Niclas Grönholm (Hyundai i20) was victorious on Thursday (May 13) at Höljes in Sweden during the third round of the 2021 RallyX Nordic series. The Finn won the Supercar category ahead of Sweden’s Anton Marklund (VW Polo Mk5) and teammate Krisztián Szabó (Hyundai i20) from Hungary.
Compared to the RallyX Nordic opening race weekend in Denmark two weeks ago, the 16-car strong Höljes Supercar starting list saw a few new additions with among others Marcus Grönholm and Jussi Pinomäki’s GRX Set who brought out two of the Hyundai i20’s (for Niclas Grönholm and Krisztián Szabó).
Also two FIA approved electric Rallycross cars were added to the starting list and as such Höljes saw electric powered cars (not eligible for championship points) compete alongside internal combustion-engined cars in the Supercar category – a category that has been renamed/rebranded to ‘Open 4WD’.
Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Fiesta ERX) took the wheel of the by STARD prepared Ford Fiesta ERX that was used last year in the so-called ‘Projekt E’ category. The Finnish Ferratum team, having raced previously in World RX and Projekt E, brought out their electric powered Fiesta ERX for former Finnish Rallycross Champion Henri Haapamäki (Ford Fiesta ERX).
As this third RallyX Nordic round was run as a single day event, three qualifying sessions (instead of four) took place with eventually Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo Mk5) being the top qualifier. The three time FIA World Rallycross Champion was fastest in all of the three qualifying sessions. In Q1 as well as Q2 he beat Krisztián Szabó, second in the intermediate classification, while in Q3 he was quicker than Szabó’s teammate Niclas Grönholm who got classified third in the intermediate standings. The top five was completed by EKS JC’s Enzo Ide (Audi S1), who was third fastest in Q3, and by Olsbergs/MSE’s Fraser McConnell (Ford Fiesta Mk8).
The first Supercar semi-final saw Kristoffersson and Grönholm on the front row and was after the start lead by the first named until a puncture (front right) ruined the Swede his plans. Anton Marklund (VW Polo Mk5), competing for Hedströms Motorsport, won the semi-final after he passed Grönholm when the latter made it in the joker lap section. Fraser McConnell came in third and was also through to the final.
The second semi-final afterwards went to Sondre Evjen (Audi S1) who started from the second row on the grid. He won it ahead of Szabó who finished the semi-final with a damaged front left suspension on his Hyundai. Philip Gehrman (VW Polo Mk5) made it in third.
Both of the electric powered Supercars also qualified for the semi-finals after having qualified as ninth (Bakkerud) and tenth (Haapamäki). Bakkerud, who earlier on the day won his Q2 session, finished fourth in the first semi-final while Haapamäki came in fifth in the second semi-final.
Anton Marklund and Sondre Evjen were sharing the front row for the final. Both of the GRX SET Hyundai’s were placed on the second row while the grid was completed with McConnell and Gehrman on the third row. Evjen went into the lead when the green light was shown ahead of Marklund and Szabó while Grönholm immediately made it into the joker lap section.
In an attempt to stay ahead of Grönholm, Evjen decided to pass through the joker lap section in the second lap however he only joined the pack again as fifth behind Grönholm. Then Marklund was leading it from Szabó until both went into the joker lap section the lap after.
Grönholm eventually became race leader as McConnell went into the joker and kept the lead until the finish. Evjen then passed the finish line as second ahead of Marklund. However, the latter got promoted to second and Szabó to third afterwards as Evjen received a time penalty for track limits and got classified as fifth.
“It wasn’t the easiest win today – it was nerve-wracking,” commented Grönholm after his win on his first appearance in the RallyX Nordic series this season.
“I had the pace to go a little bit quicker but in the end I knew that those ahead hadn’t taken their jokers so I tried to keep the car in one piece and avoid punctures.
“The result is good, but I’m not completely happy with it. We’ve been struggling all day and we need to sit down and find out why.
“On the bright side, we got the win but there were some tough competitors who didn’t make the final. I hope they will on Sunday so we can have a rematch with Johan [Kristoffersson] and Enzo [Ide] and so on. If we can match their pace, I will be a bit happier.”
In the standings after three rounds Kristoffersson (74 points) stays in the lead holding a four-point gap on Sondre Evjen (70 points). Fraser McConnell (66 points) currently holds third place.
In round 3 of the 2021 RallyX Nordic Supercar Lites category victory went to Finn Tommi Hallman (Supercar Lites) who won the final from Nils Andersson (Supercar Lites) and Linus Östlund (Supercar Lites). For Hallman this was already his second win of the season as he remains on top of the standings.
In the Open 2WD class Simon Tiger (BMW E30 Coupé) won his third race in as many events and is leading it in the standings.
Round 4 of the 2021 RallyX Nordic series will be run over two days, according to the four-qualifying-sessions format, and is taking place on Saturday (Q1 and Q2) and Sunday (Q3, Q4, Semi-finals and final).
Supercar (Open 4WD) – Final: 1. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), Hyundai i20; 2. Anton Marklund (S), VW Polo Mk5; 3. Krisztián Szabó (H), Hyundai i20; 4. Fraser McConnell (JAM), Ford Fiesta Mk8; 5. Sondre Evjen (N), Audi S1; 6. Philip Gehrman (S), VW Polo Mk5 – DNF.
Supercar Lites – Final: 1. Tommi Hallman (FIN), Supercar Lites; 2. Nils Andersson (S), Supercar Lites; 3. Linus Östlund (S), Supercar Lites; 4. Martin Enlund (S), Supercar Lites; 5. Martin Jonsson (S), Supercar Lites; 6. Casper Jansson (S), Supercar Lites.
Open 2WD – Final: 1. Simon Tiger (S), BMW E30 Coupé; 2. Mathias Jansson (S), Volvo S40 Mk1; 3. Mikael Persson (S), VW Golf Mk4; 4. Morten Bertelsen (DK), Škoda Fabia Mk1; 5. Lars Englund (S), Porsche 911; 6. Roland Larsamo (S), BMW E46 Coupé – DNF.
Supercar (3/7): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 74; 2. Sondre Evjen (N), 70; 3. Fraser McConnell (JAM) 66; etc.
Supercar Lites (3/7): 1. Tommi Hallman (FIN), 75; 2. Linus Östlund (S), 63; 3. Simon Olofsson (S), 61; etc.
Open 2WD (3/7): 1. Simon Tiger (S), 84; 2. Mathias Jansson (S), 64; 3. Morten Bertelsen (DK), 51; etc.