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."

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Arpin joins forces with GRX for Nitro RX campaign.

Grönholm RX has announced its intent to field a Hyundai i20 in this year's Nitro Rallycross Championship, forming from a new partnership with Steve Arpin and Loenbro Motorsports.  

Arpin has enjoyed a lengthy career in motorsport, switching from Dirt Racing to NASCAR before making the transition to rallycross in 2013. In his first two years in rallycross, the Canadian drove an OMSE Fiesta ST before switching to Chip Ganassi Racing in the same machinery. 

Loenbro Motorsports then ran the Ford Fiesta ST for Arpin before a move to the factory-developed Focus R.S. RX in 2018, but the performance wasn't there, which meant the team switched back to the Fiesta for the 2019 season in Nitro RX. 

A change of scenery will see Loenbro Motorsport and GRX combine assets for the joint venture, GRX Loenbro.  

Grönholm RX has operated their Hyundai i20 RX Supercars since 2018, claiming wins and podiums in both the FIA World Rallycross Championship and RallyX Nordic. 

"I’m pumped to been able to put this partnership together with GRX! As with everything we do, it’s all about the people," Arpin said. 

"I’ve known Jussi Pinomäki since my first event in rallycross when we were able to work together in Brazil and I’ve got a ton of respect for him. To be able to team up with him and utilize his knowledge in the sport as well as Marcus and Niclas Grönholm and everything they’ve accomplished is a great opportunity for all of us."

Jussi Pinomäki, GRX team principal, added: “Since I first worked with Steve not only has he become one of the top drivers in rallycross, but he has developed a similar passion for the sport to the feeling we have at GRX. We’re very excited to be partnering Steve and the Loenbro team for this new championship, with its fresh vision, new tracks, and an interesting field of drivers and cars. We are all very competitive people, so as always we are working hard to achieve the best possible results this fall.”

Together, the GRX Loenbro venture will take on some of the biggest names in rallycross, in terms of both drivers and teams from the US and Europe in the first full Nitro RX season, which begins at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Salt Lake City on September 24 – 25, before further rounds at ERX Motor Park in Minneapolis (October 2 – 3), Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Phoenix (November 13 – 14), Glen Helen Raceway, Southern California (November 20 – 21) and The Firm, North Florida (December 4 – 5).

Monday 23 August 2021

Timmy Hansen takes first home soil victory to snatch World Championship lead.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
Timmy Hansen led home younger brother Kevin to claim the teams' first one-two finish on home soil at the Swecon World RX of Sweden in Höljes (yesterday).

Wins for both drivers' in their respective semi-finals set up an all-Hansen front-row for the final, with the 2019 World Champion leading away from pole position, and holding the top spot all the way to the chequered flag.

Only 1.049s behind across the line was Kevin (Hansen), who briefly went side-by-side with his older brother through turn one in the final before ceding track position into the tight second turn.

Timmy’s run to victory had been confident, finishing as the top qualifier for the second consecutive race weekend ahead of Johan Kristoffersson. His performance in the first semi-final was well controlled, putting in an assured lights-to-flag win to bag a maximum 30-point haul from his home race.

"I am so happy, so excited, maybe even a little bit relieved, to finally have my first home win in World RX – one that’s mine to keep this time! This has been the one race more than any I’ve wanted to win. I think every racing driver gets a special feeling to win in front of their home crowd and even though Höljes wasn’t quite as packed as it normally is with the restricted number of spectators, it’s still an amazing feeling," Timmy Hansen said.

"It’s hard to believe we even managed this result – scoring a 1-2 is an amazing feat. To pull it off two rounds in a row seems impossible. And to do it here in Sweden is magical. But the real magicians in our team are the engineers and mechanics – I’ve never felt so good in a car around this track as I did on Sunday. The reliability we have is all thanks to them – it’s sad that we didn’t get to race against Johan in the final but it also shows how critical every member of the team is to our success on the track."

Hansen admits the 2021 season has been the best start to the season he has ever had. 

"It’s my best start to the season ever – 57 points from a possible 60 – and before I get back in the 208 at Lohéac in two weeks," he said.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Kevin Hansen found himself starting on the far side of the grid throughout qualifying sessions (outside line) and, finding himself stuck in traffic in every race, struggled to show his true pace and could only manage a sixth place in the final intermediate standings.

Starting third in the second semi-final, the 23-year-old followed up a strong start with an early joker strategy, as he leapfrogged Krisztián Szabó for the win. His progress up the order was also aided by Johan Kristoffersson retiring with double punctures, sealing a front-row grid slow alongside Timmy for the final.

"Today we showed everyone why we are the leading team in the championship. We have a strong car, great engineers and mechanics, and fast drivers – but when myself and Timmy are together on the track, we can score amazing results like these. We have waited so long to take a first-place trophy home from Höljes and it’s a great feeling to have finally pulled it off, especially in this style and even though it wasn’t myself scoring the win today," Kevin Hansen said. 

"I had two great starts in the finals but in the end, Timmy had just enough to stay ahead in the last race. If it had been any other driver I would have sent it up the inside at turn two, as there was maybe enough space to try and squeeze through. But if I’d done that here, it would have compromised Timmy and, as we showed in Barcelona, the priority is always to score the best-combined result for the team."

