Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Formu1a.uno - Ferrari Power Unit: In Maranello, we are also very happy with reliability.

PHOTO CREDIT: Scuderia Ferrari
When track conditions changed radically with 4 laps to go, the hardest thing for a driver is to make the right decision in a perspective that is neither short nor long. It seems evident that in the case of Sochi, between lap 48 and lap 49 the watershed - it is appropriate to say - was formed between making the shot or losing it.

Above all, the drivers' who remained screwed were clearly Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, and Charles Leclerc. A single denominator but with rather different causes.

The Spaniard and the Ferrari driver were together with Perez on the medium tyres (C4), which gave significantly higher confidence than those who traveled on the hard (C3) like Norris or Sainz.

The softer tyres have a lower or better operating window, in wet conditions, it is easier to regain temperature if you lose it on the surface. It is clear that this is not eternal if the temperature does not rise again or worse still drops.

Raikkonen himself - who did it all right - soon realized that the hard tyres no longer worked. At that point he decides to enter to "try something different, discarding the soft and definitely wanting the intermediate"

This is also because the Alfa Romeo C41 does not have a high dose of downforce coupled with a good mechanical grip.

What could have been a sort of advantage - for those who found themselves recovering thanks to the yellow tyres - turned out to be a boomerang on balance. He may have fooled the drivers awareness by confusing more than one wall. Everyone hoped to stay on track.

Of those on the C4 (tyre), only Verstappen and Bottas gained a lot by going to the pits.

The first was somehow forced by the low downforce adopted that was making him work harder than others anyway. For the Finn, nothing to lose and some data to offer in the Hamilton box.

Speaking of Alonso and Leclerc, both were in strong recovery until lap 49 in mixed conditions. From the driver's point of view in that circumstance, it is very difficult to decide what is best for himself in the medium term, the drivers cannot read what is beyond the stretch of track they are facing.

In essence, it is always the team that has the most information in perspective. At that juncture, it was understood that the last 4 laps would be infinite.

In a way, we can think that even the high downforce has helped some cars rather than others not to collapse immediately. Leading the most instinctive pilots to remain undecided.

Nor was Norris the clear example, his  "No!", extremely dry, was instinctive because at that moment he wanted the car to hold.

Being in the lead, instinct can tell you not to stop as long as you keep the car on the track but in this case, the clarity of the Mercedes and the experience of Hamilton have won.

A question to ask is not whether some should have gone along with the box as Hamilton and Verstappen did, because the answer in hindsight seems obvious. Rather because the pits - with people lapping 10 seconds beyond the crossover time between slicks and intermediates - were unable to talk and take the drivers by the hand or impose themselves in the right way.

Perhaps all this mass of data that is analyzed today, and F1 in which it seems you are afraid of being responsible for a decision, takes away from the authority of those who once decided bad or good. There seems to be a strange tendency for the more instinctive pilots to disobey. Sometimes with good reason. However, in the long run, it is something that can sow panic when a yes or no is really needed.

Mercedes and Red Bull are certainly the most solid in this and it has been seen. Which brings greater clarity.

Ferrari also remains a little too often in the middle. In some cases, even the driver needs to feel greater determination behind him to trust with greater serenity.

Also because not even Michael Schumacher yesterday, or Lewis Hamilton today, could have won some races at the limit if they had not had clear indications.

Basically, the trivially fundamental sensations of the driver should never tarnish or, worse, overrule the overall gaze that the team has to assert with dozens of screens in front of its technicians.

In McLaren, they will certainly talk about it (the above).

Ferrari: the power unit went beyond expectations.

Ferrari closed the weekend with a light and dark result. Carlos Sainz' podium mitigated the disappointment on the other side of the garage.

Both the Spaniard and Leclerc started very well from their respective positions at the start, closing a great first lap.

Sainz started well using the important tow of the McLaren (this time with a lot of wing) and commanded most of the first stint until he had graining on the front. The problem largely due to having forced the pace too much in the first phase - with 100 kg on board - to take space from Norris and not be in DRS range.

Probably with the update used by his companion he would have had more comfortable management, i.e. more gradual than the average compound requires compared to the harder one.

Nonetheless, on a green and cold track, the worst conditions for the front of the SF21, the fears of Paul Ricard now seem quite distant.

A fresh power unit made its debut in the Leclerc's car with the first version and technology of the 2022 hybrid. Also in terms of reliability, which was the most 'problematic' issue at the counters.

Overall, what confirmed the PU4 was the possibility of maintaining the energy for longer than the old one. In short, a question of efficiency.

According to the GPS data, the difference between the two Ferraris was on average almost 2 tenths only in sector two, the stretch with continuous extensions and braking where it is important to recharge energy. Leclerc also showed certain ease of approach on rivals with greater aerodynamic efficiency. Consumption is now also 'breathing', in favor of a more thorough use of the heat engine.

The last sector in dirty air prevented the Monegasque in the first stint from passing a train of cars much slower than him and showing us his real pace for most of the race, which in free air could have been not far from Norris.

In Maranello, the contribution given by the new unit will be analyzed but it is quite clear that, as Binotto clearly said, it will also be mounted "as soon as possible" on Sainz' Ferrari, that is, in all probability, in less than two weeks in Turkey.

Written By: Giuliano Duchessa

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Orginal Link in Italian: https://www.formu1a.uno/power-unit-ferrari-a-maranello-molto-contenti-anche-dellaffidabilita/

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Kristoffersson gets World RX title bid back on track with victory in Latvia.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Johan Kristoffersson has got his World RX title hopes back on track this weekend, as he claimed his first victory of the 2021 campaign on day two of the double-header weekend in Latvia

The three-time World Champion might have had a day to forget on Saturday afternoon, but with some overnight fine tunning his KYB EKS JC squad were able to unlock some speed, and that was seen straight from the morning warm-up. 

