Sun 02 Jul 2023

Steinsholt strikes on day of drama in RX2e

Ole Henry Steinsholt registered his maiden RX2e victory at Höljes in Sweden, fighting his way from last to first to banish the memory of a nightmarish season curtain-raiser on home soil in Hell.

Ole Henry Steinsholt got the better of last year’s top three finishers to register his maiden FIA RX2e Championship victory at Höljes in Sweden today (2 July), fighting his way from last to first to banish the memory of a nightmarish season curtain-raiser on home soil in Hell.

Reigning champion Viktor Vranckx was the driver to beat throughout the heats, as he – like Steinsholt – endeavoured to bounce back from a disappointing weekend in Norway a fortnight ago. The Belgian was fastest in three of the four sessions, with only Steinsholt denying the Belgian a clean sweep by topping the timesheets in heat three.

The Norwegian opted for an opening lap joker in the final, dropping him to the back of the pack, but he soon set about climbing the order. Fifth following Filip Thorén’s joker on lap two, Steinsholt relieved #YellowSquad’s Isak Sjökvist of fourth place on the penultimate tour and then moved up to third when Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky jokered on the last lap.

Two corners later, he was in the lead, after Nils Andersson made a mistake that allowed Vranckx to draw alongside heading into Höljes’ Velodrome section, with the opportunistic Steinsholt making it three-wide. Contact ensued, sending Team E’s Andersson into a spin, and it was the Larvik native who emerged in front – going on to take the chequered flag for an unexpected but deserved triumph.

“I can’t believe it,” Steinsholt said. “That was one of the wildest races I’ve ever been in. I was in last position on lap one, but we all know anything can happen in rallycross – especially in conditions like that. I tried to keep a cool head, and it was great to finally be able to show my full potential.”

Vranckx – the pace-setter for most of the weekend – went off-track twice in the semi-final but survived to kick-start his title defence with a second-place finish in the final, as championship leader Sjökvist completed the podium-finishers in third.

Åhlin-Kottulinsky backed up her starring debut in Hell with fourth place ahead of team-mate Andersson, whose only real mistake of the weekend proved to be costly indeed. Thorén rounded out the finalists in sixth following the best performance of his RX2e career so far.

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