EURO RX: NITISS ON TOP IN SC, SVARDAL TAKES TC CHAMPIONSHIP
As FIA World Rallycross Championship leader Johan Kristoffersson claimed his fifth win of the season at Holjes in Sweden last weekend, Latvia’s Reinis Nitiss, Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder and Norway’s Fredrik Magnussen scored victories in the Euro RX Supercar, RX2 and Euro RX TouringCar finals.
Championship leader Nitiss was TQ (top qualifier) in round three of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 at Holjes, the Latvian driver then won semi-final one to start on pole position in the final. He took the hole-shot into the first corner and waited until lap five to take his joker, coming out side-by-side with France’s Cyril Raymond, but held the lead. In the final corner of the lap, in a similar move to the famous ‘Hansen up the inside’ moment from the World RX final at Holjes in 2015, Raymond passed Nitiss and took the win. He was later given a five second penalty for the incident, which dropped him to fourth.
Norway’s Thomas Bryntesson put a difficult first two rounds of the season behind him with a quickest time in Q2 and second in the final, with local driver Lukas Walfridson also on the podium. Germany’s Rene Muennich and Sweden’s Peter Hedstrom completed the top six, but 2017 Euro RX Champion Anton Marklund didn’t make the semi-finals after his Volkswagen Polo was slowed with electrical problems in Q3 and Q4.
Belgium’s De Ridder made it two wins from two in round four of the RX2 International Series. He started the final from pole position after taking TQ and led Olsbergs MSE team mate Oliver Eriksson for the first three laps. Eriksson then took his joker, but a problem caused him to go off the track and drop to last. Norway’s Henrik Krogstad finished second, his best result of the season and Sweden’s Simon Olofsson was third after America’s Christian Brooks dropped from third to sixth in the last corner of the final. Eriksson recovered to finish fourth. Championship front-runner Sondre Evjen didn’t make it into the semi-finals, he rolled his car in spectacular style in Q2 on Friday evening but did make it to the end of qualifying.
In the last ever FIA European Rallycross Championship for TouringCar event, three drivers were tied on equal points before the final at Holjes, but Belgium’s Steve Volders didn’t make it into the last race after a half-spin in his semi-final, then Norway’s Daniel Holten retired at the first corner of the final. Norway’s Fredrik Magnussen started the final four points off the lead of the Championship and took command of the race to score his first victory of the season. But, second place was enough for Sivert Svardal to take the title and become the first FIA rallycross Champion of 2018. Norway’s Kenneth Johansen finished third at Holjes and Norway’s Sondre Hansen was fourth. Denmark’s Tobias Daarbak challenged for a podium with his Ford Fiesta but narrowly avoided rolling the car on lap two and retired.
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