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06 Jul 2014

WRX: ‘TT’ leads ‘Eki’ & ‘Hollywood’

Category: News, WRX Posted 06.07.14 02:00 by

Day 1 of the ‘Magic Weekend’ at Höljes in Värmland ended with the overnight standings topped by reigning European champion Timur Timerzyanov, ahead of homeboy Mattias Ekström and Petter Solberg.

 

For those of you readers who have never been to the place: Höljes is a tiny village with a population of just about 130 people in the so-called Finnwoods of the far north of Sweden’s province Värmland. It’s situated just off the road from Karlstad to Trysyl in Norway, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. When the Höljesbanan in 1991 hosted its first of eventually 18 ERC rounds the village had almost double the amount of inhabitants, but is losing more and more of its population. However, once a year Höljes grows to a “city” with 25,000+ people gathering for the ‘Magic Weekend’. A kind of mixture of the 1969 Woodstock love & peace music festival and the annual 24 Hours Nürburgring race. Last year there were 29,200 spectators at the venue, as usual lots of them from Norway, this year the organisers expect about 40,000 people to attend tomorrow’s WorldRX event.

 

The tiny village of Höljes has a population of under 150 people. © JKR/ERC24

The tiny village of Höljes has a population of under 150 people. © JKR/ERC24

 

But at the first weekend in July of every year 25,000+ people gather at the Höljes Motorstadion. © JKR/ERC24

But at the first weekend in July of every year 25,000+ people gather at the Höljes Motorstadion. © JKR/ERC24

 

The 'Magic Weekend' is a big party and must go event in Sweden. © JKR/ERC24

The ‘Magic Weekend’ is a big party and must go event in Sweden. © JKR/ERC24

 

The 2008 ERC round with its 46 entries is still holding the entry record for SuperCars at Höljes, while the 2010 ERC round with its 38 starters in SuperCars must share that record from now on with the 2014 ‘Magic Weekend’, after a total of 38 SuperCar racers have lined up at the Höljes Motorstadion today. Missing from this year’s 42 entries are Briton Andy Scott, Swede Mats Öhman, Pole Bohdan Ludwiczak and Finn Atro Määttä.

Prior to the race it was made known that Norwegian Alexander Hvaal has split up with his compatriot Petter Solberg to race his 2013 Hansen Motorsport Citroën DS3 SuperCar again. Hvaal has complained before that the 2013 DS3 of Petter Solberg did not suit his own driving style and after four WRX rounds pulled the plug when Finland brought him another poor result. For Sweden and Belgium Hvaal is still part of PSRX for the team championship countings, but from Canada on he shall be replaced by one or different to be named driver(s). Team Principal Petter Solberg stated on Friday morning to the press: “This weekend PSRX is also set to start with two cars for the team championship, but Alexander Hvaal has decided to run his own Rallycross car in the next two races (Höljes and Mettet), after the expected results are missing so far this season. I wish Alex luck, it’s been nice to have him in the team, and it will be interesting to see his further development.”

 

Highflyer Matthias Ekström is doing very well with his Audi S1 SuperCar. © JKR/ERC24

Highflyer Matthias Ekström is doing very well with his Audi S1 SuperCar. © JKR/ERC24

 

Petter Solberg flew his DS3 to the fastest time in Heat 1, but was hampered by a puncture in Heat 2. © JKR/ERC24

Petter Solberg flew his DS3 to the fastest time in Heat 1, but was hampered by a puncture in Heat 2. © JKR/ERC24

 

Saturday, or Day 1, saw Petter Solberg setting the fastest time in the two hours long Open Practice sessions. With a time of 43.143s the Norwegian was half a second faster than Johan Kristoffersson, the Swede made it to second place in 43.663s. Third fastest was current championship leader Reini Nitišs, whose fastest lap was clocked with 44.027s. Fourth, fifth and sixth fastest were Swede Timmy Hansen (44.042s), his compatriot Mattias Ekström (44.091s) and Finn Toomas Heikkinen (44.189s) to complete the top half-a-dozen.

