Thursday 30 July 2020

World RX reveals Sweden double-header entry list.


Two former Drivers’ Champions and eight World RX event winners are included in the 17-car field for the season-opener, where the reigning World RX Drivers’ Champion Timmy Hansen will run with the number 1 on the side of his Peugeot 208 for the very first time. His teammate and brother Kevin Hansen will also have a new number for the 2020 season, number 9, as Team Hansen begins the defense of its 2019 Teams’ title.

Double World RX Champion Johan Kristoffersson makes his return in a Volkswagen Polo, racing as an individual entry with Kristoffersson Motorsport. While 2019 runner-up Andreas Bakkerud will make his debut in a Renault Megane in the Monster Energy GCK RX Catel team, together with teammate Liam Doran. 

Anton Marklund will return in 2020 in a Renault Megane R.S. RX, under a new banner "GCK Bilstein" whilst GC Kompetition's owner and driver Guerlain Chicherit and Rokas Baciuksa join forces in GCK Unkorrupted in a pair of Renault Clios. 

Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov remains with the GRX Taneco in a pair of updated Hyundai i20s and will be joined by a third car at Holjes, driven by Krisztian Szabo. The other two cars teams are in the form of KYB Team JC, running a pair of Audi S1s for Robin Larsson and Janis Baumanis.

ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport returns with Timo Scheider and Rene Muennich in a pair of Seat Ibizas. Also on the Swecon World RX of Sweden entry list is the winner from 2019, Sebastian Eriksson, driving a Honda Civic Supercar from Olsbergs MSE.

World RX of Abu Dhabi CANCELLED

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media.
The World RX of Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit has been cancelled, the event organizers announced. 

Abu Dhabi was set to host a double-header on 29-31 October but following the release of the updated calendar from World RX rightsholders, IMG, the event was dropped to a single round, and Sweden, Finland, and Latvia would host double-headers this season. 

The announcement today means that there will be a two-month gap between the penultimate round in Spain (Barcelona) on 17-18 October, and the season finale in Germany (Nurburgring) on 11-13 December. 

"In light of the continued global health concerns regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) the World Rallycross of Abu Dhabi, scheduled to be hosted at Yas Marina Circuit on 30-31 October, will unfortunately not take place this year,"

"The health and safety of everyone involved remains the priority as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances. We very much look forward to welcoming the drivers, teams, and fans to Yas Marina Circuit for this world-class event in 2021."

The Updated 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship Calendar.
Written By - Junaid Samodien 

Eriksson returns to defend hard-fought World RX Höljes crown – in a Honda.

Sebastian Eriksson, the defending race winner from the 2019 World RX of Sweden will return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship with his eyes firmly set on back to back victories in  Höljes.

The 27-year-old Swede had made only three starts at World RX level prior to his appearance at Höljes last summer, but in a high-caliber, 25-strong field, he was unbeatable from Q4 onwards. 
This year, he will return to the field in defense of that hard-fought triumph behind the wheel of Olsbergs MSE’s Honda Civic with which he claimed six podium finishes – including a race win – in GRC in 2016/17. 

As he prepares to return to the scene of his breakthrough World Championship achievement, it is clear that he has more silverware firmly in his sights.
"It felt like everything just went our way at Höljes last year. It was the race I wanted to win more than any other and the biggest result of my career, and it was nice to see the reaction of everybody in the paddock – that meant a lot," Eriksson said.
"I’m really excited to be going back again. Höljes is the most iconic rallycross track in the world, and this year, we get double the chances to win and double the fun. It’s the first time the World Championship has staged a double-header so the regular drivers might not be so used to that format, but I did a lot of it in GRC back in the day so hopefully, that might give me a little bit of an advantage."
Whilst the Ford Fiesta that Eriksson used to triumph in Höljes last year was in its development stage and suffered from overheating issues, he was able to keep a charging Kevin Hansen behind, but this year, the Swede will return in a machine that he is quite familiar with. 

The Swede is keen to see how the Honda Civic will perform at the World Championship level and admits that OMSE has been hard at work updating the car over the recent months. 

"It will be interesting to see how the Honda shapes up on the World Championship stage. It’s obviously a completely different shape and has different characteristics to the Fiesta, but in testing, we’ve achieved very similar lap times with the two cars," he said. "We’ve worked hard to update the Civic in recent months, which should make it a bit more competitive so I’m positive we can be up at the sharp end again – and how cool would it be to win back-to-back in two different cars?!"
"I might be the guy with the target on my back as the defending race winner, but I actually don’t feel under any pressure. For me, this is a one-off event so I can just go all-out. The drivers entered for the full season need to be a bit more conservative and think about the points situation, but for me, points don’t matter."

