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05 Jul 2013

1993: Apropos Höljes…

Category: Miscellaneous, News Posted 05.07.13 12:00 by

The FIA European Rallycross Championship returns to the Höljesbanan in Sweden for another ‘Magic Weekend’. Prior to its start ERC24 looks back to the 1993 European round here that saw an all Swedish winners podium in SuperCars.

 

In 1991 Höljes hosted its first ever European Rallycross Championship round. After the Kinnekulle Ring near Götene organised the 1992 ERC event, the championship returned to the Höljesbanan the following year. It was the first season after the Group B era [1987–1992] had ended, and almost all the Division 2 drivers had brand-new ‘Rallycross Specials’, based on cars homologated in Group A.

“Mister Rallycross” Martin Schanche endured a terrible weekend, with two broken engines in his Ford Escort RS2000 4×4. In Saturday’s practice his ‘German engine’ collapsed with a burnt piston, and then his ‘English engine’ literally exploded during the second qualifying heat on Sunday. Unfortunately this put the Norwegian out of the event some hours before the finals.

Reigning European champion Will Gollop had similar problems. While hurling his new Peugeot 309 GTi 4×4 around the circuit, his engine called also it a day, setting his car on fire in spectacular fashion. Just like Schanche, the Englishman had no chance to get another engine in time for the Finnish ERC round the following weekend.

Jean-Luc Pailler, who would later go on to claim the 1993 European title, arrived with huge respect for Höljes. But while “JLP” worried that his Citroën BX GTI 4×4’s unique hydropneumatic suspension wouldn’t survive the famous Höljesbanan jump, it was actually the drive-shafts that put him out of the running. Cracking several over the weekend, the last one gave up in the B final, forcing Pailler to throw in the towel immediately after the start.

Tommy Kristoffersson drove his Audi Coupé S2, here powered by a 20-valve IMSA engine again, to two fastest times in qualifying and pole position in the all important A final. However, despite his best efforts he was unable to stop Kenneth Hansen, at the wheel of a Citroën ZX 16V 4×4, from taking victory. “Tommy K.” was forced to settle for second place, with Michael Jernberg driving his Ford Escort Cosworth Xtrac to third place.

As if a complete Swedish podium wasn’t enough, Per Eklund powered his Subaru Legacy 4WD to fourth place, giving the almost 18,000 spectators a very much appreciated one to four Swedish result. Briton Pat Doran and Norwegian Martin Iversen scored fifth and sixth place respectively, both driving a Ford Escort RS Cosworth each.

In Division 1, by then open to four-wheel driven Group N cars, Norwegian Eivind Opland made good use of his Nissan Sunny GTI-R to claim victory from his fellow-countryman Ludvig Hunsbedt and Czech Pavel Koutný, both with Ford Escort RS Cosworth each.

1993 was the first year of the ERA 1400cc Cup, the “newcomer’s class” was not officially recognised by FIA before 1995. The Swedish round of the new series was won by homeboy Björn Ohlsson in a Citroën AX Sport, while Czech Pavel Novotný (Citroën AX Sport) made it to second and Dane Peter Købke Nielsen (Rover Metro GTi) to third place.