17 April / Special One Racing announces that nine-time World Rally Champion and double World Rallycross Championship event-winner Sebastien Loeb will return to World RX for 2023, racing a Lancia Delta Evo-e RX as team mate to compatriot Guerlain Chicherit. The deal for Loeb’s return was harvested while he and Chicherit spent time together competing in off-road events like the Dakar Rally, following Chicherit’s impressive debut with the Delta Evo-e in the final round of World RX last season. “I’m from a generation that was brought up seeing wins by Lancia Deltas in rallying, so naturally I have a weakness for this car,” said 49-year-old Loeb, “but when Guerlain spoke to me the first time about tackling a rallycross season with it, I thought he was mad! Then I tried the car last December and was immediately won over by its dynamic qualities. I have great faith in this project and I can’t wait to champion it on tracks around the world. I’m very motivated for the challenge, and I think rallycross is the ideal discipline for electrification because we have a lot of power and the races are short. These cars are exciting to drive, and World RX is the perfect platform to promote their evolution. The show on-track is just amazing, with great fights and even more spectacular action than before, and now we have the opportunity to attract a whole new generation of fans.”
17 April / The second round of the Belgian Rallycross Championship, planned to take place at Arendonk on 22-23 April is postponed to 3-4 June.
20 April / Swedish squad Construction Equipment Dealer Team announces that it has retained World RX podium-finisher Klara Andersson to race a PWR RX1e for the squad for a second straight campaign, but also that it has signed the rising star to a multi-year contract to remain racing in World RX. Andersson, who will continue to drive alongside Niclas Gronholm in the squad, joined her team mate on the World RX podium at Montalegre in Portugal last season, and has also won Extreme E events out-right since stepping up to rallycross’ highest level. “Chances like these are a one-in-a million opportunity, and I am beyond grateful for the team’s belief in me as a driver,” said Andersson. “I’m super-excited to see what we can achieve together in the future. Starting my World RX career with CE Dealer Team last year was amazing, and to continue with them for 2023 and beyond is really inspiring for me as a young driver. I’m very happy to keep racing with my team-mate Niclas – we work really well together. Now I’ve done my rookie year and I’ve learned so much, it’s time for the next step forward.”
21 April / Round four of the Italian Championship, RX Italia has been brought forward one week. The Night Race will now take place on 19-20 May. The event remains part of the Maggiora Music Festival with Illeciti Musicali and leading Italian DJ Georgia Mos will perform.
22 April / The Nordic RallyX series opened its 2023 season with a double-header at Nysum in Denmark where Peter Hedstrom made great use of his team’s Hyundai i20 to win round one on Saturday. Second to Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo) in qualifying, Hedstrom won semi-final two and then the final. Kevin Eriksson made good use of an OMSE Honda Civic to take third place, ahead of Yury Belevskiy and Andreas Bakkerud. Viktor Vranckx won the ‘Supercar Am’ class in his Rx2e car. Simon Olofsson was top qualifier in Supercar Lites but slipped down the order in the finals where Lukas Andersson progressed from sixth place to be third in SF2 and then win the final. There were 32 CrossCar starters and best of them was Thomas Eek Murstad (Speedcar Wonder). Second to Pasi Penttinen in qualifying, Murstad was beaten by Sebastian Enholm in SF2 but got the better of his rival to win the final. Penttinen was beaten by Alexander Heum in SF1 and then retired in the final. CrossCar Junior had 22 starters and best of the group at the end of the event was Finn Joonatan Ylilammi (Speedcar) who had been third in qualifying and the winner of semi-final three. Mikael Uitto was top qualifier and the SF1 winner but beaten by compatriot Ylilammi in the final where Lauri Halonen (Yrdefalk) placed third on a day dominated by Finnish racers. Simon Tiger won the two-wheel drive event with his rotary-powered BMW E30.
23 April / In the second day of competition at Nysum, Johan Kristoffersson was again the top qualifier, but ultimately out of luck and a retirement in the final. Ulrik Linnemann’s difficult weekend on home turf also ended with retirement in the final. Second in qualifying and the winner of SF2, Kevin Eriksson claimed the event ahead of Yury Belevskiy and Peter Hedstrom. Viktor Vranckx again took the ‘Am’ class win. Building on his success in the first event, Lukas Andersson took victory in the Supercar Lites final and was beaten only in Q3. Simon Olofsson and Ole Henry Steinsholt joined the youngster on the podium. Riku Huuhka (Speedcar Wonder) dominated the CrossCar section of the event, top qualifier and winner of SF1 and the final. Sebastian Enholm and Jimmie Osterberg finished second and third. The top three finishers in CrossCar Junior were the same as in day one, but with the order juggled; Mikael Uitto taking the victory having been top qualifier and the winner in semi one. Lauri Halonen was second again and day one winner Joonatan Ylilammi third as Finns again dominated. The two-wheel drive class was won by Viktor Johansson’s hybrid Mercedes 190.
