Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo Mk5) won on Saturday evening (June 5) the fifth round of the 2021 RallyX Nordic series at OuluZone – a track visited for the first time by the series and new for most of the non-finnish competitors – located about 35 km from Oulu in Central Finland. For Kristoffersson it was his second win in this years series after he was already victorious in a round in Nysum in Denmark a month ago.
Twelve Supercars (including local drivers) were on the starting list for the Saturday event. After the three qualifying sessions Niclas Grönholm (Hyundai i20) was topping the intermediate classification. The Finn set the fastest time in Q1 while Johan Kristoffersson had to deal with technical issues during Q1 and got only classified as 12th. With fastest times in Q2 and Q3 the Swede eventually claimed second place in the intermediate standings. Jere Kalliokoski (Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST) and Sondre Evjen (Audi S1) were respectively third and fourth after qualifying.
Grönholm and Kalliokoski met each other on the front row in the first semi-final and both made it through to the final after a one-two finish. Anders Michalak (VW Polo Mk5) came in third and was the other qualifier for the final. Michalak was the only Hedströms Motorsport driver in Finland as Lars Andersson did not yet made it back to racing since his accident in round three at Höljes in Sweden.
Afterwards Kristoffersson won the second semi-final from pole. The battle for the remaining spots in the final was among others between Juha Rytkönen (Ford Fiesta Mk7) and Olsbergs/MSE’s Fraser McConnell (Ford Fiesta Mk8) who both passed through the joker lap section in the opening lap of the semi-final. McConnell managed it to come in second. Following a track limits infringement when he was overtaking Rytkönen, McConnell received a time penalty from the Stewards of the Meeting and was set back to fifth place in the semi-final result. Sondre Evjen joined Kristoffersson and Rytkönen to the final.
In the final Grönholm and Kristoffersson went side by side towards the first turn. After turn one Grönholm was leading it from Kristoffersson until the Finn was facing a puncture – front left – in the second lap. This allowed Jere Kalliokoski to move into second until he was facing a puncture – front right – as well. Then Sondre Evjen was holding second place in the race until he was passing through the joker lap section. The Norwegian joined the main track again behind Juha Rytkönen who passed through the joker lap section in the beginning of the final. Kristoffersson scored his second win in this years RallyX Nordic series with Rytkönen and Evjen joining the Swede on the OuluZone podium.
“I wasn’t far off making that move stick on Niclas [Grönholm] in the final,” Kristoffersson said after the final. “Halfway through it, I thought I had him but he had great pace on the exit of turn one. I was maybe a couple of kilometres too fast on the way in, but I knew I had to try it – that was my best chance to beat him today. I had a plan and I executed it, but Niclas did a great job.
“After that I didn’t give up, because you never know. I tried to apply pressure and not let Niclas [Grönholm] drive too safely, especially over the bump in turn two. Unfortunately for him, he picked up a puncture while I managed to avoid it. From then on, it was about controlling the gap back to Rytkönen without taking any risks.”
Today’s result leaves Kristoffersson 25 points clear of Evjen with just two rounds remaining while Evjen’s third place sees him jump Fraser McConnell in the overall points standings.
In Supercar Lites Tommi Hallman (Supercar Lites) was on top of the intermediate classification. He then won his semi-final and won the final from pole. Nils Andersson (Supercar Lites) finished second ahead of Finn Jonne Ollikainen (Supercar Lites). Hallman is now leading the series standings with 22 points on Nils Andersson.
In the Open 2WD category, series points leader Simon Tiger (BMW E30 Coupé) received competition during the event of local driver Tuomas Venäläinen (Datsun Finn). Both were first and second in the intermediate classification and therefore were lined up on the front row for the final. Unfortunately for Venäläinen he jumped the start and consequently was forced to pass twice through the joker lap section. Tiger scored his fifth win in as many events and extends his lead in the series standings.
The action continues on Sunday when round six of the 2021 RallyX Nordic series gets underway.
Supercar (Open 4WD) – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo Mk5; 2. Juha Rytkönen (FIN), Ford Fiesta Mk7; 3. Sondre Evjen (N), Audi S1; 4. Anders Michalak (S), VW Polo Mk5; 5. Jere Kalliokoski (FIN), Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST; 6. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), Hyundai i20 – DNF.
Supercar Lites – Final: 1. Tommi Hallman (FIN), Supercar Lites; 2. Nils Andersson (S), Supercar Lites; 3. Jonne Ollikainen (FIN), Supercar Lites; 4. Isak Sjökvist (S), Supercar Lites; 5. Niklas Aneklev (S), Supercar Lites; 6. Martin Jonsson (S), Supercar Lites.
Open 2WD – Final: 1. Simon Tiger (S), BMW E30 Coupé; 2. Marcus Norman (S), Mazda RX-8; 3. Mathias Jansson (S), Volvo S40 Mk1; 4. Antti Väre (FIN), Ford Fiesta Mk6; 5. Raimo Kauttio (FIN), Ford Escort Mk7; 6. Tuomas Venäläinen (FIN), Datsun Finn.
Supercar (5/7): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 121; 2. Sondre Evjen (N) 100; 3. Fraser McConnell (JAM), 98; etc.
Supercar Lites (5/7): 1. Tommi Hallman (FIN), 131; 2. Nils Andersson (S), 109; 3. Linus Östlund (S), 96; etc.
Open 2WD (5/7): 1. Simon Tiger (S), 131; 2. Mathias Jansson (S), 102; 3. Morten Bertelsen (DK), 69; etc.