For Heat 1 Petter Solberg kept his good form to set FTD with 3:00.855m, ahead of Mattias Ekström in 3:02.166m and Timur Timerzyanov in 3:02.804m. Reigning European champ ‘TT’ turned the tables in Heat 2, with 3:01.971m pipping the Swedish youngster and WorldRX debutant Sebastian Eriksson to second place with 3:04.501m. Mattias Ekström (member of the organising club Finnskoga MK) was again fast on home soil, reaching the chequered flag in third place with 3:04.936.

Timur Timerzyanov later: “I’m so happy to be here – we really need a podium spot this weekend. I had a very good first heat and made no mistakes. Then in the second heat, I was off the line quickly and then drove my own speed. Being out front really helped because I avoided the trouble behind me. The car is going much better after Finland – we changed some of the settings and tomorrow I just need to avoid punctures.”

 

The famous Höljes jump is often the place for tough fights. © JKR/ERC24

The famous Höljes jump is often the place for tough fights. © JKR/ERC24

 

Irishman Derek Tohill (Citroën DS3) and Swede Lukas Walfridsson (Renault Clio Mk3) battle it out... © JKR/ERC24

Irishman Derek Tohill (Citroën DS3) and Swede Lukas Walfridsson (Renault Clio Mk3) battle it out… © JKR/ERC24

 

...till the cars get bended. © JKR/ERC24

…till the cars get bended. © JKR/ERC24

 

After finishing runner-up in the Höljes event of last year, Mattias Ekström was delighted to hold second overnight in his Audi S1 SuperCar. “I’m proud to be here,” said the Swede at the end of day press conference. “We are making progress quickly as a team and are now making good starts. The balance in the car is feeling much better.”

Petter Solberg: “I’ve got hundreds of guests here this weekend – I had to put on a good show for them. Had an amazing start to the Höljes RX in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. I was fastest in free practice and won the first heat with a very good run. In the second heat I had a puncture on the second lap and drove half of the race with a flat tyre. Still I got ninth best time and are third in total now. Tomorrow we will be ready for Heat 3 and 4!”

 

Czech Ondřej Smetana (Ford Fiesta Mk7 RWD) is on top of the TouringCars overnight point standings. © JKR/ERC24

Czech Ondřej Smetana (Ford Fiesta Mk7) is on top of the Super1600 overnight point standings. © JKR/ERC24

 

Swede Daniel Lundh (Volvo C30 RWD) is leading the TouringCar category after three heats. © JKR/ERC24

Swede Daniel Lundh (Volvo C30 RWD) is leading the TouringCar category after three heats. © JKR/ERC24

 

Swede Kevin Hansen drove his RX Lites vehicle twice to a fastest qualification time. © JKR/ERC24

Swede Kevin Hansen drove his RX Lites vehicle twice to a fastest qualification time. © JKR/ERC24

 

The Super1600 and TouringCar campaigners had to do three instead of the usual two qualifying heats on Saturday. Czech Ondřej Smetana is leading the S1600 overnight point standings with a ten points advantage over Russian Sergey Zagumennov, while Dane Ulrik Linnemann was forced out of the event by an engine breakdown in practice. Daniel Lundh tops the TC intermediate rankings, two points behind the Swede is Norwegian Tom Daniel Tånevik in second position. Swede Kevin Hansen has ruled the two qualification runs of the RX Lites category, current runner-up is his compatriot and friend Kevin Eriksson.

 

The message is clear, Höljes is the place to be. © JKR/ERC24

The message is clear, Höljes is the place to be. © JKR/ERC24

 

For more images please visit our Flickr gallery here.

 

Situation in SuperCars after Day 1 to be found here.

Situation in Super1600s after Day 1 to be found here.

Situation in TouringCars after Day 1 to be found here.

Situation in RX Lites after Day 1 to be found here.

 

Top photo: Timerzyanov (right) is leading the overnight standings in SuperCars from Ekström (left). © JKR/ERC24

 

The highlights of Day 1.