But come qualifying, it was Mattias Ekström who topped Q1 with Niclas Grönholm dominating Q2, Q3, with Timmy Hansen and Timo Scheider earning a place in the semi-final, as Johan led home the second semi-final ahead of Ekström and Kevin Hansen

The scene was set... Could Grönholm do the double? Or would we see a first-time winner? Well, before the final got underway, All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport's Timo Scheider entered the tyre warm-up zone, which ended with prop-shaft failure. 

Having failed to start the final, Krisztián Szabó entered the fray alongside Kevin Hansen on the third row of the grid (for the final). 

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The GRX-SET driver certainly had the pace and had great launches (starts) throughout the weekend certainly made him a favorite, but with Kristoffersson alongside on the front row, anything could possibly happen. Let the games begin!

Kristoffersson had a dream start and was a car length clear of Grönholm before turn one with Niclas coming out second best with Timmy Hansen in third followed by Szabo and Kevin Hansen fighting for position behind. 

On lap five, the Flying Finn tried an alternative strategy (took joker lap) but it was not enough, as Kristoffersson put his foot down, and with a final joker lap, he went on to claim his 25th career victory and his fourth on the Biķernieku trase (track). 

"I had a very good start. I had a steering lock up and I had to shift the gears there was a lot going on. The guys (team) really deserve this victory because as they have been working very, very hard," Kristoffersson said.

Having taken the top qualifiers spot earlier this afternoon, Niclas admitted that he did not have it within him to win in Latvia today.

"I really didn't have the best launch in the final, and then I tried to follow Johan as best as possible. I think I managed pretty well, but I just didn't have it in me to win it," Grönholm said. "In the final, it was just not quite enough. I think Johan saved his best tyres for the semi-final and final."

The 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship now moves on to the World RX of Spa-Francorchamps from October 9-10.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Grönholm fights back to win first round of Riga double-header.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Niclas Grönholm fought back to take a commanding victory at round four of the FIA World Rallycross Championship despite a first-corner collision in Latvia earlier today. 

After a challenging start to the season thus far, Grönholm's season has finally taken a turn for the better. 

The Hyundai driver lined up alongside top qualifier Johan Kristoffersson in the final. With the pressure mounting, lights went out, and on the run into the first corner of the final, Kristoffersson and Grönholm had a door-to-door battle, as the Swede hoped onto the brakes later into the first corner and with some contact, Johan was rotated and slid backward into the outside barrier.

He led from the first corner with second-row start Timo Scheider climbing to second with Krisztian Szabo and the Hansen brothers behind. However, Scheider's second place was short-lived due to an electric issue that switched off his in Seat Ibiza after landing from the big jump. 

Scheider was able to complete a second lap but later retired. 

Fourth through the first corner, Timmy Hansen opted for a first lap joker, which would later gain him track position over Krisztian Szabo and his younger brother Kevin Hansen when they took their respective joker laps. 

Hansen's younger brother, Kevin had a tight battle with Szabo at the joker merge, but with his foot pinned to the gas. He was able to gain third on track, whilst Grönholm pulled out a healthy lead to take his joker rather comfortably and claim his fourth career victory, with the Hansen brothers rounding out the podium, despite a challenging first round in Riga. 

"It was a tough start to the season with two really bad races," Niclas Grönholm said. "France was a step towards something better, and we had good pace just a bit of luck that turned. It was a tough day but in the end quite a good one."

The 25-year-old Finn admits that he was a bit nervous about the first corner collision with Johan Kristoffersson. 

"I was a bit nervous because you always look at things a bit differently. I saw it as a racing incident. We both braked late, he braked a bit later than me and our wheels touched," he said. "I have no reason to take him out on purpose. It was just something that happened. I was a bit nervous coming over the line because I knew there would be an investigation, but now I'm happy."

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Formu1a.uno - In Monza, McLaren took what Ferrari wasted in MonteCarlo.

PHOTO CREDIT: McLaren F1 Team
Like every edition, Monza is able to offer various ideas of a technical nature, as well as give emotions on the track, and for this reason, it is one of the most interesting events on the Formula One calendar.

The temple of speed has always made it possible to see cars with the most atypical aerodynamic configurations on the entire calendar, precisely because of the characteristics of the Monza circuit.

The very long straights, separated by violent braking with slow chicanes, favor single-seaters with very low, almost neutral wings, which are practically not seen in any other races in the world championship.

The 2021 edition, if we want, was even more particular than the past race, since the current season we know is a transitional and conservative one for many teams, which are already technically and economically projected to the development of the 2022 wing-cars.

Focusing on the fight for third constructors place, Ferrari and McLaren expected a different Italian Grand Prix, almost the opposite, with the English team very convinced that the technical characteristics of the circuit matched well with the MCL35M, vice versa for Ferrari.

However, both teams performed above their expectations, with McLaren delivering a masterful overall performance, not just in the race, but throughout the weekend, and Ferrari finishing in second place as a team in terms of points collected.

ITALIAN GP FOR MCLAREN

The return to success after 9 seasons (with a brace for another) was by no means accidental. It is true that the contribution came from the retirement of the two championship leaders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, but both McLaren's were always close to the top positions.

The Orange team in Monza laid the foundations for a possible podium already in qualifying for the sprint race, showing a potential top. The final victory was the culmination of a perfect weekend, in which none of the drivers or mechanics made any mistakes.

At a technical level, the MCL35M of Ricciardo and Norris was equipped with a rather light set-up, one of the most aggressive among the various teams

The car designed by James Key is known to be a single-seater with great efficiency, as is the Alfa Romeo and is home on fast circuits. The trump card McLaren played right on the set-up, further exasperating its strength, adopting an extremely unloaded rear wing.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
The mobile flap of the DRS in Monza had an extremely reduced chord, while the main profile was almost neutral. This made McLaren extremely fast on the straights, managing to be almost impregnable even for those following in the DRS zone.