"It’s a shame I lost some points with qualifying but with my grid positions, there wasn’t much more I could do."

Timmy's win ends an eight-year wait for Hansen World RX Team to secure its first home win at world championship level. The Swede had previously won on the road in 2015 before a post-race penalty demoted him to second – but this time around no last-lap pass was needed to cross the line in first place.

"I feel really pleased for Timmy – he has worked hard for many years to get a home victory and now he finally has it. Kevin’s development over the course of the weekend was also great to see; he struggled a lot with his positions in qualifying but he rebounded in excellent style with his semi-final performance," Kenneth Hansen, Hansen World RX team principal said.

"Our second one-two finish in a row really shows the strength of our team and how much we are focused on the details. Our strategy was executed perfectly by Timmy and Kevin, while the car performance at this circuit was much improved on last year’s two rounds in Höljes."

"We didn’t necessarily have the rawest pace – Kevin Abbring was showing some great speed in the Mégane, and Johan was quick like always – but everyone in our team used their experience and knowledge to bring the maximum out of what we have."

The Hansen World RX Team further strengthened its championship lead, building its advantage over GRX-SET to 40 points. 

Ide claims career-best result as Kristoffersson suffers deflating exit.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Enzo Ide offered KYB EKS JC some consolation with a fourth-place finish at the second round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Höljes in Sweden on Sunday, as Kristoffersson suffered a deflating exit. 

In only the second event of his first full World RX campaign, Ide claimed a third-place finish in the semi-final (with a puncture). Having saved a set of new tyres for the final. The Belgian driver had a decent start from the back row but opted for a first lap joker, which as the race progressed provided key as he secured a fourth-place finish. 

"It’s been fun to drive in Höljes again and I’m really, really happy with the result. The weekend has been a bit up and down for me, but EKS JC has done a good job of getting the car where I want it. I am very grateful to compete with this team, which constantly helps me to be comfortable in the car, develop myself, and push forward," Ide said.

"After the semi-finals, I had some mixed feelings, as I had a puncture but was able to make it to the final. I chose to take the joker straight away in the final and that allowed me to set good pace and pick up places. I lost some focus for a while, but my spotter pushed me to focus and I managed to keep it together. I set some good lap times and coming fourth, in front of two very fast drivers, feels really good."

Whilst team-mate and reigning World RX Champion Johan Kristoffersson had a weekend to forget despite topping Q1 and Q4 with the fastest times and qualifying second overall in the Intermediate Classification to start on pole position for semi-final two. 

The Swede aced the start in the semi-final to lead the race through the first corner. He led from the front and looked set for a place in the final. But, on lap 3, a double puncture caused by landing over the jump meant he would go no further. 

"The weekend started really well with the fastest time in Q1. Then in Q2 and Q3 we did not really have the speed we wanted, but we changed the setup a bit and got into Q4 with good speed," Kristoffersson said. "It felt really good before the semi-finals, and I felt more comfortable in the car again. In the semis, I made a good start and took the lead but on lap three I got a little too sideways, in turn two, and landed on the kerb after the jump. I got a double puncture and it was over."

Having failed to make the final, Johan now lies joint fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

"It’s still early in the championship. At the same time, the margins are getting smaller, and our situation is a little more difficult now," he said. "But it is what it is, and I won’t think about it. We all know how fast things can happen in motorsport, these first two races I have raced the new car to me and I am still learning. We have to take the lessons from here with us, and simply try to do better next time." 

GRX-SET endures 'another difficult weekend' at Höljes.

Finnish Squad GRX-SET has had yet another difficult weekend at round two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship
 despite displaying pace worthy of challenging for top results in Höljes (Sweden).

Fastest overall in Free Practice to start the weekend, then third and fourth fastest times in Q1 and Q2 placed Niclas Grönholm third at the end of day one, but traffic in Q3 on Sunday morning, followed by a penalty for missing the joker lap in Q4 left the Finn fifth in the Intermediate Classification. 

The three-time World RX winner had a great launch from the second row of the grid in the semi-final and immediately took the joker lap, but contact from Peter Hedstrom pushed him into the track markers on the edge of the circuit. And, although he finished in a place good enough to qualify for the final, the Finn was handed a time penalty for hitting the track marker and didn’t make the final.

"On pace, we were a bit better on Sunday than Saturday and made some better launches, we improved quite a lot in that area actually, but unfortunately in Q4 we didn’t take the joker lap and got a penalty. That’s something that can happen quite easily – it was just an honest mistake from us," Grönholm said.

"We had quite a good starting position with good grip for the semi-final so I had a good launch, decided to joker on the first lap because I really didn’t have the chance to go on the normal lap with two cars inside me. It was really slippery in the joker where the track had been watered so I took it carefully, then took a hit from behind and couldn’t really do anything. I couldn’t take the normal route so I had to go across where the track marker was and got a penalty for hitting it and didn’t make the final. I don’t agree with the decision as I had no chance to take the normal line, so I’m a bit upset about that, a lot of points have been lost in the two first race weekends."
Team-mate Krisztián Szabó impressed yet again with solid pace, following a fourth-place finish in the opening round of the season. 

