Sun 23 Jul 2023

Hallman sees off RX2e regulars for victory on series debut

Tommi Hallman came, saw and conquered on his RX2e debut at Lydden Hill this weekend, as the fight for the title tightened up at the birthplace of the sport...

Tommi Hallman came, saw and conquered on his FIA RX2e Championship debut at Lydden Hill this weekend (22-23 July), as the fight for the title tightened up in front of a large crowd at the birthplace of the sport.

Hallman was on stellar form from the outset on his maiden appearance in the FIA World Rallycross Championship feeder series. Throughout the opening three heats, nobody could hold a candle to the flying Finn, with only Nils Andersson getting the better of him in heat four.

In a hugely impressive display, the sole real chink in Hallman’s armour was his starts as he got to grips with the RX2e car, but by the time the semi-finals came around, he was on top of that aspect too – and from then on, he was never challenged.

The #YellowSquad driver arrived in Britain at the summit of the standings, but he struggled to find the ultimate pace and spent much of his time tucked up in traffic, before a coming-together with Vranckx on the first lap of the semi-final broke the suspension on his car.

The Swede’s pain looked set to be countryman Andersson’s gain, and the Team E star was Hallman’s closest pursuer early on in the final until he met a similar fate as Sjökvist as his suspension collapsed, dropping him to fifth at the flag.

Höljes winner Ole Henry Steinsholt rounded out the rostrum in third at the end of a solid weekend, with Pablo Suárez a competitive fourth on his first visit to Lydden Hill.

Roberts Vitols retired from the final following a heavy landing from the jump. Female racers Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Catie Munnings both showed a strong turn-of-speed over the weekend. The Swede produced some lightning-fast launches but saw her challenge undone by errors, while the home hero looked to be on course to reach the final for the first time until a puncture scuppered her hopes on the penultimate lap of the second semi-final.

“What a weekend!” the 22-year-old enthused. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming here. I was hoping to be able to fight with the series regulars, but the shorter free practice session left me on the back foot a bit as it meant I only had four laps to get used to the car before qualifying practice, which set the grid for heat one.

“It was definitely a surprise to have such good pace compared to the more experienced drivers in the championship. After settling into a good flow, I just tried to stay in that rhythm and the RX2e car felt incredible to drive. It’s such a cool track, too, with a fantastic crowd. I’m so happy.”

Defending champion Viktor Vranckx took the runner-up spoils. The Belgian overcame a puncture and a penalty in the heats to chase Hallman to the chequered flag in both the semi-final and final. The result has moved the VMV Racing ace level with Nils Andersson at the top of the title table, with Isak Sjökvist just a single point further behind.

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