In this regard, it is important to remember that the wake is all the more important when the wing of the car in front is large.

It should also be noted that the MCL35M is equipped with a Mercedes Power Unit, and the extra horsepower of the engine designed in Brixworth, first brought to the track between Silverstone and Hungary on the official car (Mercedes W12), by Spa also on customers, (McLaren, Williams, and Aston Martin) all met in Italy.

“The engine is a great engine and it helped us a lot,” an insider from McLaren told us.

The long-wheelbase also gives a certain stability in the fast corners, such as the Parabolica, where Ricciardo and Norris always managed to slightly open the gap from their pursuers.

Even on the front axle, James Key's car has adopted a very unloaded wing, with the last two flaps (the ones that allow you to adjust the incidence) substantially cut to reduce the resistance to advancement to the minimum possible.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
With the double at Monza, McLaren returned to occupy third place in the constructor's championship with eight races to go, effectively managing to maximize the result in the only seasonal chance of victory.

ITALIAN GP FOR FERRARI

If it was a great celebration at McLaren in Monza, the same cannot be said for Ferrari.

However, the Maranello team was aware of the difficulties that would arise on the Monza track, the post-weekend statements by the two drivers, as well as those of Mattia Binotto, were clear.

The team arrived in Monza with the awareness of not being able to give great joy to the "fans", but with the certainty of not repeating last year's horrible performance with the SF1000.

The SF21 is a car that compared to last season is a clear step forward.

We have often emphasized that, despite the various limitations deriving from the freezing of the macro components, the work done by the Maranello technicians was excellent.

Since the SF21 was a close relative of the SF1000, there were many limits to be corrected: power unit, front axle, and rear instability. The latter was also chosen because that macro area of ​​the car was the most limited by the 2021 regulatory changes and where Ferrari thought and hoped to make the most profits.

The Monza track, on paper, did not go very well with the SF21 due to a matter mainly related to the Power Unit: the 065/6 Evo proved to be a clear step forward compared to 2020, however it still pays 25 HP from the most powerful Mercedes power unit, 15 HP from Honda.

Some problems in terms of reliability were seen on Friday in Charles Leclerc's car, with the Monegasque having to mount the old unit (the number one unit). Monza is a very demanding track for engines, where you are full throttle for almost 80% of the lap.

The updates regarding the hybrid part are eagerly awaited on the Ferrari, ready to be implemented in Turkey, if all goes well. In fact, some hybrid components from the past season are still present on the current 065/6.

Mattia Binotto spoke of "change in technology from the hybrid side" because the red will be increased so significantly, as anticipated by Michael Schmidt AMUS,  the voltage of the electrical unit, approaching the 1000 V threshold, a value with which, Mercedes has worked with for a couple of seasons already.

In general, the higher the voltage, the higher the efficiency of the entire system. This will also reduce the size of the components.

Hence the words of Binotto regarding “hazardous materials” for which “formal approvals and certifications are needed”. Also to be simply transported.

If it weren't for the Power Unit appearance, Ferrari at Monza could have had a better performance without a doubt. It remains to be stressed that overall the weekend was anything but a disaster.

The Monza circuit has characteristics that were not so detrimental to the Italian car, beyond the long straights. Ferrari has always behaved discreetly in rear limited circuits, that is, those tracks in which it is important to have great traction, and to generate grip mainly on the rear axle.

Compared to McLaren, in terms of set-up, the Ferrari did not present a car that was too light, on the contrary, the rear aerodynamic configuration chosen by Ferrari is practically identical to that used in Belgium and Azerbaijan.

Specifically, the rear wing of Monza featured a main plane with little wing angle, but with a movable flap with decent size. The only change with respect to Spa concerned the removal of the gurney flap, to reduce part of the drag.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
An aerodynamic configuration like this allowed Ferrari to still be fast in the DRS zones. Other music obviously when it was necessary to defend oneself in the straights with the mobile flap closed.

The fact that we did not choose a set-up that was too light was to avoid penalizing too much the front axle which we know is and will remain the weak point of the SF21 at the end of the season. After the problems encountered in Belgium, a more conservative set-up was chosen to guarantee better tire management.

Due to a slightly heavier set-up, the SF21 showed excellent times in the central sector, where the two Lesmo curves are present. 

In terms of actual updates, a new front wing was used on the Ferrari.

The new wing specification features 'cut' flaps in the innermost part to balance the lower rear load while eliminating drag.

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana
If it couldn't have been more than that at Monza, the bitterness of the occasions that vanished at Silverstone and above all in Monte Carlo remains in Ferrari's mouth. Ferrari has had its own chances of victory but has never managed to achieve anything concrete, unlike Alpine and McLaren.

In the fight for third place, with eight races remaining, the battle remains close. McLaren certainly took advantage of his own chance of victory, maximizing the result with a brace.

From now until the end of the season we should no longer see big changes on the cars and the values ​​on the field will be conditioned mainly by the adaptation that the cars will have in the various circuits. It will therefore be essential from now on not to waste opportunities, being ready if Mercedes and Red Bull should make any mistakes.

Written By: Rosario Giuliana and Piergiuseppe Donadoni

Illustration Credit: Rosario Giuliana

Original Link in Italianhttps://www.formu1a.uno/a-monza-mclaren-si-e-presa-cio-che-ferrari-ha-sciupato-a-montecarlo/

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

"A quick car will be rewarded, whilst mistakes will be punished" in Riga double-header.

PHOTO CREDIT: Hansen Motorsport
The Hansen brothers' are heading to Latvia for rounds four and five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship this weekend, with the drivers' and teams' titles to defend after a trio of one-two finishes.

A strenuous schedule begins this week with the World RX of Latvia. Unlike the first three rounds of the season, this one is a double-header, with a full championship round taking place on each of the two days.

Having claimed two wins in the last two events in Sweden and France, Timmy has some good memories at the Biķernieki trase (track) has taken a victory in 2019 and a few other podium finishes.

"This is a track that I enjoy and has been good to me in the past. It’s another high-grip circuit, so taking what we learned from the last round in Lohéac into this one will be crucial," Timmy Hansen said. "As a double-header, it presents an extra challenge for myself, for the mechanics, and the whole team. That’s especially true of the mechanics, who will be pushing to keep the car in top condition from start to finish."

The 2019 World Champion is thrilled by the prospects of Mattias Ekström's one-off return with All-Inkl Munnich Motorsport this weekend. 

"It’s great to see Mattias Ekström coming back to the championship too, even if it’s only a one-off. We all know how fast he is and it’s great to have another world champion back on the grid to compete against," he said. "We saw in Spain that the car he’s driving is capable of being at the front, so I’m looking forward to competing against another of the strongest rallycross drivers out there this weekend."

His younger brother Kevin is hungry for more wins, having stood on the top step of the podium at the season opener in Spain earlier this season. The 23-year-old Swede still has the world title firmly in his sights, with only a 10-point deficit to Timmy.

"We’ve had three good weekends but with this double-header, a quick car will be rewarded even more than normal, while mistakes will be punished twice as hard. We’ll have to be on our toes as there’s one less qualifying session to make up lost ground," Kevin Hansen said.

"I think this format suits me and I’m looking forward to it. Riga is a really fun track; in terms of the circuit layout, it’s a little bit like Monaco, being a narrow track with lots of walls everywhere. But it’s also a track I want to step up at and do better at. I have some ideas on how to do improve here compared to years past and I hope my new way of working applies well to this style of track."

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

PREVIEW: Double points on offer at World RX of Riga.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross/Red Bull Content Pool
The FIA World Rallycross Championship races into Latvia this weekend – and with double points on offer, the stakes could be higher.

The opening three rounds of the season have seen some sensational action, with Hansen World RX Team leading the championship standings following victories for Timmy Hansen at Höljes and Lohéac and a curtain-raising victory for younger brother Kevin Hansen in Barcelona.

The Hansen brothers have not had things all their way, with rival Johan Kristoffersson matching them for pace at every event so far, but bad luck was the victor in every single case. The three-time World Champion had to fight back to finish third in Barcelona after being disqualified from Q1 and to rub more salt into his wounds, the Swede has failed to reach the final since, picking up a double puncture on home soil in Sweden and falling victim to transmission woes in France.

Fourth in the championship (as it stands), Kristoffersson, boasts a stellar record around the challenging Biķernieki trase (track), having won at the circuit three times since 2017. He is chasing more silverware this weekend as he aims to kick-start his fight for a fourth Drivers’ title.

"We have not had the margins on our side so far this year," Kristoffersson said. "That makes it tough in the championship table now, but we will continue to focus on the future, reload and be ready to fight in Riga."

GRX-SET's Niclas Grönholm opened his podium account last time out in France, having been convinced he had the speed to win. The flying Finn is another contender this weekend around a track where he clinched the runner-up spot two years ago.

Team-mate Krisztián Szabó is one of only four drivers in the championship to have reached the final in every event thus far, and his consistency sees him arrive in Latvia sitting third in the Drivers’ standings. 

Not only that, but he is a former winner around the Riga track, having triumphed at the circuit on his way to lifting the FIA European Rallycross Championship Super1600 in 2017.

Kevin Abbring, meanwhile, has arguably been the revelation of the campaign so far, unleashing race-winning pace in Sweden only to be foiled by traffic. With the form that both the Dutchman are showing, it is surely a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he secures his maiden World RX victory.

Timo Scheider returns... and is another driver who can certainly not be discounted, and the rapid German will be partnered at ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport by two-time DTM and 2016 World Champion Mattias Ekström.

Ekström has never finished lower than second in five previous appearances in Riga, including a trip to the top step of the podium last year. Although the Swede will be adapting to a new team and car... LET THE RACING BEHIND! 


THE TRACK:

Located on the outskirts of the Latvian capital of Riga, the Biķernieki track is the country’s only permanent circuit, with a history dating back to the 1950s, when a temporary course was first constructed within the surrounding forest.

In 2016, Biķernieki joined the FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar, with a 1,295m layout. Incorporating sections of the race circuit, a long gravel zone through the wooded infield section and three jumps – two on the standard lap and one in the Joker – it immediately became a favorite amongst both drivers and fans.

Track Length: 1.295m

2020 Winners: ROUND 5: Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS)

                         ROUND 6: Mattias Ekstrom (KYB Team JC)

Fastest lap: Johan Kristoffersson 48.099s (in semi-finals)

Asphalt/Dirt60%/40%

Joker Lap Loss: 3.3 seconds (approximately)

2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship standings (drivers):

Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 85 pts

Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 75 points

Krizstian Szabo (GRX-SET) 58 pts

Johan Kristoffersson (KYB EKS JC) 57 pts

Kevin Abbring (UNKORRUPTED) 55 pts

Niclas Gronholm (GRX-SET) 51 pts

Enzo Ide (KYB EKS JC) 37 pts

Timo Scheider (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 31 pts

Juha Rytkonen 25 pts

Rene Munnich (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 16 pts

Attila Mozer 13 pts

Peter Hedstrom 11 pts

Oliver O'Donovan 10 pts

Herve Knapick 9 pts

Tamas Karai 9 pts

Oliver Bennett (Xite Racing Team) 8 pts

Mandie August (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 4 pts

Patrick Guillerme 2 pts

Dan Oberg 1 pt

Round 4 and 5 World RX of Riga Schedule (CET Times)

SATURDAY:

PRACTICE: 09:30

Q1: 11:06

Q2: 13:06

Q3: 14:30

Semi-Finals and Final: (from) 16:00

Grid Wrap Up Show: 17:00 [RX+ only]

SUNDAY:

WARM-UP: 09:00

Q1: 10:06

Q2: 12:06

Q3: 14:06

Semi-Finals and Final: (from) 16:00

Grid Wrap Up Show: 17:00 [RX+ only]

FREE LIVESTREAM

Red Bull TV (FINALS) ROUND 5 & 6 [Satuday and Sunday] - at 15:45 UTC+2 - https://www.redbull.com/int-en/events/fia-world-rallycross-championship-latvia

Monday, 13 September 2021

World RX of Portugal brought forward by a week.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Championship. 
The penultimate event on the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar – the World RX of Portugal will move forward by one week to 16-17 October* in an attempt to maximize the spectator experience at the Circuito Internacional de Montalegre.