Sixth and third on day one put the Hungarian in the fight, before a pair of fourth fastest times on Sunday gave him a front-row start for the semi-finals. Battling throughout both the semi and final he ran as high as third in the final but didn’t have the pace to close out a podium finish and he finished fifth.

"It was a good weekend," he said. "I beat Johan Kristoffersson in our race in Q3 and I was very happy with that performance, that meant a lot to me, but compared to Saturday, Sunday wasn’t so good in general."

"I was hoping for better results on track, even if I was P4 in both Q3 and Q4. I started on the front row for the semi-finals which is something I’ve never achieved before, but for sure I missed something in the semi and final, I don’t know yet what that was but I will sleep on it."
Jussi Pinomäki (team principal) admits that it was yet another difficult weekend for the team, despite new recruit Szabó showing a good turn of speed. 
"It was another difficult weekend for us. I’m again pleased with the progress Krisztian is making. With more work he can really challenge in this championship," the Finn said.

The GRX-SET team principal leaves Sweden with a sour taste in his mouth, as he believes Niclas should not have received a penalty for hitting a track marker in the semi-final. 

"We totally disagree with the stewards’ decision for Niclas in the semi-final, which put an end to a hard weekend for him that started already in Q1. We fully understand that hitting track markers gets penalized, but when you are pushed there by another car then it is out of your hands," he said. "But, we have had difficult weekends before, and we have already put Holjes to the back of our minds. We have to do a lot better next time in France, and we will!"

Abbring claims first ever podium in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Flying Dutchman Kevin Abbring claimed his and the teams' first-ever podium at round two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Höljes

After showing a glimpse of speed in the first round of the championship last time out at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, Abbring had a very good start to the weekend finishing second in the practice sessions.  

Following a good start to the weekend in Q1, the 32-year-old was turned into the barrier by Enzo Ide on the inside line of the joker. He was able to restart the car and then proceeded to put the fastest lap times (42.897s) on the clock as he caught up to the pack, finishing in 4th with the 8th fastest time in the first qualifier.

Q2 saw Abbring avoid contact into the first corner slotting into third-place but lost time in traffic following the joker which saw him cross the line fourth. Placed eighth overnight, he admitted that there was more pace to come on the following day. 

A day later, Abbring posted the fastest time in the morning warm-up. Q3 saw the UNKORRUPTED driver get a good start slotting into second in the first corner, from there he jokered straight away. Having battled into the lead, he took the chequered flag to win the qualifier (heat), with another fastest lap time as well as the fastest time of the qualifier moving up in the standings to third overall.

On pole for Q4, Kevin took another first lap joker coming out in 4th. His pace allowed him to chase down the pack over the remaining laps, claiming two positions to cross the finish line in second, securing a spot on the first row of the semi-final.

Having started the final race from the second row of the grid, Abbring pushed ahead into the second before diving into the joker coming out in fifth. He used his pace to his advantage quickly chasing down those ahead (Rytkonen and Szabo). After a few laps, Kevin was right behind Rytkonen and Szabo quickly gaining positions when they took the joker lap, bagging his and UNKORRUPTED's first-ever rallycross podium. 

"I’m super pleased with this result - the team has been working so hard, it’s great to see us convert on the track and end up on the podium, really proud of everyone," Abbring said. "We started off the season showing promising pace and here in Holjes, kicked it up a notch again."

"We put down leading times in both the semi and the final, which gives the whole team such a boost ahead of the upcoming event in France. I absolutely loved this spectacular track here in Sweden, and it was great to race in front of fans to take my first podium in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Now onto France, where I'm hoping for even better results."

Kevin Abbring leaves Sweden fourth in the championship standings on 37 points. 

Kallio claims stunning victory at Höljes in thrilling showdown with McConnell.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Jesse Kallio emerged triumphant after an enthralling battle with Fraser McConnell as Round 2 of the FIA RX2e Championship at the World RX of Sweden produced scintillating action at Höljes.

The Finn bounced back from a disappointing Saturday to storm into contention with consecutive qualifying session wins before showing blistering pace in both the semi-finals and final to claim the overall spoils.

McConnell was a narrow second after impressing throughout the weekend at the iconic Värmland circuit, while Isak Sjökvist notched third on his RX2e debut after a frenetic final.

Guillaume De Ridder remains top of the Drivers' Standings after finishing fourth, but the Belgian is just a point ahead of Kallio and two clear of McConnell as the first-ever FIA electric rallycross championship now turns its attention to Lohéac in France for Round 3.

Kallio started the weekend in fine fashion, winning his Q1 race and posting the third-fastest time of the opening session behind McConnell and De Ridder.

However, things unravelled in Q2 as a slow puncture saw him slip down the order while McConnell doubled up – holding off the rapid Swedish duo of Linus Östlund and Nils Andersson to take control at the end of Saturday.

Sat fifth at the halfway stage of qualifying, Kallio had it all to do in order to catch McConnell but a blistering display in Q3 produced the fastest time of the weekend so far and set the 22-year-old on the comeback trail.