Eriksson is also aware of the challenge that awaits him in Höljes with an extremely competitive field filled with RX race winners and champions targeting victory at the season-opener and admits that he's ready for the fight.
"I haven’t seen the full entry list yet, but there’s no question that it’s going to be fiercely-contested – this is the pinnacle, after all," he adds. "Johan Kristoffersson is back in the game, we saw how quick Niclas Grönholm and Robin Larsson were at Höljes in RallyX Nordic earlier this month and then, of course, you’ve got the likes of the Hansen brothers and Andreas Bakkerud so it’s clearly going to be an extremely tough field – but I’m definitely up for the fight!"

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Wednesday 29 July 2020

Jani Paasonen returns for European-based races in 2020 World RX campaign.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ferratum Team. 
Former WRC driver Jani Paasonen returns to the FIA World Rallycross Championship for all European-based rounds this season with his new team. 

The former works Škoda and Mitsubishi driver has prior experience of racing in the European Rallycross Championship in a variety of Skoda's over the last 15 years and competed in five World RX events with STARD last year. 

Paasonen bought a Ford Fiesta from Austrian based team STARD, and together with his all-new Ferratum Team, they have rebuilt the Fiesta with several new technical innovations. 

"We think we have something new with our Ferratum Team Ford Fiesta which we can bring to the World Championship," said Paasonen. "The engine side is built in Finland, it has some new ideas about how the engine works."

"There are big questions about what the potential and speed is, but we hope and trust that we have a fast car. But, we will finally see what our potential is when we are in the first race and next to other cars on the same start line."

The Finn will compete in selected rounds this season, but aims high with his eyes firmly set on the finals in every race they enter this year.

"Of course the target is to go to the finals in every race this year, collect good points and finish as high as we can in the World Championship," he said. First, we go step-by-step to Holjes, Kouvola, and Riga and we will see where we are."
PHOTO CREDIT: Ferratum Team.

The Ferratum team has been hard at work preparing for the 2020 World RX campaign and plans at least one more test day before the season opener in Holjes next month. 

"We have done a number of test days and still before Sweden will do maybe one day, testing some suspension things, but we are quite happy with the car," he adds.

These test days will prove vital for Paasonen's team as they get up to speed with what is required of them for the World RX championship. "Almost all of the people in our team are new to the World Championship, only the engine data engineer has some experience. But the mechanics and some of the others have not so much experience in rallycross at the highest level. Local-level yes, but not so much at the highest level so it will be big learning for us."

Whilst Jani has high expectations for the season ahead, he is confident that the Ferratum team will remain in the sport beyond 2021 and could expand to a two-car team by next year. 

"It’s nice to come with a new team in the championship and I know, I believe we can continue into 2021 and the future," he adds."We’re planning to maybe build a second car and maybe run a two-car team next year, but we will see."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Krogstad sets sights on victory at second RallyX Nordic round.

PHOTO CREDIT: YellowSquad.
#YellowSquad's Henrik Krogstad returns for the second round of RallyX Nordic, which takes place at the Swedish circuit Arvika on August 7-9. 

Krogstad is currently in fourth place in the championship points standings, only nine points behind the championship leader.

The Norwegian claimed a second-place finish in the opening round of the season at Höljes, coming through the field to finish second in his semi-final and then doing the same again from the second row of the grid in the final. He also made it through to the final of round two, also at Höljes, finishing fourth.

"I can't wait to get racing again," Krogstad said. "Arvika is a track I've raced at before so I'm looking forward to that, and keeping the good momentum going from Höljes."

"My goal for the weekend is of course to do better than last time, and there's only one place more to get: the victory. So that's the aim for the weekend. But, of course, we have to work hard and keep the rhythm going."

Krogstad's teammate Dan Skocdopole has been forced to skip the second round of the Nordic Championship after his country imposed travel restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemics. 

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Szabó to compete at selected WorldRX rounds with GRX SET.

Krisztián Szabó will compete in selected World Rallycross events this season, driving a third Hyundai i20 for GRX SET.

The Hungarian will line-up alongside GRX Taneco's permanent drivers, Niclas Grönholm and Timur Timerzyanov, in an identical Hyundai i20 Supercar, prepared and serviced by SET Promotion.

