After having won the opening round of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship defending champion Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) won the second round of the series today (June 18) at Hell in Norway. He beat in the final of ‘World RX of Norway’ Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) and Timo Scheider (SEAT Ibiza RX1e). In the FIA RX2e Championship Isak Sjökvist (RX2e) won the opening round. In the FIA European Rallycross Championships for RX1 and RX3 cars victories were respectively for Sivert Svardal (VW Polo Mk5) and Nils Volland (Audi A1).
Johan Kristoffersson won it all yesterday during the first day of competition. Today he continued at the same pace with first setting a fastest time in the third heat followed by another one in the fourth heat. Therefore the Swede was once more on top of the ranking. However, during the fourth heat on Sunday an incident took place between Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) and Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e), teammate of Kristoffersson, leading to a DNF for Hansen (and out for the rest of the event) and a DSQ for Veiby in the fourth heat. Hansen was trying to pass Veiby on the inside with Veiby not leaving any space and pushing Hansen more or less off the track. The Stewards of the Meeting decided to disqualify Veiby from the fourth heat for “Side to Side Contact – Not respecting the driver on his right side”.
The first World RX semi-final was lined-up with Kristoffersson and Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) on the front row. The second row was occupied by Sébastien Loeb (Lancia Delta Evo-e RX) and Timo Scheider while Guerlain Chicherit (Lancia Delta Evo-e RX) completed the grid on the third row. Hansen damaged his Peugeot in a first corner incident immediately after the start and was soon out of the running for a spot in the final. Kristoffersson won it with Scheider finishing second and qualifying for his first final this season. Loeb came in third and made it to his second final this season.
The second semi-final had Grönholm on the front row with Veiby besides him taking the place of Timmy Hansen who was unable to start following the earlier incident with Veiby. The second row had Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) and Gustav Bergström (VW Polo RX1e). From the four cars only one needed to be eliminated and that was Bergström in this case. Grönholm won the semi-final with Veiby and Andersson finishing second and third.
In the final, with Kristoffersson and Grönholm on the front row, Veiby and Scheider on the second row and Loeb and Andersson on third row, Kristoffersson had the better start ahead of Grönholm and Scheider. He led the final from lights to flag to score his second win of the season. Behind the Swede Loeb passed through the joker lap section in the beginning of the second lap but that strategy didn’t pay off. Gönholm was eventually ‘best of the rest’ and came in second ahead of Scheider and Andersson. Veiby and Loeb were the last finishers in five and six. However the Stewards of the Meeting disqualified Veiby from the final on Sunday night when his car was found with a weight not conform to the regulations.
In the FIA RX2e championship Isak Sjökvist was holding the overnight lead with two fastest times and a second fastest time on Saturday. Today defending champion Viktor Vranckx (RX2e) drove to the fastest time in the fourth heat to finish third in the ranking behind Sjökvist and Nils Andersson (RX2e) and ahead of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (RX2e). Therefore the Belgian was in the first semi-final that he started from the front row. However steering issues in the opening lap resulted in a DNF and left him out for the final. Sjökvist won it from Pablo Suárez (RX2e) and Cristina Gutiérrez (RX2e). Then from the second semi-final Andersson, Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Filip Thorén (RX2e) made it to the final.
In that final Sjökvist and Anderson were placed on the front row, Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Suárez on the second row while the grid was completed by Gutiérrez and Thorén. Sjökvist had the better start and led the final from lights to flag with Andersson running second all the time. Åhlin-Kottulinsky finished on the podium in her first RX2e event completing a 100% Swedish podium.
In the FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 cars there was a victory for local hero Sivert Svardal. Svardal was placed eighth after the heats and started in the second semi-final on the second row to come in second behind Patrick O’Donovan (Peugeot 208). On top of the ranking was Anton Marklund (Ford Fiesta Mk7). He won afterwards also his semi-final from Enzo Ide (Audi S1) and Tamás Kárai (Audi S1). Taking third place finisher in the second semi-final Mandie August (SEAT Ibiza Mk4) the line up for the RX1 final was complete. In the final Svardal, from the second row, managed it to come out of turn one leading the field. He was closely followed by Marklund and Kárai. Behind Svardal Marklund and Kárai battled it out eventually won by the Swede. Mandie August was the last finisher in four. Patrick O’Donovan, who got lapped, was classified fifth ahead of Enzo Ide.