He backed that up with a dominant Q4 win, getting the holeshot and putting the hammer down to cover an early joker from McConnell – although victory was still not enough to prevent the Jamaican from claiming Top Qualifier honours.

While Kallio and McConnell were pushing the pace at the front, standings leader De Ridder was having a tougher time after a dream clean sweep in Barcelona and could only manage fourth in the intermediate standings following damage and a puncture on a frustrating Sunday.

McConnell laid down a marker in the opening semi-final, taking victory ahead of Östlund and the ever-entertaining Patrick O'Donovan after Andersson suffered a mechanical failure which dashed his hopes of a home victory.

Kallio responded to McConnell in his semi-final, leading from turn one to the flag while De Ridder took second and Sjökvist booked his spot in the final with third – making the most of a half-spin from rapid EKS JC youngster Isak Reiersen on the opening lap.

That put the two old RX2 rivals on the front row for the final, and it was Kallio who reached turn one first while pole-sitter McConnell slotted in behind and De Ridder headed for the joker.

Östlund followed suit on the next tour but couldn't leapfrog the Belgian, while a combative O'Donovan was snapping at McConnell's heels before taking his own compulsory joker.

Kallio continued to stretch his lead at the head of the pack and, while McConnell and Sjökvist both went for an alternative joker strategy, there was no stopping the Finn as he pumped in consistency rapid lap times to secure his first win in the pioneering new RX2e category.

McConnell and Sjökvist, who showed consistent improvement throughout the weekend as he continues to adapt in his maiden season of rallycross competition, completed the rostrum while De Ridder suffered a late puncture but still finished fourth and Östlund came out on top in a robust final-lap battle with O'Donovan.

It was a frustrating day for the local driver, who posted the third-quickest times in both Q2 and Q3, and fellow new-boys Andersson and Reiersen were also left thinking what might have been after their semi-final misfortunes.

Damien Meunier will be desperate for another chance to realise his potential after the pacy Frenchman produced a competitive display on an unfamiliar circuit, while it was a similar story for Pablo Suárez as the popular Spaniard lodged improving times with every session around Höljes – having never raced at the legendary venue before.

"Today has been a perfect day. Yesterday wasn't so good, but today has been brilliant. It is so tight when everyone is in the same cars. The driver makes all the difference, and that makes it really enjoyable," Kallio said.

The 22-year-old hopes to return to the championship. "I am trying to find the budget to do more races, as I am hungry for more success," he said.

A haul of 29 points for Kallio leaves him just one behind Drivers' Standings leader De Ridder ahead of Round 3, while McConnell's 27 puts him a solitary point further back. O'Donovan moves into fourth after another strong display while Suárez and Meunier complete the top six in the table.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Hansen brothers secure 1-2 finish in Höljes as hard work pays off.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
Timmy Hansen won the Swecon World RX of Sweden in Höljes, leading home team-mate Kevin Hansen in a 1-2 finish for the Hansen World RX Team.

It all looked set for a humdinger of a weekend in Sweden, as championship leader Kevin Hansen led the championship with reigning champion Johan Kristoffersson looking to claim his first victory of the season but, the Hansen's had other plans. 

Johan might have won Q1 on Saturday, but Timmy Hansen fought back to level things out on Sunday. 

Having battled through Q3 and Q4, Timmy Hansen led the intermediate rankings ahead of the reigning champion Kristoffersson in second followed by an impressive Kevin Abbring, Krisztián Szabó, Niclas Gronholm, and Kevin Hansen

In the first semi-final, Timmy led home a fast charging Abbring and Juha Rytkönen to seal a place in the final, whilst Kristoffersson failed to finish due to a front-right puncture that ended his weekend rather prematurely. 

Round one winner, Kevin Hansen capitalized on Johan's disappointment winning semi-final two ahead of Szabó and Belgian Ide also qualifying for the final.

The Hansen brothers locked out the front row of the final on used tyres, with those behind bolting on new tyres. 

From pole position, Timmy had a very good start with Kevin holding the outside line into turn one. Opting for an alternate strategy, Kevin Abbring and Enzo Ide took her jokers on lap one. Whilst Timmy led Kevin followed by Rytkönen and Szabó.

As the Hansen brothers' pulled clear of their nearest rivals, Rytkonen and Szabó came under pressure from a charging Abbring. 

The Dutchman ultimately jumped both of them as the race progressed, with Timmy and Kevin taking their joker on the final lap to record another 1-2 and claim an 11th career race win. 

It wasn't all smooth sailing with constant adjustments and tweaking (including a gearbox change for Kevin Hansen) throughout the weekend to unlock more speed. 

Timmy Hansen fully credits the Hansen World RX Team mechanics for victory in Höljes today. 

"Our mechanics are the winners keeping our cars together. Sometimes we take it for granted and it is a reminder of the incredible work they are doing. I am so, so happy. 1-2 again," he said.

The 2019 World Rallycross Champion now holds the lead in the championship after two rounds (on 57 points) six points ahead of Kevin Hansen, with Szabó third followed by Abbring with reigning champion Kristoffersson down to fifth.

Swecon World RX of Sweden - FINAL RESULTS


FIA World RX Championship Standings after Round 2. 