The five-time European Champion has experience on his side. Three of the five titles he claimed was in autocross, and two in the European Rallycross Championship (2016 and 2017 in the Super1600 category). 

Szabó made his Supercar debut in 2018 with several FIA Euro RX rounds and completed a full FIA World Rallycross Championship season last year, taking his best result of the season, a fourth-place on debut in Abu Dhabi and finished 10th in the Drivers’ standings. 

For 2020 Szabó plans to compete at the season opener at Höljes next month, with the rest of his schedule yet to be announced.
"2020 has come with its own challenges and I am really happy that despite everything I can be a part of the FIA World RX grid for multiple events this year," he said. "Even more so – I will be driving one of the best and most advanced cars in the championship, supported by a very experienced and professional team."

"My main focus will be to have a consistent and competitive pace from race to race and to prove myself as a driver, who can challenge the main “players” of the sport."
Jussi Pinomäki, the team manager for GRX Taneco believes that his team can help Krisztián take the next step in the championship.
"Krisztián is a very perspective and a talented young driver who has worked hard and achieved a lot throughout his career. He has vast Super1600 class experience not only on-track, but also the humble and family-like life in the paddock, and I really see him fitting right in at our team," said SET Promotion co-founder and GRX Taneco Team Manager Jussi Pinomäki.

"We are here to help him to take his performance to the next step, and hopefully, we’ll see him fighting with the top drivers in the championship."
Written By - Junaid Samodien

Wednesday 22 July 2020

"The biggest rival is myself" - Kevin Hansen.

Claiming two titles in 2019, Kevin Hansen will most certainly have his eyes on the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship title.

Coming from a rallycross family steeped in success;  Kenneth Hansen, a 14-time European Rallycross Champion and, Susann Hansen (mother) being one of the most successful women in rallycross having claimed the 1994 European Rallycross title; Kevin has experience and knowledge on his side. 

The Swede competed in rallycross since 2014 and knows what it takes to become champion having won titles in every championship entered, apart from the big prize in World Rallycross. 

Hansen joined the World RX field in 2015 and only received a full-time drive in 2017 with Peugeot. In 2019, he finally had equal machinery to his brother Timmy Hansen, the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion. While 2019 was a challenging season for Team Hansen, Kevin brought some joy by winning the inaugural Abu Dhabi RX event following a penalty awarded to Niclas Gronholm. The same success did not go for brother, Timmy, who suffered from a DNF at this point.

And while Kevin wants more “proper wins” in the premier class. He admits that leading the championship in the early stages of the 2019 season was very hard and as the season progressed he believes that Silverstone was a turning point in his championship fight having spun on the joker lap. 

The condensed 2020 season will leave no margin for error. And, while the risks are high. Kevin admits there are a few key factors that he can improve upon for the upcoming season. 

“I’ve picked up some key factors to improve in my driving, that will unlock some extra tenths that could be crucial in the long run,” he said. “Also the key to becoming world champion is all within me, and continuing to work very closely together with Timmy will again make the lives for the other competitors even harder!” 

Whilst the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship is yet to get underway due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, motorsport drivers require strict training, dietary allowances, etc. to keep them in tip-top shape. Hansen is keeping himself mentally and physically prepared for the season ahead by: “enjoying life, taking care of my body, and spending as much time as I can with friends. Also driving as much simulator, karting, and crosscars as I can to stay in great shape.”

Every driver is aware of what they need to find within themselves to achieve the ultimate result on a race weekend. And, in the pursuit of excellence drivers often come up against each other and rivalries form. 

We asked Kevin who he thinks will be his biggest rival in 2020. “The biggest rival is myself,” he said. “If I can concur, Kevin, then I know the rest will fall into place.”

It’s quite a task to balance racing in multiple series, as the Hansen brothers mastered in 2019 having competed in the Titans RX series and the FIA World Rallycross Championship. But in addition to this enormous balancing act, the Hansen brothers formed the “YellowSquad”, a young driver development programme. 

Kevin doesn’t see balancing the YellowSquad with his racing commitments as a challenge, because they have a well experienced former driver and team owner Eric Fären as the team’s manager. 

“I’m super stoked to enter the second year of the #YellowSquad. The ambition with the team is right where we want them to be, growing into RX2, expanding our capacity, working with great people that share the passion for RX just like we do,” he said.

