Wins for Kristoffersson, Maatta, Pailler & Speed as former drivers return


Fourteen days in rallycross, July 16

by Hal Ridge |

It’s been a diverse fortnight of rallycross action around the world, with international and national events taking place before several series enter their summer breaks.

Two weeks ago, multi-discipline ace Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo) won his third World Rallycross Championship event of the season at Holjes, emulating his father Tommy’s international rallycross success in Sweden almost 20 years previously. Kristoffersson led the final throughout, just managing to get away from the start line without stalling his Volkswagen Polo GTi to lead into turn one ahead of Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus). Peugeot-Hansen pair Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot 208) and Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) took their jokers on lap one and climbed to third and fourth behind Kristoffersson and Bakkerud by the finish when Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta) and Janis Baumanis (Ford Fiesta) took their joker laps. The Fiesta drivers finished fifth and sixth. Kristoffersson extended his lead in the Championship to 20 points, now over second-placed Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo) who stalled from pole position at the start of semi-final two.

Mattias Ekstrom dropped to third in the World RX standings. The Swede missed the event to race in the Norisring round of the DTM, where he twice scored strong results to take the series lead. PG Andersson (Audi S1) deputised for Ekstrom Holjes, but neither he nor his EKS team mates Reinis Nitiss and Toomas Heikkinen made the semi-finals.

Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo) won the FIA European Rallycross Championship Supercar final from Peter Hedstrom (Volkswagen Polo) and Rene Munnich (Citroen DS3), while British driver Dan Rooke claimed his first win in the RX2 International Series final ahead of Guillaume De-Ridder and William Nilsson. Artis Baumanis topped a Skoda Fabia podium lockout in the Super1600 category. Krisztian Szabo was second and Janno Ligur third.

The following Saturday, Atro Maatta (Ford Fiesta) won the third round of the Finnish Rallycross Championship at Kaanaa, heading Jukka Lautamaki (Skoda Fabia) by less than half a second. Ari-Pekka Niemi (Ford Fiesta) completed the podium in his ex-OlsbergsMSE / Niclas Gronholm Fiesta, a week after racing in the Euro RX round a Holjes. Ari Perkiomaki (Ford Fiesta) was fourth with Jari Putkinen (Mitsubishi Evo) fifth and Toni Lukander (Mitsubishi Evo) sixth. Reigning champion Jere Kalliokoski (Skoda Fabia) didn’t make the final, he spun off in a qualifying race and got stuck in traffic in his semi-final. Henri Haapamki (BMW M3) won the Supernational final from Joni-Pekka Rajala (Ford Escort) and Toni Niemi (Hyundai Accent), while Toni Kuhanen (Toyota Startlet) won the Autokrossi final ahead of Tero Tukianinen (Toyota MR2) and Tuomas Venalainen (Datsun Finn).

Jesse Kallio became the third different winner of the RX Academy series at Kaanaa to extend his championship lead. Kallio led the final from turn one to flag, Sami-Matti Trogen finishing second with Kalle Markkanen scoring his maiden podium in third. Russian driver Marat Knyazev finished fourth with Jami Kalliomake fifth. Euro RX Super1600 driver Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme entered the event to keep himself sharp in the European season’s summer break and was sixth.

 

The seventh round of the Global Rallycross Championship took place at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, where Scott Speed (Volkswagen Beetle) won ahead of points leader Tanner Foust (Volkswagen Beetle) in a one-two finish for the Andretti Volkswagen team. Steve Arpin (Ford Fiesta) continued his strong 2017 season with another podium finish, as Oliver Eriksson (Honda Civic) scored a personal best result of fourth. Austin Dyne (Ford Fiesta) was fifth and Sebastian Eriksson (Honda Civic) sixth. Patrik Sandell (Subaru Impreza) was top Subaru runner in seventh. In the GRC Lites category, Christian Brooks ended Cyril Raymond’s winning run by claiming victory. Raymond was second with Travis PeCoy third.

Guerlain Chicherit (Renault Clio) and the Pailler brothers starred in the qualifying stages of the fourth round of the French Rallycross Championship at Lavare, but Chicherit would go no further than turn one of the semi-finals due to contact. Fabien Pailler (Peugeot 208) won the final ahead of Florent Beduneau (Peugeot 208) and Jonathan Pailler (Peugeot 208), while Alexandre Theuil (Citroen DS3) was the first non-Peugeot driver in fifth. Charles Martin (Citroen C4) made his rallycross Supercar debut and won semi-final B before finishing sixth in the final with Philippe Maloigne (Peugeot 208) classified seventh and Belgian Jos Jansen (Ford Focus) eighth. Jimmy Terpereau (Citroen C2) won the Super1600 final ahead of championship leader Samuel Peu (Citroen Saxo). David Moulin (Dacia Sandero) was third. In Division Three, Mathieu Trevian (VW Scirroco) also beat the points leader as Christophe Saunois (Toyota Corolla) finished second and Benoit Morel (Ford Fiesta) completed the podium. Stephane Hameau (Peugeot 306) won the Division Four final from Xavier Goubill (Peugeot 306) and Jessica Tarrière (Renault Clio). Olivier Spampinato claimed victory in the Twingo R1 Cup. David Bouet was second and Martial Malet third.

Former European Rallycross Championship podium finisher Tony Bardy will race at the fourth and fifth rounds of the MSA British Rallycross Championship next week in Ollie O’Donovan’s Ford Focus Supercar. O’Donovan will switch to his Euro RX speciation Ford Fiesta for the event.

Reining British Rallycross Champion Dan Rooke will compete in the fifth round of the RX2 International Series in Canada next month having only previously expected to race in the five European-based rounds of 2017. Rooke used budget allocated to later events to be able to continue his title challenge in Canada, but is still searching for budget to complete the season.

Kenneth Hansen returns to the driving seat for the first time since racing in the Swedish Championship finale at Kinnekulle in 2012 this weekend, competing in the 10 Hours of Magney Cours endurance race, partnering sons Timmy and Kevin. As part of a 71-car entry, the trio are racing a single-make Peugeot 208 Cup car.

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