A staple on the World Championship calendar from 2014 to 2018, it was announced earlier in the year that Montalegre will return this season. Following consultation with all stakeholders, Rallycross Promoter GmbH has now agreed to change the date to provide the best opportunity of welcoming as many spectators on-site as possible while ensuring everybody enjoys a spectacular show.

"The close interaction between competitors and fans is one of the key factors that makes this sport so special and unique, and we as the World Championship promoter have a duty to provide our loyal and enthusiastic audience with the very best experience that we can," Arne Dirks, Executive Director, Rallycross Promoter GmbH, said.

"We successfully trialled the return of spectators to the paddock in France last weekend, marking a significant step forward on our path back to ‘normality’, and we want to ensure that every future event is able to welcome as many fans as possible on-site to reinstate the unmistakable atmosphere for which rallycross is so renowned."

"We have consulted closely with all key parties, particularly the Circuito Internacional de Montalegre, and we are all firmly in agreement that bringing World RX of Portugal forward by a week will give us the best chance of achieving this objective."

*Subject to FIA confirmation

Former World Champion Ekström to make unexpected return at Riga.

PHOTO CREDIT: ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport
Former World Champion Mattias Ekström will return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the double-header event in Latvia this weekend, joining the ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport team.

Having ruled out a return to World RX at the end of the 2020 season, Ekström admitted that Extreme E was his sole focus, but earlier today that changed as he has confirmed an unexpected return to the World Championship.

With 58 World RX starts under his name, the Swede clinched the coveted crown in 2016 and has finished as runner-up in the standings on three other occasions. 

Ekström is a 12-time event-winner, making him statistically the second-most successful competitor in World Championship history – and the most recent of those victories was achieved in Latvia last season.

After a year away from the World Championship, he is looking forward to renewing battles with his old sparring partners this weekend. 

"I’m very excited to go to Riga with ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport for several reasons," Ekström said. "Firstly, I think the car has been performing really well lately and René [Münnich] proved that with a Euro RX1 win in France."

"Secondly, I really like the Riga track, and the fact that it will be a double-header weekend means there will be a lot of track time. And most importantly, driving a World RX Supercar is the best preparation possible for the racing activities that I do. With 600 horsepower and nearly 1000Nm, these are the fastest cars to drive and to keep myself race-ready.

"I will do everything I can in Riga to get a trophy for ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport because they have been fighting for a long time and really deserve it. We have two chances this weekend to achieve this goal."

ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport has impressed this season by competing consistently at the front end of the field, with Timo Scheider vying for the podium in both Spain and France, with Rene Münnich racing to his and the team’s maiden European Championship triumph last time out at Lohéac. 

For the first time in competitive rallycross, Mattias Ekström will drive something other than an Audi S1 Supercar, as he teams up with former DTM team-mate Timo Scheider to race a Seat Ibiza Supercar. 

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

The Hansen brothers headline 11-car field for World RX of Riga double-header.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The FIA has released the official entry list for Ferratum World RX of Rīga on 18-19 September 2021. 

And guess what? The championship is only just heating up after the third round of the season at Lohéac in France last weekend, with a tantalizing title fight in prospect between Hansen brothers Timmy and Kevin and reigning champion Johan Kristoffersson, who has endured a tough start to the campaign due to penalties, punctures, and technical issues, but whose raw speed is certainly not in doubt.

Can three-time World Champion fight back in Latvia? He certainly can! 

In addition to the permanent entrants, Juha Rytkönen, Dan Öberg, and Timo Scheider will also head into battle in Latvia, while ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport has added a second car to its entry for a yet-to-be-named driver.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Technical issues cost Kristoffersson place in Lohéac final.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Despite setting the pace in round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lohéac, technical problems cost Johan Kristoffersson a place in the final, notwithstanding a herculean effort by the team's mechanics.

The three-time World Champion lead from the front setting the two fastest times in qualifying on course to secure the Top Qualifier position in the Intermediate Rankings. 

In pole position for the first semi-final, Kristoffersson led into turn one and looked set for a race win, but with one lap remaining problems with a driveshaft on the Audi S1 Quattro dropped him down to third. 

Returning to the paddock, it was then discovered that the gearbox was also damaged and needed to be replaced before the final. The mechanics worked hard to get the car ready for the final and after a heroic effort managed to change the gearbox in just 16 minutes, but unfortunately, it was not enough. The car arrived at the pre-grid one minute too late, which meant Kristoffersson was denied a start in the final.

"What a weekend. It started well, we were fast and I felt comfortable in the car. We had a good tyre strategy and in Q4 we tested some new settings to be ready for the semi-finals, which we were very happy with. We chose to start the semi with four new tyres, I had a good start, took the lead and the car felt really, really good. I managed the pace to save the tyres for the final, but on the last lap, at the end of the first corner, the driveshaft broke. I tried to survive through the last lap and managed to finish third," Kristoffersson said.