“Eric Fären is the perfect team manager for the YellowSquad. We put a lot of trust into him on race weekends, which we feel very good doing. To have two mega fast drivers in Henrik Krogstad and Dan Skocdopole is making me very proud as a team principal. The work we have done during the winter with these two is just what we hoped to be doing. They will become greater versions of themselves, and they will work just like we do in Team Hansen.” 
Kevin leading older brother Timmy and Andreas Bakkerud in Cape Town.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross.

Whilst most motorsport championships are issuing provisional calendars and others canceling their entire season (ie. Titans RX). Some countries are reducing their lockdown restrictions thus allowing racing within strict rules with no fans allowed to attend. The RallyX Nordic championship is an example of just that. The series opener was held in the first week of July and has been the perfect test bench for many rallycross teams in the past. So, we asked Kevin if Team Hansen RX intend to compete in any other series or championships this year. 

“Our main focus is World RX for sure, though we are looking at more races in 2020, but at the moment it's really hard to know what will be!” he explains.

While at the end of the 2018 season Peugeot withdrew from the championship as a factory team. The Hansen family were able to secure funding to purchase two 2017-spec Peugeot’s with some 2018 updates. And, in order to remain ahead of the field Team Hansen RX require two supercars capable of giving their drivers the best possible opportunities, which means the team needs to solve or fix any issues they might have had in 2019.

Kevin admits that the team had some weaknesses on loose gravel, and in 2020 they will have small upgrades on the Peugeot 208 WRX. 

“We know our weak spots from 2019, and we believe we have touched on those problems over the winter together with our partners,” he said.

Hansen adds that the team is working continuously with Oreca on the engine for more power and starts, but admits that “we know where to improve, and that sounds easier than it is to identify something like that when the car you have was the best in 2019.”

With the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship season set to begin in August in Höljes, Sweden. Double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson returns, and biggest rival Andreas Bakkerud switches to Renault machinery. Kevin predicts that the 2020 season could be a five-way fight.

Can Team Hansen RX come out on top in 2020? We will find out in just under a month!

Written By - Junaid Samodien
Co-Editor - Franco Theron 

Kristoffersson aims to replicate Höljes comeback victory as he returns for Arvika.

PHOTO CREDIT: RallyX Nordic.
Double world champion Johan Kristoffersson will return to action when RallyX Nordic races into Arvika on 7-9 August, after confirming his participation in round three of the series’ 2020 campaign at his home circuit.
The Swede made his eagerly-anticipated rallycross return at Höljes’ ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend earlier this month – and straight out-of-the-box, he was on the leading pace.
Fastest in the first free practice session in the headlining Supercar class behind the wheel of his 2016 VW Polo Supercar, the two-time FIA World Rallycross Champion missed out on topping the timesheets in Q1 on Thursday by less than 0.040s. He went on to finish a close second in the round one final, right behind the winner and reigning RallyX Nordic title-holder Robin Larsson.
When the heavens opened on Sunday, Kristoffersson outclassed all of his rivals in Q4 as conditions deteriorated and then simply drove away from his pursuers in the semi-final, going more than six-and-a-half seconds faster than anybody else could muster. 
"It was so much fun to be competing in a rallycross event again – especially on Sunday when the rain came and gave us a sniff of victory," he said. "I love every aspect of this sport, and after a year away, it felt like coming back home."
"In many ways, Höljes was the perfect weekend with the mixed weather, and we learnt a lot. The Polo isn’t new to us, but we made a lot of changes to it over the winter so there was a whole list of things we wanted to try out and different set-ups we wanted to experiment with.
"In the wet, we were right on the pace – if not indeed setting the pace, which was really encouraging. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of driving in conditions like that. In the dry, we discovered where we need to improve to make the car even more competitive, and we’ve been working hard to do that ever since.
Almost 20 months on from his last victory in the discipline, his sensational comeback triumph at Höljes proved beyond doubt that Kristoffersson is back in business on the rallycross scene – and now he is aiming to keep that success story going at Arvika.

"Arvika is my local track – literally just 5km from my front door – and it’s one of the first I ever drove in rallycross, back in 2013," Kristoffersson said. "We’ve tested there a few times recently, and it’s great news that RallyX Nordic is returning after a year away."
"As a circuit, Arvika always generates close racing, and the joker lap coming right at the end of the lap can make for interesting finishes, so I’m sure it will be exciting. Hopefully, we can pick up from where we left off at Höljes..."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Arvika returns to RallyX Nordic schedule as next round of 2020 season.

