Wed 21 Jun 2023

On Fire in Hell: Cooper Tires’ ‘Racers of the Weekend’

World RX of Norway was not exactly lacking in terms of on-track entertainment, and the recipients of the coveted Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ awards were truly on fire in Hell...

World RX of Norway (17-18 June) was not exactly lacking in terms of on-track entertainment, with breathless racing, controversial clashes and extraordinary achievements across all four competing categories. Indeed, the action on-track was every bit as hot as the temperatures off it, and the following drivers – the recipients of the coveted Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ accolades – were truly on fire in Hell...

World RX: Timo Scheider

In Portugal, Timo Scheider returned to the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the first time in more than a year-and-a-half, so it was little surprise to see him settling back in steadily, particularly as he had never previously driven ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s electric SEAT Ibiza RX1e. In Norway, he turned up the tempo.

Seventh-quickest in SuperPole – with a middle sector to rival the best – the German replicated that result at the end of the heat races, before splitting multiple world champions Johan Kristoffersson and Sébastien Loeb in the opening semi-final to put his team into the final for the first time in World RX’s new electric era.

From fourth on the grid, Scheider showcased his experience to immediately gain a spot with the shenanigans ahead at the start, and there he would stay courtesy of an accomplished performance that yielded the third podium finish of his World RX career. Next, he heads to Höljes – and three years ago, he reached the rostrum there, too...

RX2e: Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky

Ahead of the weekend, there was much excitement about the 2023 FIA RX2e Championship curtain-raiser and the four-strong female contingent in the field. All of them enjoyed their moments in the sun in Hell, but Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky was unquestionably the star performer of the quartet.

In the mix from the outset, the Swede boldly kept her foot planted around the outside of the first corner at the start of heat one to get in front of Team E stablemate Nils Andersson – last season’s third-place championship finisher – and subsequently withstood an attack from Ole Henry Steinsholt to go third-quickest in the session.

She then pushed defending title-holder Viktor Vranckx hard on her way to fourth in heat two, before finding herself caught up as collateral damage in a start-line shunt in heat three. Åhlin-Kottulinsky battled back to take fourth in the intermediate classification and shadowed race leader Andersson throughout the pair’s semi-final. That secured her a second row grid slot for the all-important final, in which she confidently held position to make history as the first female driver ever to achieve a podium finish in RX2e.

Euro RX1: Sivert Svardal

Rarely has a rallycross result been so universally popular. When Sivert Svardal broke down in tears during his post-race interview after the final – as the enormity of what he had just achieved began to sink in – there was barely a dry eye in the paddock.

As a privateer whose small, family-run team and modest means should on paper have no business taking on the likes of SET Promotion, RX Team Latvia and ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Svardal consistently punches above his weight in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top-tier, but still, this was something else altogether.

Granted, the home hero benefitted from the collision between Anton Marklund, Patrick O’Donovan and Enzo Ide that shuffled the pack in the first corner, but the way he subsequently kept the defending champion at bay in the closing stages – when his nerves must have been balancing on a knife-edge – was outstanding. And after all the ill-fortune Svardal has endured this season to-date, nobody begrudged the Norwegian his slice of good luck just when he needed it most...

Euro RX3: Nils Volland

Johan Kristoffersson took a clean sweep of fastest times in World RX in Hell, and while slightly under the radar, Nils Volland did likewise in Euro RX3. With Damian Litwinowicz having triumphed in both of the opening two rounds of the campaign in Hungary and Portugal, his rivals knew they needed to stop the Pole in his tracks – and Volland succeeded in style.

Back at the scene of his starring FIA European Rallycross Championship debut last summer, the German finally fulfilled the potential he had been displaying since joining the grid, as he outpaced his Volland Racing team-mates in every session. Not once did 22-year-old Volland look likely to be toppled, and not only was his breakthrough victory in the category thoroughly well-deserved, it has also ignited the 2023 title fight...

Scheider, Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Svardal and Volland will each be rewarded with a free set of Cooper Tires for their performances in Norway.

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