Saturday 21 August 2021

Watch RX+ anytime and anywhere on new the new official World RX app

The first-ever FIA World Rallycross Championship app has been launched ahead of this weekend’s second round of the 2021 campaign, Swecon World RX of Sweden (21 - 22 July) – enabling fans to watch RX+ anytime and anywhere.

The free application is available on iOS and Android devices (both mobile phones and tablets), and will provide access to all the latest premium content from World RX, the new RX2e series and European championships Euro RX1 and Euro RX3.

Registered RX+ subscribers can sign in with their account details to watch hundreds of hours of exclusive rallycross action, live or on-demand and in glorious HD quality. This premium production includes all races live as well as highlights, previews and replays, plus in-depth expert analysis, special features and interviews with the stars of the show – not to mention an unprecedented choice of viewing angles via on-board cameras that put viewers right in the driving seat.

With simple navigation, users can read all the latest news, follow race results live, check the championship standings and enjoy free video clips. Fans can find out all about their favourite drivers and teams thanks to detailed career information, while delving into the discipline’s rich history and check out upcoming events.

The free World RX app can be downloaded for iOS devices here, and Android devices here.

Detailed World RX app content description:

Get right to the heart of the action with the official FIA World Rallycross Championship App. Stay fully up-to-speed with the latest World RX videos and news while following all of the races LIVE!

Everything you need at your fingertips:


Watch all of the races live with premium production from different viewing angles, including Qualifying, Semi-Finals and Finals, or watch them on-demand whenever and wherever you want


Receive in-depth live data during the event, including starting grids, overall standings and noticeboard information


Check the results of the races and the championship standings in World and European RX (World RX, RX2e, Euro RX1 and Euro RX3)


Get the latest news and insights from World RX, RX2e, Euro RX1 and Euro RX3


Enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes content, studio interviews and in-depth expert analysis. Get to know your favourite drivers and discover their personalities with special features and more


Enjoy hundreds of hours of rallycross on-demand, including Highlights, Replays, Previews and more exclusive content. Delve into the video archive and re-live some of the best World RX races and most epic battles in World Championship history


Exclusive view! Get on-board with your favourite drivers and experience all the action from the hot seat

Thursday 19 August 2021

Kenneth Hansen - "We expect to be at the front and in the running for victory."

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Hansen World RX team principal Kenneth Hansen expects to be front runners and potential race winners at this weekend's World RX of Sweden at Höljes

The Swedish outfit is yet to achieve a victory on home soil despite Kevin Hansen stepping onto the podium in recent years with two second-place finishes, but this year the team is aiming higher... a race (event) victory! 

Kenneth hopes that the time and effort put in during the off-season will help the team make solid progress on classic gravel circuits. 

"One of the areas we spent the most time and effort working on during the off-season was improving our car performance on more traditional-style rallycross circuits," Hansen said.

Last month, the team achieved a one-two finish at the opening round of the season with Kevin Hansen on the top step of the podium ahead of elder brother Timmy Hansen

"The result in Spain was a great validation of the work we’d put in, especially by ORECA on our engine, but now some other areas we’ve worked on will come into greater focus," he said.

Hansen believes that his squad can do better this season, and anticipates that the GRX-SET (Hyundai) team will be a lot faster this weekend 

"We didn’t get the result we wanted at Höljes last year and we want to make up for it this time around. We had one podium finish here with Kevin during the double-header in 2020 but we believe we can do better this time," he adds. "While the Audi is a fast car around Höljes – and we anticipate that the Hyundai will be faster than at the last round too – we still expect to be at the front and in the running for victory."

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Bakk-erud returns with Lithuanian outfit ESMotorsport in Euro RX1.

Andreas Bakkerud feels 'over the moon to be back on the grid' after inking an 11th-hour deal to join Euro RX1 with ESMotorsport at Höljes this weekend

The 29-year-old looked destined to miss the 2021 season after struggling to put the necessary budget together, but when the opportunity presented itself to drive the ESMotorsport’s second Škoda Fabia at Höljes alongside Jānis Baumanis – he explains that he did not need to think too hard...

"Having to watch one more race weekend from the sofa would just have been unthinkable," Bakkerud said, “and especially Höljes – my stomach wouldn’t have stood for that! I really enjoyed the new RX+ broadcast in Barcelona and all the onboard camera angles are really cool, but the bottom line is that I’m a racer and I want to be out there racing!

"I’m over the moon to be back on the grid, and this is such a special circuit for me. I went to school in Torsby when I was growing up, so I’m very familiar with the area around Höljes and it really feels like a home track."

"There has been a huge amount of hard work behind-the-scenes with my partners and the team to get to this point, and now it’s time to enjoy it and go racing!" he said.

Bakkerud's livery for the Höljes Euro RX1 outing.
CREDIT: ESMotorsport.
The Norwegian is one of the biggest names in international motorsport having claimed two FIA European Rallycross Championship in Super1600, then taking the step up to the World Championship stage in 2014.

Andreas has triumphed on seven occasions and finished inside the top three in the title standings in 2016, 2018, and 2019 – in the last of those seasons, tying on points with eventual champion Timmy Hansen.