The revised 2020 RallyX Nordic calendar has been confirmed, featuring upcoming events at Arvika in Sweden and Nysum in Denmark.
RallyX Nordic kick-started the international rallycross season at Höljes earlier this month, with the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend attracting the likes of two-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, defending World RX champion Timmy Hansen, fellow World RX race-winner Niclas Grönholm, reigning Euro RX Champion Robin Larsson and five-time FIA World Rally Championship runner-up Thierry Neuville.

After the original RallyX Nordic schedule was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, alternative dates and venues needed to be sourced, which has resulted in a welcome return to the fray for Arvika.
The Värmland County circuit last hosted the series in 2018 and has always generated spectacular racing. It will rejoin the calendar for a single-header event next month – a weekend that will also comprise the Swedish Championship (SM) final across all classes – before competitors head across the border to Nysum four weeks later for an eagerly-anticipated Danish double-header.
“We are delighted to be able to officially confirm the upcoming RallyX Nordic events,” said Jan-Erik Steen, CEO of RX Promotion. 

“Arvika has long been a RallyX Nordic favorite, and it is great to be going back there again after a year away. With a willingness on both sides to make something happen, it did not take long to reach an agreement. Similarly, we are grateful to the organizers at Nysum for working so closely with us to fix an alternative date after government restrictions made the original one impossible.
“NEP set a new standard for live rallycross broadcasts at Höljes, and we look forward to seeing what they have in store for fans at Arvika and Nysum. In times like these, you need to think ‘outside-of-the-box’ and do things differently. That is what we did with the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend, and we look forward to building upon that momentum over the coming weeks and months. There is plenty more exciting news still to come – so watch this space!”
Revised 2020 RallyX Nordic Calendar
July 02-05         Rounds 1/2        Höljes, Sweden
August 07-09         Round 3                Arvika, Sweden
September 04-06 Rounds 4/5        Nysum, Denmark

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Timmy Hansen crowned Champion, while Van Gisbergen wins series finale.

PHOTO CREDIT: Hansen Motorsport.
Reigning World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen claimed the inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship's Esports Series title in the final round at the Killarney International Raceway in South Africa, as Shane Van Gisbergen took his second series win.

Hansen entered the final round leading the championship by six points ahead of Tom Blomqvist, but it was Blomqvist who topped the intermediate rankings ahead of Timmy heading into the semi-finals. 

The World RX Esports title decider came down to the final, a very familiar affair for Hansen who battled Andreas Bakkerud in the final to win the 2019 World RX Championship. Both Hansen and Blomqvist won their respective semi-finals to claim the best starting positions on the grid for the final. 

Having missed the Holjes round of the World RX Esports series, due to real-life motorsport commitments last month, Van Gisbergen made the best start in the final to take the lead, while Timmy battled for position and shut the door on Blomqvist on the run to turn one. 

Van Gisbergen proved his class by dominating the final to take his second win and finish third in the Esports Series, while South African GT racer David Perel claimed second place ahead of Tom Blomqvist, Timmy Hansen, and round three winner Jonathan Pailler.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Timmy Hansen who had quite a few moments in the dirt hairpin where he and Andreas Bakkerud came together in 2019, but he came out on top and clinched the World RX Esports Series title. 

“This feels great. The World RX Esports series has been a great way to have some racing in the off-season and the result at the end was fantastic for me. We had some great rallycross races in the Esports series when I’ve been looking back at it, it’s properly exciting and this time again it fell my way. Shane was the star of the series by being so super-fast, but this feels amazing,” said Hansen.

I practised a lot and went into this championship in the same way as I would have done anything else. I never felt I was the quickest out there; I was always missing a couple of tenths, but I was often able to have good launches and put in the laps when I needed to. I think that was the key to becoming champion."

It's been a great seven months for Hansen, who claimed the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship in November last year, and the virtual Race of Champions title last month. 

Although we haven’t started racing properly yet in 2020 I already have two championships under my belt, this one, and Race of Champions Virtual," he said. "This year has already been good to me in terms of results, so I’m going into the season now with nothing to lose. I’m going to jump into it and do the best that I can, and enjoy being back on a real race track.”

Kevin Hansen also started the last race of the Esports season with a chance of the title, but a disconnect before Q1 then had battles in every session, and being pushed into a spin in his semi-final meant he did not make the final. 

"We had some bad luck in two of the races and maybe lacked a tenth of a second when it comes to pace," Kevin Hansen said. "Maybe I didn’t put enough practice hours in!"

