Former RallyX title-winners Thomas Bryntesson and Johan Kristoffersson claimed a victory each in a double-header weekend of action at the Kouvola Circuit in Finland, for rounds three and four of the 2022 season.
Points leader Kristoffersson took the top qualifier position in round three on Saturday, but lost the lead of the final at the start of the race to Bryntesson. Kristoffersson re-took the lead with a strong joker lap strategy, but when his Volkswagen Polo suffered from broken power steering in the closing stages, he was forced to defend his position hard, Bryntesson finding a way to overtake for the lead on the very last corner to claim his first RallyX victory since the opening round of the 2018 season.
Niclas Grönholm, racing his GRX Hyundai i20 at home in Finland, also overtook Kristoffersson in the last corner, and was temporarily promoted to victory post-race, until a penalty decision for Bryntesson was overturned. Another Finnish driver, Jere Kalliokoski, had an incident with JC Raceteknik Audi S1 drivers Sondre Evjen and Ole Christian Veiby and dropped out of podium contention.
On Sunday, in warm, dry conditions, Kristoffersson overcame a number of gearbox problems through the day to set the fastest time in every session and win his semi-final to start on pole position for the final. Having avoided lap-one drama, the reigning RallyX title-winner held on as Gronholm applied big pressure to the rear of the four-time World Rallycross Champion’s car in the early phase of the race, but Kristoffersson was able to oull an advantage towards the finish. Sondre Evjen completed the podium for the JC Raceteknik team.
Behind, Bryntesson and Veiby were slowed by problems, while YellowSquad driver Yury Belevskiy, who had claimed a fastest time in Q2 in round three and made it into the final in round four on Sunday, crashed out on the opening lap.
Swede Simon Olofsson delivered a dominant performance in the Supercars Lites category driving for the STS RX team. The former champion consistently made the best starts throughout the weekend and took maximum points from his trip to Kouvola to move into the points’ lead. OlsbergsMSE drivers Ole Henry Steinsholt, from Norway, and Finn Jesse Kallio, making a return to the series, both also finished on the podium on both days, Steinsholt taking second in round three, while Kallio reacclimatised to the single-specification Supercar Lites machines throughout the weekend and challenged Olofsson for victory in round four. Heading to rounds five and six in Riga, Olofsson leads the standings ahead of compatriot Martin Enlund and Steinsholt.
Finnish driver Pasi Penttinen delivered a brilliant drive in round three to claim victory in the Crosscar category, ahead of Swede Jimmie Osterberg and another Finn, Marko Vainikka, all racing Speedcar machines in the highly competitive series. In round four, it was a double-podium for the Hallberg Motorsport team, as Oskar Andersson claimed the win, with Patrik Hallberg in third. Joni-Pekka Rajala, who finished fourth in round three, secured second place in round four, before returning to the pre-grid to jump into his car for the Open 2WD category final. With four rounds completed, Norwegian Thomas Eek Murstad heads the Crosscar championship points.
Round two winner Mikael Uitto scored back-to-back wins at his home circuit in the Junior Crosscar division to move into the series lead. Round one winner Lauri Halonen, a local driver to the Kouvola Cicuit, finished second in round three despite technical issues hampering his cause, while it was JC Raceteknik driver Lukas Andersson who finished third in round three then went one place better in the final in round four to claim second. Karl Peder Nordstrand completed the podium on Sunday in the class for the rallycross rising stars of the future.
Datson Finn racer Tuomas Venalainen claimed a first top-level victory in 12 years in round three of the Open 2WD series in an all-Finnish podium, ahead of Joni-Pekka Rajala and Iivari Niemi in a drama-filled final, where a lap one incident ruled the top two drivers from qualifying, Viktor Johansson in his hybrid powered Mercedes 190e and top qualifier Olli Lahti, out of contention. With his Toyota Corolla, Lahti, who had been dominant in qualifying, then fended off the attentions of Rajala and Johansson in the round four final, to claim the win. Johansson leads the points.
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The next two rounds of RallyX take place in Riga, Latvia [July 9-10].