Fri 23 Jun 2023

Podium star Scheider promises to ‘go hard’ at Höljes

Having entered the event with ‘low expectations’, Timo Scheider surprised even himself by reaching the rostrum in Hell last weekend...

Timo Scheider signed up to the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign fully aware that he would be facing an uphill battle – at least until ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s updated car joins the fray. A podium was the last thing on his mind – but in round two in Norway last weekend (17-18 June), that is exactly what he achieved.

Absent from the World RX starting grid since midway through 2021, Scheider is back this year behind the wheel of Münnich Motorsport’s SEAT Ibiza RX1e – a car which, prior to Hell, had yet to progress to the final in the championship’s electric era.

Lapping seventh-fastest in the single-lap SuperPole session – three places higher and a staggering 2.6 seconds closer to the pace than in the Portuguese curtain-raiser a fortnight earlier – marked a promising start, but still, a podium seemed a tall order at best.

The 44-year-old German produced a characteristically solid performance throughout the heat races before getting the better of nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb in the opening semi-final to line up fourth on the grid for the all-important final.

Exploiting his experience, Scheider stayed out of trouble at the start as Ole Christian Veiby and Niclas Grönholm made contact just in front of him to climb to third, and a strong turn-of-speed enabled him to remain there all the way to the chequered flag.

“As a team, we came into the season without any testing, and I personally had no knowledge of the car,” the two-time DTM Champion revealed. “I had low expectations, because René [Münnich – team owner] was quite honest and told me, ‘don’t expect anything from the car – it’s not what you want to have’, but in the end I decided to take the chance and now here we are.

“Montalegre was my first time in the SEAT Ibiza RX1e, and I had to figure my way through that weekend. I struggled a bit there. I’m more used to electric racing now from competing in Extreme E, but it’s a different kind of job you have to do, which I hadn’t done before in rallycross.

“There’s still a long, long way to go for us. We’re still missing something, and hopefully we will get the new car halfway through the season. Maybe the track conditions in Hell played to our advantage, but I will definitely take this podium. It’s a big achievement for the team and I’m very happy.”

Next, the 2023 World RX campaign moves on to Höljes (1-2 July) – the scene of Scheider’s most recent rostrum appearance in the series prior to last weekend. While playing down his chances of a repeat result in Sweden, he is clearly looking forward to the ‘Magic Weekend’ and has vowed to give it his all.

“I love Höljes,” he enthused. “For me, it’s the most interesting and fun circuit on the calendar. The crowd is normally super-amazing, and the party next to the track creates a nice atmosphere. We need to keep our expectations low because we know what we have, but we’ll try our best again and we’ll certainly go hard.”

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