Wed 03 Jul 2024

Grönholm feeling ‘confident and well-prepared’ ahead of season start

As he bids to shake off his ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’ tag in 2024, Niclas Grönholm says he is feeling ‘confident and well-prepared’ ahead of the start of the new FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign – and ready to fight for a maiden Drivers’ crown.

A regular front-runner in World RX in recent years, Grönholm was denied a shot at title glory in 2019 by a bout of appendicitis that ruled him out of two rounds, and over the past three seasons, the Finn has notched up four victories and eight further podium finishes, placing third in the overall standings on each occasion. Now, he wants more.

Entering his third consecutive campaign with CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment, Grönholm continued to feature up at the sharp end during pre-season testing at Höljes – scene of the forthcoming double-header curtain-raiser – earlier this week, lapping third-quickest on the opening day and fourth 24 hours later.

“It has been a long break and I’m excited to be back racing in my RX1e car,” commented the 28-year-old Kauniainen native, son of two-time FIA World Rally Champion, Marcus Grönholm. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the ‘Battle of Technologies’ plays out.

“There are also a lot of new aspects, like the new format and new tyres to get used to so there are still a few unknowns, but I believe we will be well-prepared for Höljes, and I’m confident we’re going to have a great season. Our goal is firmly set as high as possible.”

Those sentiments are shared by team-mate Klara Andersson, who is embarking upon her third campaign at the international pinnacle of the dual-surface discipline. The 24-year-old is aiming to build upon the impressive progress that saw her achieve a podium finish in Portugal in 2022 and top a heat session for the first time in Hong Kong last November.

“I’m incredibly excited to finally kick off the season, especially at my home event of Höljes,” enthused the rising Swedish star. “Our expectations are high. Everyone is looking forward to the 'Battle of Technologies', and the new tyres I think will change things a lot. I’m more ready than ever and while it will clearly be tough – this is a world championship, after all – Niclas and I will do everything we can to fight for the title.”

CE Dealer Team improved from third to second in the Teams’ classification last year, and the Swedish squad is targeting a similar step in 2024.

“We are feeling determined ahead of the season start and setting our goals higher than ever,” affirmed Team Manager, Jussi Pinomäki. “It will no doubt be the toughest one so far with a lot of changes, but our team and partners have worked tirelessly throughout the winter on every aspect of our performance and we feel ready to compete for top honours in both the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships.”

The campaign will get underway with Ferratum World RX of Sweden (6-7 July), as rallycross’ legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ heralds the beginning of the sport’s new ‘Battle of Technologies’ era, in which the cutting-edge electric RX1e cars will go head-to-head against their sustainably-fuelled combustion-engined counterparts for the very first time.

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