Johan Kristoffersson (RX2e) and Anton Marklund (Ford Fiesta Mk7) were the winners at Mettet (Circuit Jules Tacheny) in Belgium today (August 6) in the FIA RX2e championship and the FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 cars. The RX1e category took not place in Belgium as the FIA investigation into the cause of the fire at Lydden Hill Race Circuit back in July is still going on.
In the RX2e category Kristoffersson was on top of the ranking with fastest times in three of the four qualifying heats. Kevin Hansen (RX2e) with one fastest time was second ahead of RX2e regular Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (RX2e) and Timmy Hansen (RX2e). The next RX2e regular was Nils Andersson (RX2e) ranked as sixth.
The first semi-final was redflagged after Ole Christian Veiby (RX2) rolled his RX2e car. In the re-run only four cars were lined up on the grid. Veiby was not able to start the re-run as well was Pablo Suárez (RX2e) who broke his suspension during the first run of the semi-final. In the second semi-final with the Hansen brothers on the front row and Nils Andersson on the second row Timmy Hansen drove to victory. Nils Andersson managed it to become between the Hansen brothers and finished second ahead of Kevin Hansen. However, the latter got a 5 seconds time penalty for ‘cutting the corners’ setting him back to fourth place in the result in favor of Ole Heny Steinsholt (RX2e) who qualified for the final.
The final of the RX2e category went underway with four RX2e regulars. The front row was occupied by World RX drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen. On the second row Nils Andersson and Marko Muru (RX2e) were placed. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Ole Henry Steinsholt completed the grid on the third row. Kristoffersson won the start when the green light was shown followed by Steinsholt and Andersson after the first turn. Andersson then lost some places after he passed through the joker lap section at the end of the second lap. With Steinsholt passing through it the lap after Timmy Hansen ran second behind Kristoffersson with Åhlin-Kottulinsky third. With Steinsholt passing Åhlin-Kottulinsky when she made it in the joker lap section and Timmy Hansen retiring in the final lap with a broken steering Steinsholt and Åhlin-Kottulinsky came in second and third and completed initially the RX2e podium with winner Kristoffersson. However, after the race Ole Henry Steinsholt got penalized with 12 seconds for ‘repeated side to side contact’ setting him back to fifth place in the final. Åhlin-Kottulinsky got promoted to second in the final result and Marko Muru to third. In the standings, with one more event to come, Nils Andersson (59 points) is leading it from Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (57 points) and Isak Sjökvist (54 points).
In the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 cars fastest times on Sunday were set by Enzo Ide (Audi S1), in the third qualifying heat, and Anton Marklund in the fourth heat. The latter was on top of the ranking ahead of Yury Belevskiy (Audi S1) who set a fastest time on Saturday. Sivert Svardal (VW Polo Mk5) ranked third ahead of Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208) and Ide.
In the first semi-final with Marklund and Svardal on the front row, Enzo Ide jumped the start from the second row and had to pass through the joker lap section twice . This prevented Ide to qualify for the final. Patrick O’Donovan (Peugeot 208), the other second row starter, won it from Marklund and Svardal. Afterwards O’Donovan got a 5 second penalty for ‘pushing and gaining an advantage’ putting him back in fourth place and no longer qualified for the final. Tamás Kárai (Audi S1) was brought in for the final.
In the second semi-final Belevskiy and Baumanis started from the front row. Belevskiy then went straight near the first corner and lost his chance to qualify for the final. Linnemann from he second row went into the lead ahead of Baumanis. With Baumanis passing through the joker lap section in the penultimate lap and Linnemann in the last lap they finished a one-two. Hungarian Zoltán Koncseg (Audi S1) finished third and made it into his first final of the season. Also here time penalties were applied with 10 seconds to Baumanis for ‘changing the line and not respecting the car to his right’ and leaving him out for the final. Hans-Jøran Østreng (Hyundai I20) was brought in for the final.
The front row of the final saw Marklund and Linnemann lined up beside each other. On the second row cars of Svardal and Koncseg were placed. Østreng and Kárai completed the grid on last row. Marklund won the start from Linnemann with Kárai making it in third after turn one. These positions were the same in the end with Marklund winning his first race this season and Kárai scoring his second podium this season. Koncseg finished fourth with Østreng the last finisher in fifth. Svardal was forced to retire with a broken steering. With one more race to come and with 23 championship points for grabs Marklund holds a comfortable 20-point-lead in the championship standings over Baumanis.
The next event takes place at the Estering in Germany in 14 days time (August 19-20) with final rounds in the FIA RX2e Championship as well as in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 and RX3 cars.
RX2e – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), RX2e; 2. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S), RX2e; 3. Marko Muru (EST), RX2e; 4. Nils Andersson (S), RX2e; 5. Ole Henry Steinsholt (N), RX2e; 6. Timmy Hansen (S), RX2e – DNF.
Euro RX1 – Final: 1. Anton Marklund (S), Ford Fiesta Mk7; 2. Ulrik Linnemann (DK), VW Polo Mk5; 3. Tamás Kárai (H), Audi S1; 4. Zoltán Koncseg (H), Audi S1; 5. Hans-Jøran Østreng (N), Hyundai i20; 6. Sivert Svardal (N), VW Polo Mk5 – DNF.
RX2e (4/5): 1. Nils Andersson (S), 59; 2. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (S), 57; 3. Isak Sjökvist (S), 54; 4. Viktor Vranckx (B), 44; 5. Ole Henry Steinsholt (N), 42; etc.
Euro RX1 (5/6): 1. Anton Marklund (S), 84; 2. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 64; 3. Enzo Ide (B), 63; 4. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 60; 5. Tamás Kárai (H), 48; etc.