While the Finnish contingent will once again be among the favourites in the CrossCar and Junior CrossCar categories, the next RallyX stage in Kouvola will see the addition of new competitors that the permanent drivers of the Scandinavian series will have to watch out for.
Starting with Jere Kalliokoski and his Ford Fiesta. The three-time Finnish Supercar champion will once again be one of the main contenders in rounds 5 and 6 of the 2023 season.
“The two test sessions we were able to complete with the Ford Fiesta proved to be successful,” notes Kalliokoski.
“I feel good behind the wheel of the car and I don’t hide the fact that this RallyX stage in Kouvola is one of the main objectives of my season. That’s why we were able to schedule a day of testing at Kouvola before the RallyX event. We are simply aiming for a podium finish”.
Juha Rytkönen, who finished on the podium at Kouvola in 2020 in the World Rallycross Championship, will also be one of the candidates to watch closely in Supercar. Last year, his only international appearance ended with a second place at Spa-Francorchamps in the European Rallycross Championship.
Meanwhile, Mikko Ikonen will start the event in the ex-Gronholm RX Hyundai i20 with which he won the first round of the Finnish Rallycross Championship at Ahvenisto last weekend.
Winner of two of the three qualifying rounds, Ikonen boosted his confidence by achieving a maximum score of 30 points.
“I haven’t really had time to drive much in the last few seasons as I have only competed in a total of five races in four years. I’m not really happy with my driving yet. I’m still a bit rusty but to start the season with a win is a good thing.
Two years after his double podium finish in the Supercar Lites category at Oulu Zone, Jonne Ollikainen will be racing in the premier class for the first time in his career.
In the Open 2WD category, no less than 20 drivers are expected to take part in the Kouvola event. Respectively winners of Race 1 and Race 2 last year, Tuomas Venalainen and Olli Lahti will be putting their victories on the line again.
In 2022, the Finnish drivers dominated the Open 2WD class as only RallyX 2022 champion Viktor Johansson was able to finish third in Race 2.
The legendary Joni-Pekka Rajala will also be back in business, having scored back-to-back podiums in Open 2WD in May 2022. In addition to the Open 2WD category, Rajala will be looking for a strong result in the CrossCar category.
A mix of styles that the Finn is very fond of. Indeed, last weekend in the Finnish championship, Rajala took the opportunity to sign no less than four podiums in the four categories in which he was competing.
All the action at Kouvola will be broadcast live on the RallyX TV YouTube channel, with Round 5 getting underway on Saturday, May 27 and Round 6 taking place on Sunday, May 28.