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Thu 25 May 2023

Linnemann switches to championship-winning car for remainder of campaign

Ulrik Linnemann has traded his Ford Fiesta for a former championship-winning Volkswagen Polo for the remainder of the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship campaign, as the Dane aims to find out if he ‘still has the speed to fight with the best in the world’.

Ulrik Linnemann has traded his Ford Fiesta for a former championship-winning Volkswagen Polo for the remainder of the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship campaign, as the Dane aims to find out if he ‘still has the speed to fight with the best in the world’.

Since returning to European competition last season in Euro RX1, the three-time Super1600 (now Euro RX3) championship runner-up has done battle with his family-run Ford Fiesta, affectionately nicknamed ‘Wendy’.

Linnemann reached the rostrum twice in 2022 – following a valiant fightback in Hungary and a dogged defence against champion-elect Anton Marklund in Portugal – but elsewhere, there were slimmer pickings as the ageing Fiesta struggled against its ex-World Championship rivals.

That theme continued in this year’s curtain-raiser at Nyirád last month, as the 34-year-old saw his challenge curtailed at the semi-final stage. Finding himself at a crossroads, Linnemann got in touch with Peter Hedström, who owns the car with which Marklund clinched the 2017 Euro RX Supercar crown and which finished second overall in RallyX Nordic last season in the hands of Thomas Bryntesson. A deal was swiftly done, and from Montalegre this weekend (3-4 June) onwards, the Polo will run in Linnemann Promotion colours.

“After the first round in 2023 with the Ford, we realised that we had the same chances as in 2022,” he reflected. “To fight 110 per cent just to reach the top ten frustrated me and was for sure not our goal for the year.

“We discussed what to do and I saw two options. One was to stop, and the other was to find a more competitive car for the rest of the season. I have known Peter Hedström for many years and know his team has a lot of experience, so I am happy that we could make an agreement for me to drive the Hedströms Motorsport Polo.

“The Polo clearly has potential from its previous results, and I drove a few laps in it at Höljes earlier this week and everything was working well. It’s nice to know that the car is good enough, because then it is up to the driver – so let’s see if I still have the speed to fight with the best in the world!”