This weekend is one of the better weekends for racing and rallying. We have no less than four iconic events coming up with Rally Portugal, Monaco GP, Indy 500 and Rallycross at Lydden Hill. I’m mostly looking forward to the rallycross, where we see 30 Supercars on the entry list for what is the fourth round this season.
But we can’t go to Lydden just yet, because last weekend we had the Belgian round in Mettet, which was also the opening round of the European Championship. That meant a lot of drivers to chose from, but most of us only picked the regular WorldRX drivers. In WorldRX Topi Heikkinen took his second win at Mettet, getting 28 points in the process. Petter Solberg went second with 25 points, and Reinis Nitiss got 14 points despite his third place in the final. Solberg got to the final despite a jump start in the semifinal, giving him two joker laps. The world champion probably put down the drive of the weekend, but clearly used up his tires in the process. PG Andersson, Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström were good choices as well this weekend, as all of them got over 15 points. The top 10 in WorldRX are now:
1. Petter Solberg, 82
2. Johan Kristoffersson, 60
3. Toomas Heikkinen, 57 (!)
4. Andreas Bakkerud, 56
5. Timmy Hansen, 50
6. Reinis Nitiss, 43
= PG Andersson, 43
8. Davy Jeanney, 39
9. Mattias Ekström, 33
10. Robin Larsson, 27
The best choice this weekend was in EuroRX though, as Albatec driver Jerome Grosset-Janin stormed to his first win and gained 29 points. Norwegians Ole Christian Veiby and Tommy Rustad both got 23 points, and former WRC-driver Francois Duval got 21 points. I’m quite happy about picking Rustad, but I should’ve realized that this would become another “ghost appearance” from Henning Solberg.. Both me and Sliding-Sideways made that mistake, but in general the scores were quite high this weekend. G17 won his second round this year, with WorldRallyBlog in a good second and Dusty finishing on the podium in his first event. Impressive! As always, you can find the full results here.
Now, let’s get to Lydden Hill. This is the “home of rallycross”, where it all started back in the mid-60’s. It’s another very entertaining track, and here there are several passing opportunities, unlike most other tracks. The joker entry is at the first corner, so we will see some interesting tactics on when to use that, often dependent on starting position.
The track is the usual 60 % tarmac and 40 % gravel, and it’s 1170 metres long. The fastest laptime last year was set by Petter Solberg, with 0:42,405. He didn’t win last year though, as his final ended in a clash with Tanner Foust after a desperate move. After some impressive passing Andreas Bakkerud could take both his first WorldRX win and the championship lead. Though he didn’t win last year, this is a track that suits Tanner Foust well, and he’s won here two times in the European Championship. He returns for his second event this year with Marklund Motorsport, and will make picking tricky in that team.
Also returning to WorldRX and Lydden is 2013 BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan, this time around in a Hansen Peugeot. Last year was his first outing in rallycross at this level, and he ended up on the podium! Now he’s in arguably an even better car, and he’s now thinking about possibly taking the win. Also joining Hansen in a development program is S1600-driver Janis Baumanis, in his first Supercar race at this level. As we’ve seen with Timerzyanov, Bakkerud and Nitiss, S1600 drivers tend to do well in Supercar as well. If picking a Marklund driver was hard, picking a Hansen driver is nearly impossible as Timmy Hansen and Davy Jeanney has been on form lately.
Albatec Racing was present at Mettet as well, but here in Britain team boss Andy Scott wants to drive himself. Scott has done rather well in the British Championship so far, taking two out of three wins. Joining him is former GRC competitor David Binks, who also raced in the Albatec Peugeot at Loheac last year. He was unable to score any points there though, so it will be interesting to see if he can do any better this weekend.
Ole Christian Nøttveit got his first WorldRX point last weekend in his aging Volvo C30, and joining him this weekend is rallycross veteran Guttorm Lindefjell. Lindefjell made a comeback in Germany last year, and this year he’s entering at Lydden with an older Ford Focus. Don’t let the age fool you though, as this is “Stina”, the car Sverre Isachsen used to win his three European Championships! With a wild driving style it will be interesting to see what Lindefjell can do, even if he’s not among the fastest.