Also just missing out on the last final was Sivert Svardal, P3 in semi-final one, and Marius Bermingrud, who was P4 in semi-final two. Orhan Avcioglu returned to the World RX Esports series and made the semi-finals, along with another newcomer from South African, Jordan Pepper.

The World RX Esports Series ran alongside a Sim category, and the title went to the 2020 DiRT World Series Rallycross Champion Killian Dall'olmo who won his third final in the four-round series. Tommi Hallman and Jonne Ollikainen completed the podium, whilst Quentin Dall'olmo, the winner of round one at Yas Marina circuit, dropped out of contention for the Sim title when he failed to make the final following a five-second time penalty in the semi-finals. 

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Friday 10 July 2020

Three-Way Fight For Glory in World RX Esports Finale.

PHOTO CREDIT: Hansen Motorsport.
The first-ever World RX Esports series champion will be crowned this weekend as the series finale comes to a close, with three drivers in the hunt for the title.

Reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen is top of the standings thanks to consistency throughout the Esports season so far, but he is yet to win a race in the series.

Six points behind Hansen in the standings is Tom Blomqvist, the winner of round two at Hell in Norway. Third, in the standings is Kevin Hansen six points behind Blomqvist and could mount a title challenge with a strong performance this weekend.

Shane van Gisbergen will return to action after missing a round due to clashes with the Austrian V8 Supercars Championship. The New Zealander dominated round one at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and then finished second to Blomqvist in Norway. But, despite missing a round he remained fourth in the standings. 

The winner from round three Jonathan Pailler also returns. Pailler caused an upset at Holjes with victory on his World RX Esports debut. Henrik Krogstad is another driver, like Timmy Hansen, who has been in recent real-life competition and has been a strong performer in the World RX Esports series so far. He will also be in the podium hunt.

World Rally Championship round-winner Hayden Paddon will return to make his third start, while Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy racer Simon Evans will make his World RX Esports debut appearance.

Like Van Gisbergen, Australian Supercars driver Scott Pye missed round three but is back for the series finale, together with former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Mika Salo. Oliver Bennett will make his Esports return as one of two BMW Minis on the grid, together with anther British driver, Max Coates. 

Blancpain GT star David Perel and GT racer, Jordan Pepper, both driving Peugeot 208s will fly the South African flag in the series finale on the Killarney circuit.  

Included in the line-up is Orhan Avcioglu, Tessa Whittock, Matvey Furahzkin, Sivert Svardal, Fail Race, and Marius Bermingrud who complete the 20-driver Pro line-up.

Meanwhile, in the Sim category Killian Dall’olmo, the DiRT 2.0 Rallycross World Champion, leads the standings in the Sim category by a single point over older brother Quentin Dall’olmo entering the final round decider. Lukas Mateja will be a victory contender in the season finale and is third in the points.

The event will be comprised of 22 races and form a two-and-a-half-hour show starting at 13:30 UK / 15:30 CAT on 12 July and available on World RX Facebook and YouTube, as well as on  SuperSport.

1. Timmy Hansen (SWE) 73
2. Tom Blomqvist (GBR) 67
3. Kevin Hanssen (SWE) 61
4. Shane van Gisbergen (NZL) 55
5. Henrik Krogstad (NOR) 52
1. Killian Dall’olmo (FRA) 37
2. Quentin Dall’olmo (FRA) 36
3. Lukas Mateja (CZE) 25
4. John Harris (GBR) 23
5. Daniel Johansson (SWE) 11

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Larsson happy with RallyX Nordic results.

Robin Larsson leading the pack.
Reigning RallyX Nordic Champion Robin Larsson claimed a win and second-place finish at the 'All-Star' Magic Weekend in Höljes this past weekend.

Larsson renowned for his trademark 'just-gotta-send-it’ style powered to victory by 0.662 over Johan Kristoffersson in the first Supercar round at the RallyX Nordic Magic Weekend. 

But it was not all smooth sailing for the Swede, Niclas Grönholm won every qualifying session including his semi-final, but it all came undone in the final where Robin was able to get off the line better than his rival to take the lead into the first corner. 

The Swede went on to win the first round of the RallyX Nordic 'All-Star' Magic Weekend ahead of Kristoffersson and Grönholm.

"For the first time in the new car, I got into it quickly and we increased the pace over the weekend. Starting with a win in the first round was a nice result for me and the whole team," he said. 