"Before the final, we needed to change the driveshaft, and because the gearbox was also damaged, the team decided to change it as well. It was very short on time, and it should really be impossible to change a gearbox in that time. But the guys did a fantastic job and managed to change it. But when we reached the starting area, we were seconds too late, and we were not allowed to start in the final.

"Of course it was a real shame. We have not had the margins on our side so far this season and even though the season is long, it is tough in the championship table now. But of course, we will only continue to focus on the future, reload and be ready to fight in Riga."

His team-mate Enzo Ide had a tough weekend, in which he didn’t find the perfect rhythm on track and faced challenges with the tyres (on the abrasive circuit). 

In the semi-finals, he appeared set to progress to the final in third, but he lost time in traffic and just missed out on a place in the final.

"My weekend was really tough. We needed to change the setup a lot to make the car fit me on this track and at first, I didn’t get it where I wanted. I made a few mistakes and it was also a tough challenge not to run out of tyres too fast But, I learned during the weekend and at the end, I was able to adapt my driving to the car and the circuit. In the semi-finals, the car was a rocket but unfortunately, it was not enough for the final," Ide said.

"So I am happy to have learned a lot this weekend with the team and will continue to work moving forwards."

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the final, Kristoffersson has moved up to fourth in the championship standings, with Enzo Ide in seventh.

UNKORRUPTED's Abbring claims fourth at inaugural outing on French soil.

PHOTO CREDIT: UNKORRUPTED
Following on from a podium finish last time out in Sweden, round 3 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented Kevin Abbring with unknown challenges at the famous Lohéac track, where the Dutchman finished fourth in his inaugural outing on French soil. 

In his inaugural race weekend in Lohéac, Abbring used Saturday’s free practice session to get a feel for the 1,070m long track before lining up against Enzo Ide, Johan Kristofferson, Timmy Hansen, and O’Donovan for race one of the first qualifier.

A fierce battle over 4 race laps, saw Abbring squeeze by Ide in the very last corner to finish the race in third.

On pole for Q2, the Dutchman won the battle through the first few corners with Scheider to come out in the lead, a position he managed to defend even when rejoining the track following the joker in lap 3. He took the chequered flag with the second-fastest time of Q2 putting him in third overnight behind Kristofferson and Gronholm.

Having set the sixth-fastest time in fourth overall in the third qualifier, Kevin started the final qualifier of the race weekend on pole. He had a good launch, racing to the chequered flag and claiming the fourth-fastest time of the qualifying session.

In the semi-final, Abbring was fourth off the line and jokered on lap 2 finishing the race in 4th-place, missing out on third by one-tenth of a second. 

As a substitute for the final, Kevin Abbring was allowed to enter the final in sixth after Kristoffersson failed to make the pre-grid in third. Launching off the line, he jokered straight away and worked his way up, overtaking Szabo and Scheider in the process finishing in fourth-place. 

"It’s been an important race weekend of learning for us - it was the first time on this track for me, so I had to adjust and quickly get a feel for the car on this awesome French circuit," Abbring said. 

"We changed setups a few times on Saturday morning and were able to optimise performance alongside my growing knowledge of the flow of the track. We had great pace yesterday after getting the feel for the track after Q1.

"We just didn’t have the pace for a podium finish, and it's something we have to review as a team. It was great to be driving in front of so many spectators, a fantastic track and atmosphere and I'm ready to push for the podium at the next event in Latvia."

The Hansen brothers race to third consecutive one-two finish at Lohéac.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Timmy and Kevin Hansen delivered another commanding one-two finish at the Bretagne World RX of Lohéac, as the ‘Lion’ roared on home soil, and Johan Kristoffersson was once again out of luck.

After a strong start to the season with one-two finishes in Spain and Sweden – with Kevin and Timmy winning one event each – the team kept its unprecedented winning streak going in France with another formation finish at the third round of the World RX season.

Timmy Hansen entered the weekend holding a six-point advantage at the summit of the championship standings – produced a perfect start and a scintillating turn-of-speed in Q4 to top the timesheets and launch himself onto the front row of the starting grid for the first semi-final alongside rival Kristoffersson.

Two fastest times out of four secured Kristoffersson the Top Qualifier honors, but driveshaft failure while leading the semi-final spelled disaster for the three-time world champion, allowing Hansen and Timo Scheider to sneak past on the final lap.

The KYB EKS JC driver narrowly fended off Kevin Abbring for third place but was then unable to take up his spot in the final as his gearbox was also found to be damaged. Despite a herculean effort by his team to replace it, he, unfortunately, did not make it to the grid within the specified time limit (missed by one minute).

That set up a Hansen front-row lockout after Kevin beat Niclas Grönholm at the start of the second semi-final to assume a lead. 

From there the brothers worked together to maximize the team’s result, running side-by-side through the first two turns at the start of the final before Kevin pulled in behind at the turn three hairpin. The brothers then sped away from their pursuers to extend their winning run, with Kevin shadowing Timmy right the way to the chequered flag for a third consecutive one-two.

"What an amazing season we are having! I think this is a time in my career and our lives that we will always remember, with one-two finishes for the team in each of the first three events – it’s just magic," Timmy Hansen said.

"I must say I was lucky in many ways to get the win – it was a shame that Johan [Kristoffersson] had his technical issue – but that’s the way it goes sometimes and today it went my way. Rallycross is about much more than just being quick, and there have been many races in my career where I have had the speed but not come away with the result."

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The second win of the season means, Timmy has extended his championship lead over younger brother Kevin to 10 points, who in turn has a 17-point advantage over nearest challenger Krisztián Szabó in third.

The 2019 World Champion credits the Hansen World RX Team for keeping their winning streak alive.

"Even though I am the guy in the driver’s seat, I have to give credit for this victory to my team. The effort, the energy, the knowledge from our mechanics and engineers made all the difference today. The car wasn’t there in the first few qualifying sessions, not only in terms of raw pace but also the feeling it was giving me. A new set of Öhlins dampers and set-up changes before Q4 made the 208 come alive and made a huge difference," Hansen said.

