Thursday, 27 August 2020

PREVIEW: World RX of Finland - Kouvola returns to calendar after six-years absence.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media.
The 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship returns to Finland for the first time since 2014 this weekend when rounds three and four of the championship take place at Kouvola.

Kouvola, approximately 130km northeast of the Finnish capital Helsinki. It’s the largest town in the Kymenlaakso region of southeast Finland. 

Just six days after a thrilling season opener(s) in Holjes-Sweden, with Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom climbing onto the top step of the podium in rounds one and two. 

Originally planned to take part in the Holjes doubleheader, Ekstrom announced his participation in the Finland doubleheader earlier this week. The Swede will be joined on the grid by 18 other drivers this weekend. 

This weekend’s doubleheader event features two separate FIA World Rallycross Championship events, one full event – comprising three rounds of qualifying races, semi-finals, and the final – taking place each day.

FROM SWEDEN TO KOUVALA:

Last weekend in Sweden Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom claimed one victory each, Kristoffersson finishing third in Sunday’s event and moving to Finland with a two-point lead in the championship. 

Kristoffersson, is just ahead of 2016 champion Ekstrom whose KYB Team JC teammate Robin Larsson holds third in the championship having also produced a strong weekend in Sweden.

Heading into the weekend Kevin Hansen holds fourth place in the drivers' standings and clear of his older brother, current FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen who is placed eighth after a difficult opening weekend. Both Team Hansen drivers have prior experience of Kouvola and will be aiming to recover lost ground in Finland.

Timo Scheider had his best-ever World RX weekend in Sweden with a third-place finish and a fourth-place finish in round two to hold fifth in the championship for ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport.

Anton Marklund also featured strongly in the first weekend and is sixth entering Finland, ahead of Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov who were unable to show their true pace after being stuck in traffic all weekend.

Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel had a mixed weekend with neither of its drivers in the finals in round one due to mechanical issues, but Andreas Bakkerud hauled himself back into contention with a sixth-place finish in round two and is now laying ninth in the championship. His teammate Liam Doran is 17th after two days of mechanical problems with his Renault Megane R.S. RX.

Whilst Krisztian Szabo is currently placed 10th in the standings after Sweden. However, 2019 Finnish champion Juha Rytkönen will take the wheel of the GRX SET Hyundai i20 Supercar this weekend. 

Kevin Abbring will also replace Rokas Baciuska this weekend at UNKORRUPTED alongside Guerlain Chicherit after the team struggled with set-up issues in Sweden. 

ALL-INKL Muennich Motorsport's team boss Rene Muennich is currently placed 14th overall with Jani Paasonen in 16th.

Jere Kalliokoski will return to the premier class this weekend after a part-time programme with STARD in 2019. The Finn will drive a Ford Fiesta. 

Fellow countrymen and multiple Finnish Champion Atro Määttä will also make his RX return this weekend, whilst Hungarian Tamas Karai steps up from the European Championship in his Audi Supercar as well. 

Tanner Foust leading Timur Timerzyanov at the 2014 World RX of Finland.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media.
KOUVALA TRACK STATS:

Tykkimaen Moottorirata, the Tykkimaki Circuit, at Kouvola is an undulating rallycross track that is 1060 metres long and consists of 55% asphalt and 45% gravel surfaces. It has hosted the FIA World Rallycross Championship once before, when American Tanner Foust won in a VW Polo Supercar in 2014. It has previously hosted the FIA European Rallycross Championship and is regularly used in Finland’s national championship.

CHAMPION FAST START AWARD:

Johan Kristoffersson leads the new Champion Fast Start award that was introduced at the first event, but with 20 more points up for grabs this weekend that could easily change.

LIVESTREAM and BROADCAST TIMES SCHEDULE (CET):

The livestream for the events will be carried on the World RX Facebook and YouTube channels:

facebook.com/fiaworldrallycross

youtube.com/RallycrossRXTV

NOTE: The Semi-Finals and Finals will be broadcast on TV with no livestreams. CHECK YOUR TV LISTINGS HERE: https://www.fiaworldrallycross.com/tv_listings

SATURDAY - Round Three (29 August 2020):

Q1 - 10:30 am

Q2 - 11:50 am

Q3 - 13:15 pm

TV Broadcast - 15:00 to 17:00

Semi-Finals and Final - 16:00 to 16:50

SUNDAY - Round Four (30 August 2020):

Q1 - 09:40 am

Q2 - 11:30 am

Q3 - 13:15 pm

TV Broadcast - 15:00 to 17:00

Semi-Finals and Final - 16:00 to 16:50

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