In the RX3 category Nils Volland was on top of the ranking after the set fastest times in all of the qualifying heats. Second in the ranking was Espen Isaksætre (Audi A1) who set four times a second fastest time. Then the German was out on the track in the first semi-final that he won from Damian Litwinowicz (Audi A1) and Martin Kjær (Škoda Fabia Mk3). Isaksætre won the second semi-final with Jens Hvaal (Škoda Fabia Mk3) and Estonian Siim Saluri (Renault Twingo Mk2) the other qualifiers. In the final with Volland and Isaksætre on the front row and Litwinowicz and Hvaal on the second row the first named had the better start and went into the lead ahead of the other Drivers Isaksætre and Litwinowicz. An error of Isaksætre in the opening lap allowed Litwinowicz to move into second by the end of the first lap. The positions didn’t change and the leaders went into the joker lap in the final lap with Volland scoring his first European victory. After two wins in the previous events Litwinowicz now finishes second. Isaksætre completed another Volland Racing podium by coming in third. In the championship Litwinowicz remains in the lead.
The next round of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place in two weeks time (July 1-2) at Höljes in Sweden.
World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e; 2. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 3. Timo Scheider (D), SEAT Ibiza RX1e; 4. Klara Andersson (S), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 5. Sébastien Loeb (F), Lancia Delta Evo-e RX; 6. Ole Christian Veiby (N), VW Polo RX1e – DSQ.
World RX Team: 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 33; 2. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 30; 3. Special One Racing (F), 20; 4. Hansen World RX Team (S), 14.
RX2e – Final: 1. Isak Sjökvist (S), RX2e; 2. Nils Andersson (S), RX2e; 3. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S), RX2e; 4. Pablo Suárez (E), RX2e; 5. Cristina Gutiérrez (E), RX2e; 6. Filip Thorén (S), RX2e – DNF.
Euro RX1 – Final: 1. Sivert Svardal (N), VW Polo Mk5; 2. Anton Marklund (S), Ford Fiesta Mk7; 3.Tamás Kárai (H), Audi S1; 4. Mandie August (D), SEAT Ibiza Mk4; 5. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), Peugeot 208 – DNF; 6. Enzo Ide (B), Audi S1 – DNF.
Euro RX3 – Final: 1. Nils Volland (D), Audi A1; 2. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), Audi A1; 3. Espen Isaksætre (N), Audi A1; 4. Jens Hvaal (N), Škoda Fabia Mk3; 5. Martin Kjaer (N), Škoda Fabia Mk3; 6. Siim Saluri (EST), Renault Twingo Mk2.
World RX (2/10): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 46; 2. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 33; 3. Kevin Hansen (S), 24; 4. Klara Andersson (S), 23; 5. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 22; etc.
World RX Team (2/10): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 68; 2. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 56; 3. Hansen World RX Team (S), 40; 4. Special One Racing (F), 28.
RX2e (1/5): 1. Isak Sjökvist (S), 23; 2. Nils Andersson (S), 18; 3. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S), 13; 4. Pablo Suárez (E), 12; 5. Cristina Gutiérrez (E), 11; etc.
Euro RX1 (3/6): 1. Enzo Ide (B), 48; 2. Anton Marklund (S), 47; 3. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 44; 4. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 37; 5. René Münnich (D), 34; etc.
Euro RX3 (3/5): 1. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), 62; 2. Espen Isaksætre (N), 50; 3. Nils Volland (D), 44; 4. Jens Hvaal (N), 33; 5. Balász Kőrmőczi (H), 23; etc.