormoczi (VW Polo). In the many other classes of the Hungarian championship, Astra Cup honours were taken by Gergely Kailbach, Levente Kaczor won the Suzuki Swift-based Hankook Racer Cup, Bertold Bors won the Hybrid class, Bendeguz Kunkl was best of the 13 Junior starters, Krisztian Horvath (Peugeot 106) won the Magyar Cup and Peter Perendy was best of the Mazda MX5 field. The championship has introduced FIA Cross Car for the 2023 season and the first winner was Domonkos Kovacs (Semog Bravo) who races with the same Korda Racing squad that guided Benyo to Supercar honours.
10 April / in his first event with a new Skoda Fabia, Simone Romagna won the first round of the Italian Rallycross Championship at Maggiora. Despite the presence of a Supercar category, the R5 class takes precedence in RX Italia, and Romagna won the final in a faster time than the comparative Supercar winner. Second to Romagna in the six-car R5 category, Gianmarco Donetto. Jenni Sonzogni made a great debut in the category, placing third and completing an all Fabia top three. Marco Noris (Fabia) was the Supercar winner, leading home Werner Gurschler (Fiesta) and Rosario Corallo (Subaru Impreza) in the three-strong class. Albertio Palestrini won the two-car STC+2000 final, Ermes Mapi was best of five starters in the -2000 section and Valentino Leda, in his first event out of open-wheels won the -1600 class in which there had been semi-finals with his Peugeot 208. Kartcross also mustered a field of depth and class. Ricardo Canzian (Speedcar XTR) taking the win but worked hard by Nathan Ottink who made the trip south from Holland and achieved a notable second with his LifeLive. Nicola Morlacchi (Planet Kartcross) made it three makes on the podium and gave himself a good 18th birthday present in third place.
11 April / Construction Equipment Dealer Team announces that it has extended its contract with Niclas Gronholm. The Finn gave the new team its first win at Montalegre last year and has won events in each of the last four World RX seasons. he has now signed a “multi-year” extension to his agreement with the Swedish team that is managed by former FIA European Champion Jussi Pinomaki. “We reached our initial goals for the first season by winning races, finishing in the top three overall and highlighting a more diverse and sustainable motorsport world but we are far from satisfied. We will continue to push the envelope, both on and off-track. The future is electric, inclusive and exciting – something we will continue to work hard for. And our long-term goal of challenging for the FIA World Rallycross Championship titles has not changed,” he said.
11 April / Petter Solberg will be reunited with a World RX spec VW Polo when he takes part in the Simola Hillclimb in South Africa next month. A multiple Norwegian champion in hillclimbs, Solberg is familiar with the discipline but will face stuff competition from single seaters on the 1.9km hill near Knysna in the Western Province. “I like the format of the hillclimb – it’s a little bit like driving a stage without a co-driver! The course is quite short, like most hillclimbs, but from what I’ve been told, there’s going to be a lot happening,” said Solberg.
13 April / Crosskart champion Lukas Andersson is to race in the Supercar Lites section of RallyX this year. The 15-year-old has been granted an exemption by the Swedish ASN that allows him to compete in the class before he is 16 (the usual minimum age). He will race with JC Raceteknik. “This is the biggest step I’ve ever made in motorsport. If I’m going to make it in this sport I think it’s good to make this step early. I have big goals – I want to be World Rallycross Champion one day! We haven’t done a lot of testing and I’m still learning about the car, but the little testing I have done has been really fun. I don’t have big hopes or expectations for this season, it’s a learning year so we will see where we get to,” said Andersson.
This weekend / After a busy easter it seems that no-one is playing this weekend, so make the most of it because next week is busy, busy, busy! Next month the Finnish Rallicross SM series returns to the legendary Ahvenisto, here’s a little bit of history from the spectacular track at Hameenlinna
pics: World RX, RedBull content pool, 5 Nations BRX, Korda Racing, RX Italia, JC Raceteknik
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