9 July / The fourth round of the French Rallycross Championshipo at Pont de Ruan/Touraine is abandoned after problems with the track. Rallycross France promoter AFOR issued a long statement after the weekend to explain, this is some of what it said: “… This weekend was to be held the Rallycross de Touraine, fourth round of the Championship and the French Rallycross Cup. Despite a few difficult years, AFOR has always given its support and shown its confidence in the organizing team to enable the Circuit de Pont de Ruan to remain on the calendar, subject to the guarantee of a quality of organization to be improved and a track to be restored to bring it up to the level that can be expected in the French Rallycross Championship. … Unfortunately, from free practice, the track deteriorated in two places, forcing the race management to delay the start of the competition to allow the repair of the track. To this was added an omnipresent dust pushing the race management there too to carry out substantial watering, truncating sporting fairness from the first qualifying round. The delay taken by the necessary works and the interventions of the sweeper and the watering prompted the race management to cancel the second qualifying heat and thus leave the track available all night to the organization team to rectify the situation. … On Sunday morning, from the first laps on the track, the condition of the track returned to what it was the day before. Thus pushing a majority of drivers to ask to be listened to by race management. At the instigation of AFOR, a meeting was organized between the Race Direction, the College of Sporting Stewards, the organizer and a ‘driver’ representative from each category. Contrary to what has been said and is said, the pilots have been heard and listened to. AFOR, as a promoter and as stipulated in the protocol, was not authorized to participate in this sports meeting. Contrary to what has been said and is still being said, at this precise moment of the competition, at the end of the ‘third qualifying round’, half of the drivers asked for the meeting to be stopped and the other half for the continuation of the meeting. (3 divisions ‘for’ / 3 divisions ‘against’). Following this meeting, the College of Sporting Stewards took the decision to cancel the fourth qualifying round in order to allow time to attempt a final repair. At the end of this last repair, the Race Direction took the decision to stop the Rallycross de Touraine meeting, its criminal liability being more than ever at stake in the event of an accident. … AFOR, the promoter, takes its share of responsibility in this incident and will take the decisions it has in its power to never let this happen again on the French Rallycross Championship. By tightening the specifications submitted to the organizers and ensuring even more the quality of organization of the rounds of the Championship and the French Rallycross Cup. As of yesterday morning, its President went to the French Motor Sport Federation to report the facts, ask for explanations and propose initial solutions. … One last time, the AFOR would like to address to its volunteers, its fans, its spectators, its partners, its drivers, its apologies for this Rallycross de Touraine 2023 and as always, it will continue to give its maximum to to make the French Championship and Cup one of the finest Rallycross competitions in Europe and throughout the world.”
9 July / The fourth round of the Hungarian Rallycross Championship took place at Nyirad where Mate Benyo was beaten by regular rival Tamas Karai only in heat four. Fastest in the first three heats, Benyo (Peugeot 208) was top qualifier and won the final ahead of Karai and the second Karai Motorsport Audi Zoltan Koncseg. Zoltan Nagy (BMW E30) was the winner of the SuperTouring+ category while Zoltan Held won the -2000 section in his VW Polo. There were just six starters across those two categories, and seven in the -1600 group where Balazs Siebel (Toyota Aygo) collected the victory. In the numerous one-make championships, Peter Perendy was best of the MX5 Cup racers, Zsofia Korda won in the Hybrid Cup, Zsombor Pinter was best of the Hankook Racer Cup and Gergely Kalibach won the Astra Cup. The Hankook Cross Car Cup, new in 2023, had five starters and was won by Istvan Antal (Semog Bravo). There were 15 starters in the Suzuki Swift-based Junior series. Norbert Attila Kaldenekker was top qualifier, winner of SF1 and the winner in the final where he led home Bence Szabo and Benedguz Kunkli. The Magyar Cup had 19 starters, the biggest class in the event, and was won by Bulcsu Szabo (Honda Civic) who was fastest in all four heats and not beaten in any phase of the event. Csanad Szabo (Swift) and Peter Soma Szeplaki (Toyota Yaris) completed the top three.
9 July / RX Italia made its first appearance at Pomposa where an all-asphalt track was a new departure for the series. An incident the final eliminated Fabio Mezzatesta and Rosario Montalbano and required a red flag and restart. With her two closest rivals out of the running, Jenni Sonzogni (Skoda Fabia) had a relatively easy run to the chequer and her third win of the year in the headlining R5 class. Marco Noris was best of the three-car Supercar field despite encountering problems with his Mitsubishi Lancer in the final. Valentino Ledda (Peugeot 208 R2) won again in the Super1600 section. Daniele Catena scooped victory in the combined Sport RX/STC final in his Fiat 500 and Maicol Giacomotti (KC) took a hard earned victory in the Kartcross section and battling off Riccardo Canzan (Speedcar Xtreme).