Rally driver Guy Wilks will make a guest appearance in a JRM Mini this weekend, and looks upon rallycross as the next step in his career. I’m sure a good result here will decide wether or not we see him more this year, but I certainly hope so! Ollie O’Donovan didn’t have the best round in Mettet, but he’s on home turf here and might set a good pace if the new car is set up right. Also returning is British championship regulars Julian Godfrey and Kevin Procter. Godfrey won the last round in BRX, but both were unable to score points here last year. French driver Marc Laboulle makes his second ever WorldRX start here, looking to get his first points as well.
You can watch all the action on livestream on Sunday at 15:00 CET, with a summary of the heats in the first hour and live semifinals and finals in the second hour. Rather conveniently, the semifinals and finals are just between the Monaco GP and the Indy 500!
In case you need to know more about rallycross before making your picks for this round, take a look at the season guide. The rules are at the bottom of the guide, but they’re really simple so I can just repeat the most important thing here. You pick six drivers, but you can only pick one driver from each team. Will there be prizes? I’ll go to one or two events this year and I’ll try to get something prize-worthy there! In case you want to do an in-depth analysis, I’ve made a statistics spreadsheet for your pleasure. All entrants are listed below, and you can find the official entry list here.
SDRX - CITROËN DS3
#1 Petter Solberg (NOR) - Average last 10: 25.70 - Last year: 17
#33 Liam Doran (GBR)- Average last 10: 6.40 - Last year: 0
VOLKSWAGEN TEAM SWEDEN - VW POLO R WRX
#3 Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) - Average last 10: 16.71 - Last year: N/A
#99 Tord Linnerud (NOR) - Average last 10: 2.56 - Last year: 0
WORLDRX TEAM AUSTRIA - FORD FIESTA VII
#7 Manfred Stohl (AUT) - Average last 10: 6.75 - Last year: N/A
#31 Max Pucher (AUT) - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: N/A
EKSRX - AUDI S1
#10 Mattias Ekström (SWE) - Average last 10: 17.60 - Last year: N/A
#92 Anton Marklund (SWE) - Average last 10: 11.70 - Last year: 8
OLSBERGSMSE - FORD FIESTA ST
#13 Andreas Bakkerud (NOR) - Average last 10: 14.80 - Last year: 29
#15 Reinis Nitiss (LVA) - Average last 10: 14.40 - Last year: 19
#42 Timur Timerzyanov (RUS) - Average last 10: 11.60 - Last year: 0
TEAM PEUGEOT-HANSEN - PEUGEOT 208 WRX
#17 Davy Jeanney (FRA) - Average last 10: 6.50 - Last year: 0
#21 Timmy Hansen (SWE) - Average last 10: 20.20 - Last year: 6
#177 Andrew Jordan (GBR) - Average last 10: 17.00 - Last year: 17
#199 Janis Baumanis (LVA) - Average last 10: N/A - Last year: N/A
ALBATEC RACING - PEUGEOT 208 RX
#26 Andy Scott (GBR) - Average last 10: 5.11 - Last year: 9
#81 David Binks (GBR) - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: N/A
CIRCLEX RACING - VOLVO C30/FORD FOCUS II
#32 Ole-Kristian Nøttveit (NOR) - Average last 10: 0.50 - Last year: N/A
#91 Guttorm Lindefjell (NOR) - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: N/A
MARKLUND MOTORSPORT - VW POLO RX
#34 Tanner Foust (USA) - Average last 10: 14.25 - Last year: 15
#45 PG Andersson (SWE) - Average last 10: 10.20 - Last year: N/A
#57 Toomas Heikkinen (FIN) - Average last 10: 18.90 - Last year: 23
ALL-INKL.COM RACING MÜNNICH MOTORSPORT:
#55 Alx Danielsson (SWE) - Average last 10: 0.33 - Last year: N/A
#77 Rene Münnich (GER) - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: 0
INDEPENDENTS AND SINGLE CAR ENTRIES:
#2 Ollie O’Donovan (GBR) - Ford Fiesta VII - Average last 10: 2.67 - Last year: 0
#4 Robin Larsson (SWE) - Audi A1 - Average last 10: 11.22 - Last year: 25
#37 Guy Wilks (GBR) - JRM MINI - Average last 10: N/A - Last year: N/A
#50 Kevin Procter (GBR) - Ford Fiesta VII - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: 0
#51 Julian Godfrey (GBR) - Ford Fiesta VI - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: 0
#71 Marc Laboulle (FRA) - Citroën C4 - Average last 10: 0.00 - Last year: N/A