Bakkerud’s past form at Höljes is certainly impressive, with five straight podium finishes there in the World Championship from 2014 to 2018. 

"My expectations are always high – whenever my name is on the entry list, I’m there to win – but I also need to be realistic given that I haven’t done many laps in the Fabia. Results come over time, so I can’t expect to go out there and be the fastest straightaway, but this is a great opportunity to get to know the team and car," Bakkerud adds.

"Höljes is a one-off for now, but I’ve definitely got one eye on the future and I’ve always regarded ESMotorsport as a team with real potential in rallycross. Who knows, maybe I can be the driver who breaks the ice and steps onto the podium with them..."

PREVIEW - The Championship battle heats up in Höljes.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The FIA World Rallycross Championship heats up, as homegrown heroes Kevin Hansen, Timmy Hansen, and Johan Kristoffersson arrive on home turf for round two of the season at Höljes this weekend (20-22 August). 

One of the world’s most iconic rallycross tracks, Höljes is nestled deep in the Värmland forest not far from the Norwegian border has been a popular World Championship fixture ever since the series’ inception back in 2014.

Kevin Hansen currently leads the championship heading into the Swecon World RX of Sweden, having overcome older brother Timmy and Johan Kristoffersson in the final at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last month to claim a second career victory at the pinnacle of rallycross. 

The Hansen World RX Team driver is a multiple winner at Höljes at European level and has been a podium-finisher in the World Championship event held at the circuit in each of the past two seasons, taking the chequered flag second on both occasions. 

The Swede will be targeting the very highest step next weekend as he bids to extend his advantage.

"Our development over the winter was focussed more on tracks like Höljes rather than Barcelona, so we are hopeful of having made a solid improvement from last year’s event. We know we have a good car, and we have a good feeling right now," Hansen said. 

"For sure, the competition is going to be extremely tough and it’s going to be the usual suspects at the front so it will all come down to getting a good start to the weekend and then maintaining that form. It’s heading down and all about the details from this point on."

The championship leader will not have it easy, however, his two closest pursuers are both world champions – Timmy Hansen in 2019 and Kristoffersson in 2017, 2018, and 2020. His elder brother is just two points adrift, and having not reached the podium at Höljes since 2016, will be particularly fired up to turn the tables and seize the initiative in the chase for the coveted crown.

The three-time World Champion Kristoffersson, by contrast, knows just what it takes to win around the challenging Höljesbanan circuit, having done so in each of his title-winning years. 

In only his second full season, Krisztían Szabó occupies the fourth spot in the Drivers’ standings for GRX-SET World RX Team following a solid season-opener.

Team-mate Grönholm, meanwhile, needs a good result after his Spanish weekend ended in the semi-final when he was turned into the barrier at turn 2. 

Fellow countryman Juha Rytkönen will be bidding to replicate the scene-stealing performance he produced on his dazzling World RX debut at Kouvola last summer when he took the fight to Kristoffersson in the final, whilst UNKORRUPTED's Kevin Abbring showed a decent turn of form in Barcelona behind the wheel of his Renault Mégane R.S. RX.

The dark horse, however, is undoubtedly Peter Hedström, who has a GRX-SET prepared Hyundai i20 at his disposal and reckons he has the best chance of his career to-date to cause a stir, particularly if rains.


Höljesbanan is an undisputed icon of rallycross, featuring a mix of almost everything. It’s a track of two halves; the first twisty and quite technical, the second half a sprint back to the finish line.

Track Length: 1.210m

2020 Winners: Round 1 - Johan Kristoffersson

                        Round 2 - Mattias Ekstrom

Fastest lap: Kevin Abbring 42.432s

Asphalt/Dirt: 60%/40%

Joker Lap Loss: 2.8 seconds (approximately)

2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship standings (drivers):

Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 29 points

Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 27 pts

Johan Kristoffersson (KYB EKS JC) 20 pts

Krizstian Szabo (GRX-SET) 20 pts

Rene Munnich (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 16 pts

Timo Scheider (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 15 pts

Kevin Abbring (UNKORRUPTED) 14 pts

Niclas Gronholm (GRX-SET) 14 pts

Juha Rytkonen 10 pts

Enzo Ide (KYB EKS JC) 9 pts

Tamas Karai 9 pts

Oliver Bennett (Xite Racing Team) 8 pts

Mandie August (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 4 pts

Attila Mozerpts

Patrick Guillermepts

Dan Oberg 1 pts

Rounds 2 World RX of Sweden Schedule (CET Times)


Q1: 14:30

Q2: 17:00


Q3: 11:00

Q4: 14:30

Semi-Finals and Final: (from) 17:00 

Grid Wrap Up Show: 18:00 RX+ only


Red Bull TV (FINALS) at 18:45 UTC+2 (subject to change) - https://www.redbull.com/int-en/events/fia-world-rallycross-championship-sweden

Monday 16 August 2021

Kristoffersson doubles up in RallyX Nordic Superfinalen.

"Two for the price of one" as Johan Kristoffersson clinches the RallyX Nordic and Swedish Championship(s) on home soil at the Westombana.

