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15 Jun 2013

RX: Hell ain’t a bad place to be!

Category: ERC, News Posted 15.06.13 23:55 by

Hell in Norway is hosting the 400th ERC round in history. Day 1 was clearly dominated by homeboy Petter Solberg who set the fastest times in practice as well as in both, the first and the second qualifying heats.

 

Petter Solberg: “Mister Always Optimistic” arrived in Hell in the usual good mood, the loss of the almost safe European round of Kouvola in Finland was already considered a finished case. RallycrossRX Round 5 weekend started for him on Friday with a fun competition Tora Berger vs Petter Solberg. The Norwegian biathlete, who claimed a total of eight World championship gold medals and one Olympic gold medal so far, won the “shoot-out at the Lånkebanen” from the 2003 Rally World Champion by two seconds. “Hollywood” was of course the faster driver of the pair in his former Citroën Xsara World Rally Car, but he did not hit a single target during the shooting and, therefore, had to do no less than five penalty loops…

In free practice “Hollywood” was for a while the fastest driver, but all of a sudden there were several of the young dudes in front of him. However, the old fox went out one more time just before practice was due to be finished, only to restore the previous following order by beating the youngsters Timmy Hansen, Mats Lysen, Alexander Hvaal, Andreas Bakkerud, Daniel Holten and Anton Marklund down to the places 2 to 7. In Heat 1 the 2003 World Rally Champion claimed the fastest time again, ahead of his two compatriots Andreas Bakkerud and Alexander Hvaal. Heat 2 ended with another fastest time for the extrovert Norwegian, second and third place here were bagged by Briton Liam Doran and Russian Timur Timerzyanov. “I haven’t really pushed like I wanted to today in order to save the car and the tyres,” said Petter afterwards. “My plan was to take it a little bit slower than I did in Finland, but the problem is that I’m bored driving like this! Sure, it paid off to have two good clean heats without any major problems, but tomorrow I’m going to be even quicker. I’m really happy with what’s been a great first day to this event: so far it’s been perfect.”

Tommy Rustad: The Rallycross returnee had been offered to drive the ex-Ludvig Hunsbedt Volvo C30/4 SuperCar in the Norwegian and the Swedish RallycrossRX rounds. The former circuit racer adopted quickly to the 550+bhp vehicle and finished as sixth fastest in Heat 1, although he produced a poor start and made another mistake that allowed Timur Timerzyanov to pass him. In Heat 2 he was on his way to possibly an even better result when in the last lap the right front suspension gave up and the wheel went out of control. Rustad made it to the chequered flag, nevertheless, claimed the eighth fastest time here and is currently fifth.

Liam Doran: “Massive rookie error in Heat 1, forgot to do the Joker. Came back strong to finish second overall in Heat 2. It’s really tough to come back from a bad heat result so I am really happy with Day 1.”

Mats Lysen: The new Renault Clio Mk3 with 5-cylinder engine [based on a block that was used in the 5-cylinder Renault Safrane of the early 1990s] of the young Norwegian was completed on Friday afternoon only. Mats was pleasantly surprised with it and proved with his third fastest time in free practice that there is a great potential in the car. Unfortunately, the Renault campaigner was hampered by a flat tyre in both qualifying heats, thereby scoring with a 19th and a 12th fastest time two poor results. In the overnight standings the Norwegian is 18th only yet, but he hopes to reach a place in the Semi-Finals by doing better in the remaining two heats.

Others: During Heat 2 the Lånkebanen became a true tyre killer. Beside those already mentioned it was Timmy Hansen and Alexander Hvaal of Hansen Motorsport whose times were messed up doe to flat tyres. Hvaal later: “Good first heat with a third time! Second heat not so good, got a flat tyre out of nowhere! Got some catching up to do! But I know we drive fast, so I hope for some good times tomorrow!” Henning Solberg, for the second time driving an Eklund Motorsport Saab 9-3 SuperCar, was hampered by a puncture and Morten Bermingrud suffered from two flat tyres. Swede Peter Hedström, after the split with Norwegian Knut Ove Børseth using himself the ex-Michael Jernberg Škoda Fabia Mk2 again, was hindered by a driveshaft failure.

Super 1600s: While Dane Ulrik Linnemann marked the fastest time in practice the first qualifying run was claimed by Swede Kevin Eriksson, the son of OlsbergsMSE Principal Andréas Eriksson, even so the Renault Clio driver of the Set Promotion team has his left hand bandaged after an injury. Reinis Nitišs was the fastest in Heat 2, thereby topping the intermediate following order after Saturday. Behind the Latvian, who has currently just 3 points, Linnemann and Eriksson sharing second place with 6 points each.

TouringCars: In the RWD category the whole Saturday was ruled by 2011 European champion Lars Øivind Enerberg. The Norwegian Ford Fiesta Mk6 campaigner set the fastest times in practice, in the first and also in the second qualifying heats to conclude Day 1 at an optimum. Norwegian Opel Corsa D driver Ole Håbjørg is in second place here, Irishman Derek Tohill holds third place with his Mk7 Fiesta.

JRX Cup: With four starters in Hell the whole racing of the JRX Cup youngsters took place on Friday and Saturday. Swede William Nilsson bagged his third consecutive victory, taking advantage from problems of leading Kevin Hansen who dropped down to second position while Magda Andersson made it to third place.

 

 

More pictures to be found in our Gallery here.

 

Situation in SuperCars after Day 1 here.

Situation in Super1600s after Day 1 here.

Situation in TouringCars after Day 1 here.

 

 

Day 1 video highlights.