23 April / The Portuguese Rallycross Championship began at Montalegre where rain made the going difficult on Sunday. Jose Oliveira (Peugeot 208) was the only Supercar starter in the event. Super1600 had 13 competitors and top qualifier was Sergio Dias (Renault Twingo) but the eventual winner was Andre Sousa (Audi A1) who languished in ninth before the semi-finals after failing to finish in the first heat. Third in the first semi-final, Sousa then made his way to the front of the final to win the day ahead of Jorge Machado (Citroen C2) and Rogerio Sousa (Ford Fiesta) while Dias finished fourth. The two classes for two-wheel drive cars are running together this year, 17 taking the start and Adao Pinto continuing his success from 2022 by taking the first win his Opel Astra. Bruno Ferreira (Suzuki Swift) and Manuel Pinto (Peugeot 208) completed the top three finishers, the latter down in 14th after qualifying but fighting back into the trophy places in the final phase of the event. Pedro Rosario dominated in Kartcross, fastest in all three heats, the Semog driver was also ahead in the finals and finished the day flanked on the podium by Luis Almeida (LBS) and Joao Medina (Semog Bravo).
23 April / The Austrian, Czech and Central European Zone championships combined at Melk where CEZ rivals Ales Fucik (Polo) and Zbigniew Staniszewski (Fiesta) again led the way. Staniszewski was top qualifier and won the first semi-final, Fucik winning semi two. In the final the order was reversed, Fucik emerging with the win while Gerald Eder was best of the local driver, third in his Skoda Fabia. Just three drivers, all of the Czech, started in Super1600, Vaclav Tuma the winner in his Skoda Fabia. SuperTouringCars had its usual three capacity splits, Tomas Michal (VW Polo) climbing the order in the finals having been fourth in qualifying before taking the win. Top qualified Gerald Woldrich (Mercedes C200) won all three heats but retired after three laps in semi-final one. Ondre Senk (Fabia) and Lukasz Zoll (Volvo S40) completed the top three. Roman Castoral (Opel Astra) returned to the top of the -2000 class in a dominant performance in which he won all of his races. Zoltan Held (Polo) and Robert Dabrowski (Polo) joined the Czech veteran on the podium. Jiri Cermak (Honda Civic) was top qualifier in the -1600 section but his day began to go wrong in the semi-final where he was beaten by Vilem Sagner (Fabia). Worse was to come in the final where Cermak forgot to take the Joker Lap was relegated to last place, Sagner inheriting the race win. Martin Knapek (Fabia) and Daniel Karlovits (Civic) joined him on the podium. Austria’s Peugeot 206 Cup was won by Leander Pfleger, Jiri Sterba (VW Polo) was best of the Czech National 1600 class while Martin Gradwohl won the Austrian version, these latter two attracting 10 and 17 starters respectively. The Czech Historic series class wins were taken by Lubos Slaba (Honda CRX) and in the over 1600 Karol Fakta’s Skoda Felicia. The Titans class also appeared, Jan Skala best of the four starters.
25 April / Reigning European Rallycross Champion Anton Marklund and Finnish squad SET Promotion reveal that a Ford Fiesta RX has replaced the Hyundai i20 RX1 that Marklund drove to the 2022 European Rallycross Championship crown. The Fiesta, first used in World RX in 2014 and in the American-based GRC prior to that by American star Ken Block, is being used by the squad as different project to try and achieve success with a different, older, machine, while also honouring the memory of the late Ken Block, through a close link with SET technician Henrik Rautanen, who previously worked with Block and the Hoonigan Racing Division. Part of the Fiesta’s livery, on the roof, is being used to commemorate Block, while also promoting 43i.org, the foundation set up to create paths of opportunity for the exceptionally driven who may lack the proper support system for growth and success, in Block’s memory. “We are the reigning champions, but I see us as the underdogs this year,” said Marklund. “Of course we are doing everything we can to win because that is why we go racing, but the Fiesta was built in 2013 and things have changed a bit since then. Having said that, the team is very good and I think together we can create something special. It feels nice for me to come into the season not being a big favourite to win the championship and we will see how we get on. The car looks really good, for me it is special to be able to honour Ken’s legacy, it was with him that this Fiesta project started and Ken’s passing is a huge loss to the whole motorsport community. I know Henrik’s time with Ken was a special part of his career, so it means a lot for us as a whole team to be doing this project, and carrying the livery on the roof of the car that we are.”
26 April / DA Racing returns to the French Rallycross Championship with a pair of Peugeot 208s. Anthony Pelfrene will join Manu Moinel in the lineup for Rallycross France, the pairing revealed on the eve of this weekend’s season opener at Lessay.
26 April / Special One floats the idea of Super Mario tribute livery for its World RX effort. We think these look amazing!
This weekend / The FIA European Rallycross Championship begins at Nyirad in Hungary. The fabled and highly challenging Hungarian track celebrates its 35th anniversary in the event. Also on the schedule this weekend, Rallycross France begins at Lessay, the Estonian series begins at Raassilla, Estering opens it’s doors for the DRX, Ittiri will host RX Italia, Poznan is scene for the Polish Championship’s second event and the Swedish season opener will play out at Strangnas.
pics: World RX, RedBull content pool, RX Italia, Special One, SET Promotion, RallyX, FPAK, DA Racing,
« Previous Post Next Post »