DeJong claims RallyX on Ice, Bellerby wins at Blyton


Seven days in rallycross, March 18

by Hal Ridge |

Alexander Westlund won the final round of the RallyX on Ice Championship at Ostersund in Sweden, while third in the final was enough to secure American driver Mitchell DeJong the title. De Jong had entered the event involved in a close battle with Sondre Evjen, but the Norwegian driver didn’t qualify for the semi-finals. Westlund’s result elevated him to third in the series, while Evjen hung onto third, despite Russian Vasily Gryazin having his best Supercar Lites outing to-date, and finished second. Oliver Eriksson finished fourth in the final, ahead of rallycross debutant Pelle Wilen and Stein Frederic.

Paige Bellerby won the opening round of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship at Blyton Park in her Lotus Exige. Bellerby made the best start from second on the grid to lead the five-lap race from lights to flag, ahead of Super1600 racer Michael Boak (Citroen C2). The Geordie’s team mate, Phil Chicken (Citroen C2), survived a first-lap battle with pole sitter Todd Crooks (BMW Mini) to complete the podium positions. Marc Jones (Toyota MR2) was fourth, Paul Johnson (BMW M3) fifth and Crooks classified sixth. Jeff Hope-Davies (Citroen Saxo) won the Production car final, fending off late attentions from Martin Peters (Citroen Saxo), while reigning champion James Orton (Peugeot 106) was third. Former Supercar racer Mike Manning (Subaru Impreza) won the Production 4×4 final, Shaun Buckley headed a Ford Escort one-two-three in the Historic final and Jaidon Bennett (Seat Arosa) led home Tom Constantine (Suzuki Swift) and Thomas Middleton (Suzuki Swift) in the Junior final.

Also in the BTRDA event, Rallycross World writer Hal Ridge raced a Peter Gwynne Motorsport Swift Sport and finished fourth in the SuperModified B final, third in the 1600cc category.

Double World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg and reigning RX2 Champion Cyril Raymond visited the Killarney Circuit in South Africa as the circuit was launched to guests and the media for the first time. Rene Munnich was present with the Skoda Fabia Supercar that he previously raced in the FIA European Rallycross Championship. “We have so much passion for coming to new places, driving at new circuits and I’m very happy to come here,” said Solberg. “The track looks very technical in places and it’s all about being flat out. My father-in-law drove some rallies in South Africa in the 1980s.”

Also announced in South Africa was the news that former WRC competitor Jon Williams will race at his home round of the Championship in an OlsbergsMSE Supercar. “This is a dream come true, I’ve come from track racing to rallying and now rallycross, it is the perfect combination for me,” he said. “I can’t wait to compete in front of my home crowd and I hope the people of South Africa can fully get behind me.” Watch an onboard video of Solberg driving an RX2 car on the new circuit below.

 

Three Norwegian drivers will race in the opening round of the Swift Sport Rallycross Championship that runs alongside the MSA British Rallycross Championship. European Championship Super1600 driver Ada Marie Hvaal, who made her Supercar debut in an Eklund Motorsport Volkswagen Beetle in RallyX Nordic last year will be joined by Christoffer Lia and Martin Kjaer in a trio of Peter Gwynne Motorsport. “I am looking forward to taking part in Swift Championship as preparation for the Norwegian Championship, which starts in early May,” said Hvaal. “It’s an excellent opportunity to get a head start to the season, gain international experience and get a sense of the competitive level internationally.”

Former Junior RX and Swift Sport racer Taylor will race in the opening round of the RX150 Rallycross Championship this weekend at Croft and hopes to secure budget for a full campaign. The Retford-based driver tested an RX150 recently ahead of his buggy debut. “I know this year is a huge step up for me. This will be my first season in rear-wheel drive with a new style gearbox and so much power in a machine that’s only seconds a lap off Supercar pace,” said Taylor. “Although I have no illusions about getting on the podium just yet (although it would be nice), this year is all about learning and improving my race craft and moving all that I do to the next level.” Father and son pairing Larry and Adam Sargent also confirmed this week that they will return to the RX150 category this year.

The first round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship takes place this weekend at Croft, where the most notable driver not to be announced before the season opener’s entry list was published was double-MSA Supernational Rallycross Champion Ash Simpson, racing his title-winning Lotus Exige in the two-wheel drive category that has undergone recent transmission developments.

South American TC2000 circuit driver Facundo Chapur will race a Peugeot 208 Maxi in the CARX Argentine Rallycross Championship this season, his first experience of racing on loose surfaces. “I have long been interested in racing in CARX. It’s a very fun category and one always seeks to be happy in a race car,” he said. “I want to learn and gradually improve and see how the car develops. This is a new category for me. I have many friends who race and have old me how fun it is to drive these cars.” The first round takes place in Mid-April (15-16) in Catamarca.

The American-based Global Rallycross Championship has announced that the second round of its 2017 season will be held at Louisville, Kentucky on May 20-21 for the first time. The new event will be held at the Kentucky Exposition Center. “We are incredibly excited to be able to bring GRC action to Louisville for the first time,” said GRC CEO, Colin Dyne. “Kentucky has a storied and extensive racing and sporting history, and we’re looking forward to adding our name with our inaugural event at the Kentucky Exposition Center.” The new track will feature a 70-foot table top jump. The American series will also return to Atlantic city this year for a second time, in August.

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