9 July / Edijs Oss bossed it at Vilkyciai as the Latvian-Lithunanian series moved on to Lithunania’s foremost off-road venue. Unbeaten and he breezed through the event to take a clean sweep, Oss was joined on the podium by Arnis Odins and Aldis Kasparovics. Frejs from dipping his toe into the European Championship, Audrius Kragas (Skoda Fabia) was similarly dominant in Super1600 and led all the way.Martimns Spikis and Rytis Gurklys were second and third in a field of eight. Maija Stakena was twice fastest and top qualifier in the 11-car S2000 field but lost out to Mindaugas Sidabras who went ahead to win the final. Ronalds Baldins was dominant and the clear winner in the Xtreme (Kartcross) class which unusually had just seven starters. The one-make classes accounted for the majority of the entry, Roberts Purmalis best of the 15 Yaris Cup starters, Kaspars Fricsons the winner among the same number of BMW 3000 runners and Niks Mezins top of the class in Lada RX.
9 July / The Portuguese championship went home to Lousada where Rogerio Sousa was best of the Super1600 class which is the leading category in the Portuguese series. Mario Barbosa led the final, but Sousa and Jorge Machado were always on his tail and the Joekr Lap eventually decided the destiny of the race; Sousa fractionally faster than Barbosa to take the win. Joao Ribeiro was second to Barbosa in their semi, but crashed his Peugeot 207 in the first turn of the final. With 25 starters the Kartcross class was the strongest and was eventually won by Rui Nunes (Semog Bravo) who led home Sergio Castro and Luis Almeida. The Junior Kartcross class had five starters, four of them girls. The lone boy, Joao Dinis, emerged as the winner ahead of Yesica Lorenzo and Gabriela Godinho. Duarte Camelo (Peugeot 106) emerged as best of the 18 National 2WD starters while in the Junior saloon class there was just one starter, Jose Pedro Barriga. Supercars are rare in Portugal and numbered just two at Lousada, Jose Oiveira ahead of the similar Peugeot 208 of Tiago Alexandre.
9 July / Cross Car has become the premier class in Belgian RX and in mixed weather conditions produced a battle royal at Arendonk in the fourth round of the national championship. Ronnie Grauwels and Kobe Pauwels battled over the lead before a clash put Grauwels off the road. Dylan Rolly started from pole but had a spin and Romauld Demelenne also had a shot at leading the final before Nathan Ottink proved to be master of the conditions and the Joker Lap strategy and burst through to take the win. In Junior Cross Car was won by Jordan Genten who had a slow start but fought back to take the win ahead of Marius Debuisson and Lucas Cartelle. In Super1600 engine failure stopped dave Van Beers and Davy Van Den Branden appeared to heading for the win when the steering on his Citroen failed. That opened the door for Yenthe Putzeys (Opel Corsa) who claimed his first victory at this level. Steve Volders worked his way to the front of the Supernational -2000 final to take the win with his Volvo C30. Supernational + lost Kristof Bex who did not progress from the semis and Bart Bel’s BMW E30 then broke its suspension at the start of the final. Rising star Yorrick Maeyninckx (Volvo 240) looked set to win until the transmission failed and handed victory to Dave Cuynen (BMW M3). The event also contained the debut for Mini Cross Car. Using FIA’s Cross Car chassis concept, the Mini class is for 7-12-year-olds and had 14 starters for its first appearance in rallycross.
11 July / The RX2e series announces that Latvian Roberts Vitols will race in the third round of the series at Lydden. A regular racer in the UK, Vitols made his RX2e debut in his home event in Riga last year where he led until a problem halted his car. “he car went into safety mode and that’s where we lost a sensational result on RX2e debut in front of my home crowd and this feeling of unfinished job has been with me since Riga,” said Vitols.
12 July / Finn Tommi Hallman will race in the third round of the RX2e championship, taking over the SET Promotion car used by Marko Muru in Sweden. Hallman will race in Britain and Germany. No stranger to driving electric racecars – among other things he is the driver of the Volvo CE promo car during World RX events – this will be Hallman’s first competitive event in an electric car.
13 July / Volkswagen Dealerteam Bauhaus/KMS announces that Norwegian racer Sondre Evjen is to replace Gustav Bergstrom for the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lydden. The Euro RX event winner has been with KMS before was top of the list for team boss Tommy Kristoffersson. “We had a talk already ahead of the season to find a solution for Euro RX, but it wasn’t possible then. Now that Gustav has another commitment Sondre was the first one that came to my mind. I saw his potential already the last time he was with us, even though he also had things to learn. Now he has gained experience with Joel at JC and matured as a driver. He is good at reading his opponents and to get into the right position on the track. You never know what will happen further on. I count Sondre as an asset for us and a potential stand-in. I also want to give him the chance to show his potential and get back on track.”
This weekend / A quiet one in holiday season. The Czech and Slovakian championships meet at Sedlcany in the Czech Republic and Spain’s CERX series heads to Calafat for its third event of the year.
pics: World RX, Red Bull content pool, Rallycross France, RX Italia, Rallycross LV, Belgian RX, RX2e, KMS
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