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20 May 2015

FINRX: Grönholm claims Kouvola

Category: Miscellaneous, News Posted 20.05.15 18:45 by

Round 1 of the 2015 Finnish Rallycross Championship was held last Saturday at Kouvola and eventually won by Niclas Grönholm, the son of two-times World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm.

 

© by Toni Ollikainen & Eddi Laumanns

 

The 2015 Finnish Rallycross Championship had its kick-off last Saturday at the Tykkimäen Moottorirata at Kouvola, well known for a couple of European rounds as well as the 2014 WorldRX of Finland race. The weather remained nice over almost the whole event; only before the third heats it had some rain that produced a wet and slippery track. The crowd enjoyed several hours of interesting and spectacular races, from the Open Practice sessions at nineish in the morning till the podium ceremony at about 18.00 in the evening. Arguably the main interest of the people and the media was raised by the fact that Niclas Grönholm, son of double World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm, is trying his hands on Rallycross now. The youngster has got the former Joni Wiman Global RallyCross Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST SuperCar from OlsbergsMSE at his disposal and has, at least for this year, set his focus on winning his native Finnish Rallycross Championship, to be run over a total of five rounds. Furthermore will Grönholm Junior be seen in selected Swedish and World Rallycross Championship rounds, such as WorldRX of Sweden in Höljes.

 

Niclas Grönholm has set his focus on winning his native Finnish Rallycross Championship. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Niclas Grönholm has set his focus on winning his native Finnish Rallycross Championship. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

The team has bagged the ex-Wiman Global RallyCross Fiesta SuperCar and appears in style. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

The team has bagged the ex-Wiman Global RallyCross Fiesta SuperCar and appears in style. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

At the end of the day Grönholm Junior was hailed and showered on top of the winner's podium. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

At the end of the day Grönholm Junior was hailed and showered on top of the winner’s podium. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

And Niclas Grönholm did all but bad, he won his race of Heat 1, but as the other race was the faster one had to agree with the third fastest time behind Honda Civic Mk8 driver Aki Karttunen and Citroën C4 campaigner Janne Kanerva. Karttunen was also fastest in the second runs, here ahead of Grönholm and Ari Perkiömäki, who has replaced his older Ford Fiesta Mk6 with an all-new Mk7 model for this year. Having been third in H1 and second in H2, in Heat 3 Grönholm made it to the fastest time, followed in second place by multiple Finnish champion Atro Määttä and his Ford Fiesta Mk7, and Perkiömäki as third fastest once more. For Aki Karttunen the day was over just before the start of the third heats, engine troubles of his Honda SuperCar forced him to throw in the towel instead of racing in the A Final. The fastest time of the day also shows that his new Mk8 Civic was all but a bad choice for Rallycross.

 

Aki Karttunen set the fastest times of Heat 1 and 2, but had to give in due to engine troubles before Heat 3. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Aki Karttunen set the fastest times of Heat 1 and 2, but had to give in due to engine troubles before Heat 3. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Ari Perkiömäki stated that his all-new car is fast, but still needs some improvements. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Ari Perkiömäki stated that his all-new car is fast, but still needs some improvements. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Multiple Finnish champion Atro Määttä is the local superstar at Kouvola, this time he made it to runner-up. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Multiple Finnish champion Atro Määttä is the local superstar at Kouvola, this time he made it to runner-up. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

The start of the last race of the day and its chase to the first corner was won by Ari Perkiömäki, but on top of the Tykkimäki hill it was Niclas Grönholm who took over the lead and subsequently won his first FINRX round in SuperCars. When Atro Määttä was also able to pass Perkiömäki the trio for the winner’s rostrum was known.

 

Janne Kanerva, here having some air time, made it to fourth overall and missed the podium. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Janne Kanerva, here having some air time, made it to fourth overall and missed the podium. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Kanerva would have prefered first-three-champain rather than a bottle of Coke... © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Kanerva would have preferred first-three champain rather than just a bottle of Coke… © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Mika Liinamaa with his good looking Škoda Fabia Mk2 SuperCar en route to fifth place overall. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Mika Liinamaa with his good looking Škoda Fabia Mk2 SuperCar en route to fifth place overall. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

One can claim that the quality of the SuperCars category in Finland is rather great this year, at least seen through Finnish spectacles. Niclas Grönholm didn’t produce good starts in Kouvola, but was fast in all the qualification as well as outstanding in the Final. His Fiesta looks state of the art and his final result proves that man and machinery match. Ari Perkiömäki’s all-new Ford Fiesta, built by Reinsalu Sport in Estonia for the Finn, was also top notch and made its driver to produce several superb starts.

 

  • Round 1, Finnish Rallycross Championship 2015, Kouvola (FIN), May 16
  • FINAL RESULTS SUPERCARS:
  • 1. Niclas Grönholm (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 2. Atro Määttä (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 3. Ari Perkiömäki (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk7
  • 4. Janne Kanerva (FIN) Citroën C4
  • 5. Mika Liinamaa (FIN) Škoda Fabia Mk2
  • 6. Aki Karttunen (FIN) Honda Civic Mk8 (NS)
  • FINAL RESULTS SRC CATEGORY:
  • 1. Jarno Kukkola (FIN) Ford Fiesta Mk6
  • 2. Jussi Klemola (FIN) Ford Escort Mk7
  • 3. Peter Helenius (FIN) VW Scirocco Mk3
  • 4. Jukka Lassila (FIN) Ford Escort Mk7
  • 5. Christian Jensen (FIN) Hyundai Accent
  • 6. Sami Kiskola (FIN) Ford Escort Mk7

 

Top photo: The first corner action of the all decisive A Final was spectacular. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24