Whilst Sunday provided to be a bit of a challenge for many in the field. Robin still managed to claim second-place after being beaten to turn one by Johan Krisoffersson who won the final by 4.677 seconds in wet conditions. 

"In the final on Sunday, it was raining hard and we knew the start would be critical. It was a shame that we lost out there to [Johan] Kristoffersson because apart from that we had the same lap times. At the same time, [Niclas] Gronholm made a mistake in his semi-final, so it shows how small the margins are. It was a tough weekend, so a second-place feels good anyway," Larsson adds.

For JC Raceteknik, the event proved to be a successful start to the season. Larsson who will be driving for KYB Team JC in the FIA World Rallycross Championship in the latest-specification Audi S1 Supercar began the weekend with victory in round one on Thursday. He also had the pace in mixed conditions in round two on Saturday and Sunday.

"We came here as a warm-up for the World Championship and now I know that we are okay in the rain too when we get going," he said. "Joel and the team have made the car work like clockwork. Our pace was good against the other World RX drivers, Niclas who was really sharp last year is a good measure. Now we just need to make some small adjustments and get better starts."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

YellowSquad pleased with Supercar Lites debut.

Henrik Krogstad leading the field.
YellowSquad claimed their first Supercar Lites race win in the second round of the four-day RallyX Nordic Magic Weekend double-header, with Henrik Krogstad topping the timesheets in Qualifying 4 and also winning his semi-final.

Krogstad was a contender for victory all weekend, after scoring the team's first podium three days earlier in the first round of the championship.

As the rain arrived on Sunday, Henrik's pace took a turn for the better, when he dominated Q4 in wet and muddy conditions to top the session. Despite being beaten to turn one, he pulled off a brilliant switchback move on the exit of the velodrome hairpin, powering past Linus Östlund on lap two and then passing Jesse Kallio as the Finn took his joker lap.

He followed that up with another strong performance in the semi-final, comfortably winning the race to secure a front-row grid slot of the final. Unfortunately, a lack of grip off the line meant that Krogstad dropped to third by turn two, and the first-lap joker deployed by Mats Oskarsson turned out to be the optimal race strategy, leaving Krogstad fourth.

"I really thought we had this one. I made a very small mistake on the grid, running the revs a little bit too low at the start and that small error made a big difference to the outcome of the race. Getting to the first turn in third instead of first meant my hope of victory was pretty much over," he said. "This was my first race weekend in a Lites car after almost a year and a half, and getting starts right in the rain is not easy; it’s not something you do that often."

"It’s a good sign that I was fastest in Q4 and my semi-final. It’s just a question of time before everything clicks and I get that win. Everything else within the team is working great; it’s just the small details and increasing my experience even more that will make the difference.

"What Q4 and the semi-final did show is how much more consistent my pace was. Working with #YellowSquad is helping with that aspect of my driving a lot, especially with learning how to analyze my data in detail, understanding what I’m doing wrong, and then working to improve those areas. I feel like the team has gelled very well this week, both in terms of working together and also having fun while doing so!"

Whilst teammate Dan Skocdopole worked hard for his place in the round two semi-finals, as his car engaging safe mode in Q2 cost him time and precious intermediate points. Despite lacking experience in the wet, he fought back to score the points he needed, qualifying for the semis in 10th place.

But the rain continuing to fall meant that he had to focus on putting in five clean laps, so as Krogstad used his past experience in Supercar Lites from 2018 to great effect, Skocdopole ensured that he made the most of the experience with a mistake-free run. Fourth place in the semi-final was still a strong result on his debut Lites weekend but not quite enough to join Krogstad in the final.

"I'm pretty happy about how it went. We had natural speed all weekend; the only issue is I struggled to put it all together and get the result a few times," Skocdopole said. "Reaching the semi-final in both rounds and the final in the first round is a good debut result; if we keep going like this, good results will come in the future. Thank you to the team for all their efforts during this very long weekend!"

Kevin Hansen, the YellowSquad Team Principal is happy with his drivers and how the team performed on debut at the RallyX Nordic 'All-Star' Magic Weekend. 

“There were promising results for both drivers: Henrik has made a fantastic comeback after his one-year sabbatical, stepping up massively to be fast ever since the first qualifying session on Thursday. His driving today was fantastic: so stable, consistent and mature. To score a podium with Henrik was definitely the best part about this weekend, along with having a real shot to win today's race," Hansen said.

