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Tue 30 May 2023

Euro RX1 pace-setters return to scene of 2022 clash

Alongside the eagerly-anticipated FIA World Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser, Montalegre will also play host to the second round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship this weekend (3-4 June) – and following a stellar season-opener at Nyirád last month, expectations are high for another thrilling contest.

Alongside the eagerly-anticipated FIA World Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser, Montalegre will also play host to the second round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship this weekend (3-4 June) – and following a stellar season-opener at Nyirád last month, expectations are high for another thrilling contest.

In Euro RX1, five of the six finalists from Hungary are back in action, with Jānis Baumanis bidding to maintain his winning start, while defending title-holder Anton Marklund – who was crowned champion for a third time in Portugal in 2022 – aims to convert his Ford Fiesta’s raw pace into a tenth career triumph. The pair collided spectacularly on the exit of the Montalegre joker last September, and another close duel looks guaranteed.

Baumanis and Marklund will have to watch out, however, for a whole host of other potential pace-setters in the 17-strong field. Patrick O’Donovan will be brimming with confidence following his first podium finish in only his second Euro RX1 outing at Nyirád, and Enzo Ide is heading back to the scene of his breakthrough victory in the series eight months ago.

It will be intriguing to see if Máté Benyó – one of the undisputed stars of the season-opener – can reproduce the scintillating form he displayed on home soil at a track he has never previously visited. And then, of course, there is the returning Andréa Dubourg – a title contender two years ago – and rising star Sivert Svardal, who is fired-up to quickly bounce back after his promising Hungarian weekend reached a premature conclusion following the first corner crash in heat three.

Not forgetting, either, Euro RX veteran Ulrik Linnemann, who now has a potent new toy to play with having traded his ageing Fiesta for Marklund’s 2017 title-winning Volkswagen Polo.

Let battle commence...