"At this stage of the season we need to get as many points on the board as possible for the team – the Hyundais found more pace this weekend and Johan was as fast as ever, so when opportunities appear for us to take maximum scores, we have to take them. It's a shame Johan had an issue but this is the game."

Round one winner, Kevin Hansen acknowledges that a 1-2 finish is another great result for the team, but he wasn't able to show his pace throughout qualifying despite having a few chances of winning. 

"This is another great result and it shows what my real pace was throughout the weekend. I feel I was a bit unlucky in not being able to show my pace throughout qualifying as I felt fast and the car was great – but we kept working hard and we got the front by the end," Kevin said

"I’d like to go out and win the final but we had an equal chance to be the leader – pole position goes to the winner of the faster semi-final, and this time around that was Timmy. If it had been the other way around then he would be supporting me. It’s our job to get the team the best result possible and we can only achieve that by working together. And in fairness, I had to be on my maximum pace to keep up with Timmy in the final! Maybe there was a chance or two for me to dive down the inside but ensuring the one-two result is more important.

Now, we need to continue working hard to extract more pace, and our car should suit Riga well, so I’m really excited to go there next and try to win."

Behind the Hansen pairing, Q1 pace-setter Grönholm overcame his slow semi-final start to achieve his first podium of the season and a strong points haul following a difficult season-to-date – with Abbring going well again for fourth, despite having to contend with a slipping clutch that hampered his hopes of a rostrum result on UNKORRUPTED’s home turf.

"I’m a bit disappointed, because we had the opportunity to win today. I felt we were up there with the top guys at last, after a difficult first couple of rounds where our pace has been quite up-and-down," Grönholm said. 

"I really thought we could go all the way, but unfortunately the stall at the start of the semi-final ruined the weekend because you really need a good grid position in the final if you want to win. I did what I could and tried to fight back, and I guess third place from the last row is ok, but I’m here to win. We have the pace in the car – we just need a little bit of luck, and then the results will come."

His GRX-SET team-mate Krisztián Szabó maintained his record of progressing through to the final at every event so far in 2021 securing a fifth-place finish, with Scheider completing the top six.

2021 FIA World RX Championship standings after round 3 (drivers):

Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 85 pts

Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 75 points

Krizstian Szabo (GRX-SET) 58 pts

Johan Kristoffersson (KYB EKS JC) 57 pts

Kevin Abbring (UNKORRUPTED) 55 pts

Niclas Gronholm (GRX-SET) 51 pts

Enzo Ide (KYB EKS JC) 37 pts

Timo Scheider (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 31 pts

Juha Rytkonen 25 pts

Rene Munnich (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 16 pts

[TOP 10 only]

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

PREVIEW - Rivals ready to launch fight back in France after consecutive Hansen wins.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Following a two-year absence, the FIA World Rallycross Championship returns to one of the most iconic venues for the World RX of Lohéac this weekend – with thrilling door-to-door duels in prospect.

The opening two rounds of the season have each resulted in a Hansen World RX Team one-two – with Kevin Hansen triumphing in the Catalunya curtain-raiser, and older brother Timmy returning the favour on home soil at Höljes just over a week ago.

That means the 2019 World Champion arrives at Lohéac with a six-point championship lead over his younger sibling. 

Timmy Hansen has already won the event twice, while Kevin has reached the podium there two years ago, and both are firmly focussed on maintaining their current momentum.

Their closest rival on pace so far this season has been Johan Kristoffersson, but the Swede was out of luck in Spain and Sweden, being disqualified from Q1 (in Spain) after his data-logger was found not to have been connected and falling victim to a double puncture in the semi-finals in Höljes.

This means he is playing catch-up with KYB EKS JC, but the three-time World Champion went unbeaten at Lohéac from 2016 to 2018, so if anybody can overturn the deficit this weekend, it is him.

Another driver that truly took the fight to the Hansen brothers last time out in Sweden is Kevin Abbring, who unleashed race-winning pace. Only traffic prevented the Dutchman from launching a bid for victory, leaving him fired up to fulfill his potential on his team’s home turf.

Niclas Grönholm and Krisztián Szabó (GRX-SET) have encountered contrasting fortunes over the first two rounds. The Finn has been fast but has rarely had luck on his side, while his Hungarian team-mate bagged back-to-back fourth-place finishes to get his season off to a solid start.

Timo Scheider returns with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and will be looking to convert the strong form he displayed in Barcelona last month into a good result in France.

Enzo Ide, in the second KYB EKS JC Audi S1 Quattro looks to make more progress this time out, whilst there are two new entrants. Ollie O’Donovan (2007 British Rallycross Champion) in a Ford Fiesta and Hervé Knapick in his Citroën DS3.


THE TRACK:

Along with the previous round at Höljes, Lohéac is widely considered one of the two ‘crown jewel’ events of World Rallycross. Unlike Höljes though, it’s less technical and less undulating.

That doesn’t mean the 1.07-kilometer track lacks a punch – rather the track is not forgiving for those who stray even slightly off-line or brake a little too late. And if it rains, all bets are off – the second half of the lap will become highly unpredictable.