“Dan has also developed so much during this weekend alone, getting to know the car better and better and becoming more comfortable with the team; we're all learning how to work best together. His approach has been really mature. There have been some rookie rallycross mistakes from lacking a bit of experience, which is to be expected because he's a rookie! But we're working on those points very hard before the next race and I'm sure he's hungry for more. He'll know the car is fast given the times Henrik was achieving this weekend."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Monday 6 July 2020

A weekend of ups and downs for Grönholm-duo at Rally X Nordic

It was a weekend of ups and downs for father-son duo at the Rally X Nordic ‘All Star’ Magic Weekend.
The 'All-Star' Magic Weekend kicked-off on Wednesday afternoon with a free practice session and a full first round on Thursday. Niclas Grönholm was on the pace straight from the first start and won all three of the Qualifying rounds and his Semi-Final, but a small mistake at the start of the Final cost him a perfect race score, and he would eventually finish in third.
Round two started on a similar note for Niclas who topped the timesheet in free practice and the first two Qualifying runs. Rain arrived for Q3 which was a disadvantage as he would start on a semi-wet track and lost time to those who had raced in dry condition. Another top 3 finish in Q4 saw him retain the lead in the Intermediate classification. 

The Finn had a bad start in the Semi-Final which saw him stall the Hyundai i20 RX, but he eventually fought back to fourth-place, but it was not enough to secure a place in the final.
"It was an up-and-down week for us here at Höljes. For sure it would have been nice to win or at least to fight for the win, but it was not to be," he said.

Despite not achieving the desired results in Holjes, GRX Taneco's main aim was to gather as much information on the updated Hyundai i20 RX Supercar. 

"Our main goal here was to get as much mileage in our updated car as possible and to learn how the new updates work in this challenging track and in various weather conditions," Niclas  said. "From this aspect we had a quite good race and we have a lot of positive to take with us from this to be better prepared for the FIA World RX opening round here."
Niclas' shared a car with his father who took part in the Legends Race. Marcus Grönholm (his father) topped the leaderboard of the flying lap shootout race as well as first Qualifying race. In Sunday’s Final, he went on to take a commanding lead straight from the start and finished ahead of his rivals.
"It was nice to have a fun race with some old friends and check out our new car," Marcus Grönholm said.

"But this race wasn’t about me - at the end, it was more about working on the car and helping Niclas and the team to be ready for our main goal at World RX."
Jussi Pinomäki, GRX Taneco Team Manager adds that the team were able to answer many questions over the course of the weekend, which they will use to improve the Hyundai i20 RX ahead of the FIA World Rallycross Championship season opener in August. 

"It was a very valuable race week for us, as we had a lot of unknows regarding our potential performance," Pinomäki said. "We were able to answer many of the questions on our list, but we will still have a big homework to do when we get back to the base."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Wet-weather masterclass sees Kristoffersson win RallyX Nordic round two.

Johan Kristoffersson leading Oliver Solberg.
Johan Kristoffersson reminded everybody just why he is a two-time World RX Champion with a wet-weather masterclass at the RallyX Nordic 'All-Star' Magic Weekend in Höljes, Sweden.

The Swede had been there or thereabouts throughout Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, but never quite on the pace in his rebuilt 2016 Volkswagen Polo. But when the heavens opened on Sunday, that all changed.

Kristoffersson outclassed all of his rivals in Q4 as conditions deteriorated, before simply driving away from his rivals in the semi-final, going almost ten seconds faster than anybody else could manage. That earned him a front-row spot for the final, and after nailing the start to out-drag pole-sitter Larsson to Turn One, he was untouchable.
Round one winner and reigning RallyX Nordic Champion Robin Larsson added the runner-up trophy to his round 1 victory, with former title-holder Oliver Solberg reaching the rostrum on his series return.

"It’s very nice to be back! When the sniff of a win was there, I felt I could be really threatening on pure pace. It was great to get back into a super-competitive mode, analyzing everything and trying different lines in the rain when I had a gap behind me," Kristoffersson said.
"My start in the final was very good – all three wet starts were very good, in fact. The Polo is easy to launch in the wet, controlling it with the clutch and throttle. I made sure to spray the cars behind me so they couldn’t see anything – that was planned! From there on, I tried to push a little harder on the first lap while making no mistakes, and then just focussed on banging the laps in with a safe margin."
"I haven’t driven this car much before, so it was nice to see how it handles and it worked very well, with no problems whatsoever. I’m very happy."

Kristoffersson will return to World RX this year with Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS.

Written By - Junaid Samodien