"[This is] my second Swedish Championship gold, and my first Nordic title. It's extra fun to win at home," the champion said. 

It wasn't all smooth sailing for the three-time World Champion who had encountered a number of issues throughout the season, but despite the issues, he clinched the title(s) after clinching the top qualifiers spot on Sunday. 

This weekend wasn't trouble-free for the Volkswagen Dealer team BAUHAUS driver. 

"We had some trouble," he said. "There was a lot going on in the background. Not everything has been completely optimal, but fortunately, this is a technical course that I also know very well, so I have been able to assert myself anyway."

Tommy Kristoffersson, team manager, has clarified all the hardships that his team has put in place to secure the title(s). 

"Our mechanics have worked tirelessly with adjustments and changes. And we have also had good service from our suppliers," Tommy Kristoffersson said. "Mats Karlsson from Säffle even showed up here in the port of Arvika with spare parts. Delivery by boat we have never experienced before!"

In order to claim the SM title (Swedish Championship) a driver/team requires a weekend at the peak performance from the team's Volkswagen Polo GTI RX KMS.

"It is a material sport and there were cars on site here that are more up to date than our old car, but we show that we are good at picking out the best of the material. This is a great team victory for the KMS concept: our partners, mechanics and drivers," the 62-year-old Swede said. 

"One should also not forget Johan's role off the field, his communication with the mechanics, and all the work he puts into development to get the most out of the material. These are not ordinary days and work shifts he does.

We have had an incredible willingness to deliver to our loyal partners Volkswagen and Bauhaus, but now afterwards it feels a bit sentimental because the future is so uncertain. We do not know anything at the moment, but of course, we hope to find solutions to pick up new threads."

O'Donovan and Knapick joins 10-car field for World RX of France.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The entry lists for the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lohéac on 3-5 September have been released, setting the stage for a thrilling weekend on French soil.

Following the Barcelona curtain-raiser last month and this weekend’s outing at Höljes, the World Championship title fight will be heating up by the time drivers and teams arrive in France for round three of the 2021 season – and aside from the usual suspects, the return of ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider is sure to mix up the order after the pace the German showed in Catalunya.

Former British Rallycross Champion and Euro RX podium-finisher Ollie O’Donovan will return after almost four years away. He will drive his Ford Fiesta Supercar.

Megennis impresses on debut with #YellowSquad

16-year-old rallycross star George Megennis impressed the paddock on his rallycross debut, taking a race win and a sixth overall (finish) in the RallyX Nordic Superfinalen in his first-ever rallycross event.

Megennis was an immediate threat from the off-seat in the highly competitive RallyX Nordic championship, winning his Qualifying 1 race (heat) in the challenging wet conditions despite having never driven in the rain.

In the second qualifying session, the American drew level at the top of the qualifying order with newly crowned champion Tommi Hallmann, before going on to secure fifth overall in qualifying.

Showing off his racecraft, he then put in a masterful defensive to hold off Linus Östlund for second place in his semi-final. Knowing that he required a top-three finish to progress to the final, George blocked Östlund’s path.

The front end damage of Megennis' car in the Supercar Lites final.
While reaching the Supercar Lites final on debut was a great achievement, unfortunately, there was no fairytale ending, as Megennis found himself squeezed between two rivals at the start of the final, which briefly sent him airborne and damaged the front of his car. He went on to finish fifth in the race but was given a penalty for the first-lap contact.

"I am so stoked after my first taste of Supercar Lites action – this weekend was incredible, and the results were so much better than I thought they would be," Megennis said. "RallyX Nordic is super competitive and if you look at the history of this Lites category, some of the best drivers in the world championship started out here. So to be fighting for race wins and qualifying for the final at my first attempt is unbelievable."

"Now I know what my pace is like against the best drivers in Europe, I’m going back home to the US feeling really confident about the season ahead in NRX NEXT – especially as I’m guessing some of the guys I raced this weekend might show up over there! I know that my level is already strong, but also that I’ve got so much more learning to do and can be even faster with more experience."

"I’m so grateful for all the work the #YellowSquad guys are putting in – Eric Färén and the crew gave me an amazing car all weekend, and all the years of knowledge Kevin Hansen has helped me improve so quickly. I wouldn’t have been able to pull off such a mega weekend without their help," he concludes. "I can’t wait for Nitro Rallycross to start and get back in this car!"

World RX race winner and #YellowSquad team principal, Kevin Hansen firmly believes that after a strong rallycross debut, George can compete in NRX NEXT with full confidence. 

"The amount you learn from completing your first race weekend in rallycross is huge," Kevin Hansen said. "Now George can go into the Nitro season full of confidence, with better knowledge of the car and how it behaves, and knowing he has the speed to compete at the front. We can’t wait to get started in the US next month – George is a super cool, fast and professional guy with a bright future in this sport."

Sunday 15 August 2021

Kristoffersson crowned RallyX Nordic champion on home soil.

Johan Kristoffersson reigns supreme on home soil in Arvika, as he is crowned the 2021 RallyX Nordic and Swedish Championship champion.

