- Norway’s forests await Nordic competitors to kick-start second half of season
- Three-way title fight heating up in headlining Supercar class
- Local heroes Gundersen and Holmen set for wheel-to-wheel Supercar Lites duel
- Semi-finals and finals to be broadcast live and worldwide via Facebook
The dust has barely settled on a pulsating scrap in Riga three days ago, but RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires competitors are already gearing up for this weekend’s fast-approaching Finnskogbanen showdown in Norway (27/28 July) – the latest instalment in a gripping championship battle.
Three-way title tussle
Robin Larsson’s Latvian victory blew the Supercar class title race wide open, with only five points now blanketing the top three contenders in the chase for the coveted crown. Olsbergs MSE’s Oliver Eriksson still leads the way courtesy of his two early-season triumphs, but with a reduced margin of just three points over ultra-consistent ‘Flying Finn’ Jere Kalliokoski, the championship’s ‘quiet man’ continuing to go from strength-to-strength with every round.
And then, of course, there is Larsson, whose Latvian result finally confirmed the pace and potential the Swede has shown all season. The JC Raceteknik man is in a rich vein of form off the back of his Nordic and EuroRX successes, and another win this weekend could just catapult him to the top of the table.
“Riga was the first time in RallyX Nordic this year that things properly went our way,” reflected the former FIA World Rallycross Championship event winner, EuroRX Champion and current European Championship leader. “It proved what we are capable of, and now we need to carry that momentum forward to Norway. Finnskogbanen is a real old-school, classic rallycross track – all about speed, commitment and balls-out bravery – and I can’t wait to see how we shape up!”
In the second OMSE Honda Civic, Ulrik Linnemann has been repeatedly beset by ill-fortune in 2019 but when he has had a clean run, the Dane has proved to be almost a match for team-mate Eriksson, while Philip Gehrman is another who has snuck ‘under the radar’ but is a consistent threat for podium places.
Amongst the high-calibre, 13-strong Supercar field will be four locals, with Fredrik Magnussen, Stene Johansen, Mario Hansen and Svein Roger Andersen all eager to channel home advantage and put on a spectacular show for the partisan crowd.
Spotlight on Supercar Lites
On the subject of locals, they don’t get much more local than Supercar Lites title-chasers Ben-Philip Gundersen (Kjellmyra) and Thomas Holmen (Flisa), both of whom grew up barely a stone’s throw away from Finnskogbanen.
Gundersen arrives fresh off the back of victories in the most recent two rounds at Nysum and Biķernieki, and holding a 14-point advantage over countryman and JC Raceteknik stablemate Sondre Evjen in the drivers’ standings. Höljes winner Holmen is similarly in touch in fourth position, and he and Gundersen are sure to benefit from the lion’s share of support.
“Finnskogbanen is literally 20 minutes down the road from me, so I really will be competing ‘at home’ this weekend,” acknowledged Holmen. “We’ve been a bit out of luck since winning the first round of the season, but hopefully we can get back on-track and really give the local fans something to cheer about.
“There’s a lot of passion for rallycross in this part of the country and it’s a fantastic track both to drive and spectate at, so I’m looking forward to seeing a big crowd and I hope everybody is ready for some awesome racing!”
OMSE’s Linus Östlund is the sole non-Norwegian interloper in the top four – just a single point behind Evjen – and the Swede has enjoyed a strong campaign to-date, with three rostrum finishes from four starts. Lars Erik Haug and Hans-Ola Frøshaug complete the homegrown contingent.
The racing in the supporting CrossCar category has been action-packed since the beginning of the season, and heading to Finnskogbanen, it is a sextet of speedy Swedes at the top of the order – but Norwegian interest will be focussed firmly on the five homegrown drivers, who make up a third of the entry list.
Tony Sormbroen (Flisa), Terje Bredesen (Gjesåsen) and Nikolai Haldammen (Kongsvinger) are the most ‘local’ of the locals, and will be aiming to put their specialist knowledge to good use to shake up the Swedish hegemony in the fiercely competitive single-make series.
The racing will run from 16h00-16h50 (local time) on Saturday and 11h00-16h50 on Sunday. Weekend tickets are available to purchase on-site during the event, priced at 300 NOK.
For those unable to get to the track, every RallyX Nordic event in 2019 will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/rallyxnordic and www.rallyx.se/rallyx-tv, with live coverage of the semi-finals and finals also set to be broadcast on Viasat in Norway and throughout the Baltic regions on TV6 Latvia.
|4||Robin Larsson||SWE||JC Raceteknik|
|9||Christer Dalmans||SWE||Hedströms Motorsport|
|11||Jere Kalliokoski||FIN||Kalliokoski Motorsport|
|12||Fredrik Magnussen||NOR||Fredrik Magnussen|
|16||Oliver Eriksson||SWE||Olsbergs MSE|
|17||Mats Öhman||SWE||JC Raceteknik|
|50||Svein Roger Andersen||NOR||Andersen Motorsport|
|61||Andreas Carlsson||SWE||Andreas Carlsson Rallycross|
|72||Ulrik Linnemann||DNK||Olsbergs MSE|
|77||Stene Johansen||NOR||Johansen Motorsport|
|86||Mario Hansen||NOR||Olsbergs MSE|
|88||Daniel Thorén||SWE||Hedströms Motorsport|
|95||Philip Gehrman||SWE||Gehrman Motorsport AB|
|2||Ben-Philip Gundersen||NOR||JC Raceteknik|
|11||Mats Oskarsson||SWE||Oskarsson Motorsport|
|12||Anders Michalak||SWE||Michalak Motorsport|
|18||Linus Östlund||SWE||Olsbergs MSE|
|33||Lars Erik Haug||NOR||Haug Rallycross Team|
|52||Simon Olofsson||SWE||Simon Olofsson|
|54||Petter Nårsa||SWE||Öhman Motorsport|
|56||Thomas Holmen||NOR||Thomas Holmen|
|69||Sondre Evjen||NOR||JC Raceteknik|
|90||Jimmie Walfridson||SWE||JC Raceteknik|
|91||Niklas Aneklev||SWE||Olsbergs MSE|
|99||Hans-Ola Frøshaug||NOR||JC Raceteknik|
|6||Martin Enlund||SWE||Enlunds Motorsport|
|8||Jonas Ericsson||SWE||SSD Swespeed|
|11||Jimmie Österberg||SWE||Österberg Motorsport|
|14||Nils Andersson||SWE||NA Motorsport|
|20||Julius Ljungdahl||SWE||Yellow Squad by Hansen|
|21||Lars Söderström||SWE||SSD Swespeed|
|31||Jan Emil Wilsberg||NOR||Jan Emil Wilsberg|
|43||Tony Sormbroen||NOR||Tony Sormbroen|
|50||Terje Bredesen||NOR||Terje Bredesen|
|85||Petter Hane||SWE||Petter Hane|
|170||Isak Reiersen||SWE||JC Raceteknik Junior Team|
|175||Timmy Enlund||SWE||Enlunds Motorsport|
|181||Markus Gimle Enger||NOR||Markus Gimle Enger|
|888||Nikolai Haldammen||NOR||Nikolai Haldammen|