Track Length: 1.070km

2020 Winners: Timmy Hansen (Team Hansen MJP)

Fastest lap: Timmy Hansen 35.843s

Asphalt/Dirt33%/67%

Joker Lap Loss: 1.3 seconds (approximately)

2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship standings (drivers):

Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 57 pts

Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 51 points

Krizstian Szabo (GRX-SET) 40 pts

Kevin Abbring (UNKORRUPTED) 37 pts

Johan Kristoffersson (KYB EKS JC) 37 pts

Niclas Gronholm (GRX-SET) 28 pts

Enzo Ide (KYB EKS JC) 25 pts

Juha Rytkonen 25 pts

Rene Munnich (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 16 pts

Timo Scheider (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 15 pts

Attila Mozer 13 pts

Peter Hedstrom 11pts

Tamas Karai 9 pts

Oliver Bennett (Xite Racing Team) 8 pts

Mandie August (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 4 pts

Patrick Guillerme 2 pts

Dan Oberg 1 pt

Round 3 World RX of France Schedule (CET Times)

SATURDAY:

PRACTICE: 09:00

Q1: 14:00

Q2: 17:00

SUNDAY:

WARM-UP: 08:30

Q3: 10:30

Q4: 14:30

Semi-Finals and Final: (from) 17:00 

Grid Wrap Up Show: 18:00 [RX+ only]

FREE LIVESTREAM

Red Bull TV (FINALS) at 17:00 (subject to change) - https://www.redbull.com/int-en/events/fia-world-rallycross-championship-france

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The Hansens aim to keep winning streak alive.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The Hansen World RX Team looks to continue their winning streak, as the World Championship rolls into northern France this weekend. 

A near-perfect start to the season has seen the Swedish squad become the first team ever to take two consecutive one-two finishes in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. 

Championship leader Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen have one win apiece, while the team is already 40 points ahead of its nearest rival in the teams’ standings.

But there’s no time for the team or its drivers to rest on its laurels – less than two weeks since the last round in Sweden, they’re back at the team’s second-home in Lohéac to try and keep the winning streak alive.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Just six points behind older brother Timmy, Kevin Hansen has one goal in mind this weekend, and it's to reclaim the championship. 

"My goal this weekend is clear – I want to get the lead of the championship back. I feel like the circuit suits me and suits the car but as we saw in Sweden, the grid draw makes such a huge difference. It's the main reason I am not tied on points with Timmy right now. And annoyingly this is the one thing I can’t control," Kevin Hansen said. "So I will cross my fingers, my toes, my arms, my eyes if I have to, everything – my grid positions in qualifying last time were terrible and I don’t want to go through that again!

"It’s best to focus on the positives though and we have lots of those. Our speed at Höljes shows that our car seems to be competitive everywhere on all surfaces. And my confidence is really high – not only from the feeling the 208 has given me so far this year".

The Hansen's have exclusively used French cars at the top level of rallycross – both in World RX and Euro RX before it – since the 1993 season. The team’s 17 World RX victories and three world titles have all been achieved with a Peugeot 208 WRX.

Timmy Hansen currently holds the lap record around Lohéac, having set a 35.843s (laptime) on World RX’s last visit to France in 2019. 

"This is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar – maybe it helps that our car has always performed well here but it’s a nice circuit regardless. It’s really old-school but also quite a fast track – there are not many technical corners on the lap aside from a final couple of turns, where lacking precision with your inputs costs a lot of lap time," Timmy Hansen said.

The 2019 World Champion admits that the real difference this year is reliability and consistency. 

"It is easy to focus on how fast each team and driver is but what has really made a difference so far this year is reliability and consistency. It’s important we don’t lose sight of that," he said. "Getting to the finish line is not always a guarantee but everyone in the team has done a superb job of making sure we’ve finished every race without problems so far this season. I believe that will end up being a key factor when we get to the end of the season.

"I am the reigning winner here so of course, the target has to be to go out and do the same thing again. Let’s wait and see what happens but I’m optimistic that I will be competitive this weekend."

Monday, 30 August 2021

Bakkerud to make EuroRX return at Lohéac.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Championship
Fresh off the back of a third-place finish in the FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser at Höljes just over a week ago, Andreas Bakkerud returns with ESMotorsport at the Bretagne World RX of Lohéac this weekend. 

The Norwegian is eager to build on the momentum from round one, this weekend at Lohéac – a scene of two prior podium finishes at World Championship level and Euro RX victories in 2012 and 2013.

Bakkerud will replace Aleš Fučík at the ESMotorsport for the French round. 

"I’m stoked to be back in Euro RX1 again for Lohéac!" Bakkerud said. "It was awesome to return to racing at Höljes. I don’t like things being so last-minute like that, but I would always rather be a last-minute entry than staying at home on my sofa watching on the TV – that was a horrible feeling during the Barcelona weekend."

"I’m so thankful to ESMotorsport and all of my partners for making that happen – and now for Lohéac and Riga too. And in any case, my sofa is sold now so I guess I can’t stay home anymore...

"We took some big steps forward before the final in Sweden, and I think that showed with third place and fastest lap, which is really encouraging going forward – and we certainly need to be absolutely on top of our game, because the level in Euro RX1 this year is extremely high," he adds.

"I’ve raced against Thomas Bryntesson since back in our karting days, and he is one of the best drivers I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, he’s never had the budget to compete in the World Championship, but he’s definitely got the pace to do so. The same can be said for the Dubourgs – the effort DA Racing puts in and the professionalism of that team is really impressive. Then there are the Pailler brothers – every time I jump into esports to do some laps, they’re always there getting some extra practice in!"

The 2019 Vice-Champion has also confirmed his interest in participating in the World Championship with ESMotorsport in Portugal later this year. 

"From my experience of working with them so far, ESMotorsport is similarly a top team and one with great potential for the future," he said. "With that in mind, I’m keen to test the Škoda against the World Championship guys at some stage this season as well – maybe Portugal could be a possibility – but first, let’s focus on Lohéac."

ESMotorsport Team Manager Robertas Maneikis is delighted to have extended the relationship with Andreas Bakkerud after achieving the teams' first podium in Euro RX1. 

"The whole team has been lifted by Andreas’ result, but we are well aware that it will not be easy moving forward and we still keep finding small details on the car to improve its pace," Maneikis said. "We hope that we can complete the whole Euro RX1 season with Andreas to find even more synergy with the team for a bigger future next year."