Kristoffersson picked up his third race victory of the season in a dominant fashion but was officially crowned champion after claiming the top qualifiers spot in the Intermediate Standings after entering the weekend with an unassailable lead. 

The final in Arvika certainly ended in a bang, but not for the three-time World RX Champion who had a decent launch off the grid, with Fraser McConnell drawing level around the outside on the run to the turn 1/2 hairpin. 

With a clean exit from the hairpin, Johan comfortably led from start to finish with Fraser hanging around the outside, and Enzo Ide trying to push through, as Anton Marklund shoved him causing the right-hand side bumper damage.

On the run towards the first jump, Ide was challenging McConnell but opted to back out, which meant he was alongside Anton, and as the pair came off the jump, the EKS JC driver landed against the right fender of Marklund ripping it off. 

Anton took third place with Ide hitting him in the rear damaging the front left bumper of his Audi. OMSE's Kevin Eriksson didn't have the dream start or first few corners that he had hoped for after switching to a different differential step up for more front-end grip. He came out of the first few corners in fifth ahead of Sondre Evjen who had a bad start from sixth. 

Opting for an alternate strategy, Ide and Evjen took their jokers on lap one coming out behind Eriksson. 

From there, it was pretty much a formation race, as Johan began to build a buffer to the Jamaican behind. 

As the laps ticked off, McConnell switched things up and took his joker with one lap to go and was followed in by Marklund and Eriksson. The OMSE driver rejoined in second with Marklund in third, with Ide able to jump Eriksson on the merge having taken an earlier joker lap. 

Comfortably in the lead, Kristoffersson left no stone underturned, as he fully sent his Volkswagen Polo Supercar through the joker lap exiting with max speed and comfortably crossing the line 2.238s ahead McConnell, Marklund, Ide, Eriksson, and Sondre Evjen. 

Speaking after the final, Kristoffersson said: "It's always nice to pick up another trophy! I have won the Swedish Championship once before, here in Arvika last year at my home track, and it is good to keep that winning streak going."

The 32-year-old Swede admits that the RallyX Nordic championship is a good experience builder. 

"It's a good experience for me, as I play around with a little bit with setup through the heats/sessions and you know, also learn a lot of things, technically, what's going on with the car. Because there are sometimes a lot of things going on with the car," he adds. "So then I have to dig into and understand what's actually going on."

"We've changed the engine, we have changed a lot of strategies, and also the turbo pressure and anti-lag and all this stuff. We've changed a lot this weekend."

Friday 13 August 2021

Baumanis teams up with ESMotorsport in quest for second rallycross crown.

Former Euro RX Super1600 champion Jānis Baumanis to make rallycross return in the Euro RX1 series at Höljes next weekend, after joining forces with ESMotorsport to drive the team's Škoda Fabia.

Baumanis has been a familiar name on the international rallycross scene since 2014, when he contested the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s Super1600 category, claiming three wins in a SET Promotion Renault Twingo on his way to third in the championship.

The following year, he added two more victories and the Super1600 title, while simultaneously making his debut at Supercar level in Norway, in a Peugeot 208 running under the Hansen Talent Development banner – impressively reaching the podium at the first time of asking.

Additional World Championship outings the same season were highlighted by a fourth-place finish in the last round in Argentina, behind the wheel of a World RX Team Austria Ford Fiesta.

The Latvian remained with the squad in 2016, regularly progressing through to the semi-final stage and advancing to his second career final in Barcelona en route to a top ten championship ranking. He continued to score consistently over the subsequent two campaigns with STARD, before breaking through in 2019 as he ascended the podium in both Norway and Canada – going on to clinch the sixth spot in the end-of-season standings.

Following a year’s absence – as a result of budgetary issues. The Latvian finally returns to rallycross after making a one-off appearance in Projekt Eon's home soil last September. 

But you can't keep a quick racer away too long, as Baumanis returns in just a week’s time in place of Ramunas Capkauskas, and he has immediately set his expectations high.

"I’m very happy to be back on the grid," Baumanis said. "It’s been a while since I last competed in a rallycross event and it will be nice to see some old faces again and catch up with good friends. I’ve been in the World RX family since the beginning back in 2014, so last year felt very odd for me."

"It’s brilliant to be starting the season at Höljes because racing there is always special. Normally there are around 50,000 spectators cheering us on and the emotion they generate is amazing, and whilst numbers are limited this year, there will still be great competition in Euro RX1, which looks stronger than ever with a lot of very good names in the field, some of whom have shown their speed in the World Championship too.

The other circuits coming up are also amongst the best rallycross tracks in the world and I’ve scored quite good results at all of them in the past. My goal is to reach at least the final in every event and to fight for the title. That clearly won’t be easy, but I will do everything in my power and I know ESMotorsport will give me the tools to do the job."

Robertas Maneikis, Team Manager of ESMotorsport admits that he is looking forward to working with Baumanis for a long team, as they focus on the switch to electric power in 2022.

“Not only will we do our best to compete at the top level with our fellow competitors in Euro RX1 this season, but Jānis is the driver we expect to be working with longer-term. He has considerable experience of electric technology from driving the Projekt E car, and he brings feedback that will be essential to our development plans for next year’s transition into RX1e," he said