Wed 07 Jun 2023

Masters of Montalegre: Cooper Tires ‘Racers of the Weekend’ revealed

World RX of Portugal (3-4 June) – which kick-started the second season of World RX’s electrifying new era – delivered sensational racing across the board, but only three drivers could be selected for the coveted Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ accolades. To find out who they are, read on...

World RX: Klara Andersson

Returning to the scene of her history-making podium finish last September, Klara Andersson arrived at Montalegre with a spring in her step – ready to put into practice everything she had learned during her rookie campaign in rallycross’ top flight.

She showed good pace against CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment stablemate Niclas Grönholm and FIA World Rally Championship legend Sébastien Loeb in heat one, before making a demon launch from the middle of the grid in heat two to snatch the lead, ultimately missing out on the race win to Loeb by just over a second.

The Swede ran Kevin Hansen close in heat three prior to unleashing a scintillating turn-of-speed in heat four to defeat two-time DTM Champion Timo Scheider and her childhood hero, Loeb. A smart early joker strategy in the semi-final then propelled her comfortably into the all-important final in which she finished fifth, overtaking a puncture-plagued Loeb on the last lap and taking the chequered flag less than two seconds shy of the rostrum. The rise of Klara Andersson continues.

Euro RX1: Tamás Kárai

Following a disappointing outing on home soil in the Nyirád curtain-raiser – exiting proceedings at the semi-final stage – Tamás Kárai was on fine form in Portugal. After chasing down Enzo Ide in the opening heat to post the third-quickest time, the Hungarian remained in the hunt in heat two on slick tyres on an increasingly wet track surface.

A rapid run in heat four – as he stayed out of trouble and took advantage of other drivers’ errors and issues – resulted in a race win and earned him sixth position in the intermediate classification, just a point adrift of the top four. From there, Kárai made a bright start in his semi-final and pushed defending Euro RX1 Champion Anton Marklund very hard while simultaneously holding off a charging Patrick O’Donovan, despite swiping the wall in the joker.

That secured him a spot in the final, in which he was in the battle for the runner-up spoils throughout, with a composed and competitive performance carrying him to within half-a-second of a fourth career rostrum.

Euro RX3: Martin Kjær

Martin Kjær is not a newcomer to giant-killing feats in Euro RX3. Last  summer, he topped the intermediate classification on the opening day of Höljes’ ‘Magic Weekend’, and at the Nürburgring in November, he advanced to the final in the series for the first time. At Montalegre three days ago, he did it again.

After placing inside the top five in three of the four heats – with a highlight of third position in the last of them – the Norwegian deployed an early joker tactic in his semi-final to overhaul Jens Hvaal, lapping not far from the pace of the all-conquering Audis as he fended his countryman off to the flag to progress to the final.

Following a fast start and early joker, Kjær then opportunistically exploited a late battle between Nils Volland and João Ribeiro to leapfrog the home hero for fourth, crossing the finish line less than four tenths-of-a-second away from a maiden podium finish.

Andersson, Kárai and Kjær will each be rewarded with a free set of Cooper Tires for their starring Portuguese performances.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM