Rallycross is huge in Sweden. Both the worlds largest team and the most successful driver comes from this Scandinavian country, that also hosts one of the largest events in the WorldRX calendar at Höljes, Värmland. They're so mad about rallycross that they've launched a winter series, to shorten the wait until spring!
You might wonder why I've posted a preview of the second round, and not the first? Well that's because the first round wasn't broadcasted. Not live, not even delayed. Sad for us, but at least 2500 people enjoyed both the Lites and Historical class last weekend at Höljes
And what better place to start than the legendary Höljes racetrack? Well, initially they wanted to start off the series in Örebro a weekend earlier, but lack of snow made that a bit tricky. Höljes is further north, inland and higher above sea level, so conditions was great. Sebastian Eriksson won there ahead of Richard Göransson and Joni Wiman, making Eriksson and Göransson the favourites ahead of round 2.
Of course, rallycross pioneers OlsbergsMSE and Andreas Eriksson are heavily involved in launching this series. They're providing and running most of the cars, which are the less powerful RX Lites we usually see as a support class in both WorldRX and GRC. Supercars would struggle to put their power to use anyways, and the Lites should be spectacular enough.
The Olsbergs involvement is evident in the start list as well. Out of thirteen entrants for the first event, six have driven or will be driving for Olsbergs. Most drivers are quite young, and only two of the entrants for the second round grew up outside Scandinavia. Full list below:
The most notable names here are Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitiss, who drove full seasons for Olsbergs in respectively WorldRX. Bakkerud has driven a snowplough all winter so he should be used to the snow by now. Nitiss drove in his home ERC-round last weekend, a round that also had a lot of snow and ice. Former rally and rallycross driver Marcus Grönholm now serves as an OlsbergsMSE mentor, but will get back into the driving suit this weekend! I'm sure most of us would like to see Marcus back driving full time, but sadly he doesn't really want to. We'll have to settle with one-offs like this. The Swedish snow should suit him well, having won Rally Sweden five times. Rallycross and rally driver Thomas Rådström is the oldest of the pack, and the 49-year old is together with Marcus Grömholm. In fact, he won Rally Sweden back in 1994 and has several other strong finishes to his name.
Richard Göransson, Kevin Eriksson and Sebastian Eriksson all drove a supercar for Olsbergs in last years WorldRX, all with good results. Kevin is the one with the most experience with the Lites, having won the 2014 RX Lites championship. Driving on snow is something completely different though, but all of these Swedes should compete for the victory.
We won't see Mattias Ekström and his Audi S1, but he recently drove on snow in Kitzbühel.
Also competing in the RX Lites championship last year was Sandra Hultgren, Joakim Hvaal and Simon Olofsson. Janis Baumanis also tried it, but his main focus was on the Super1600 cup. Thomas Holmen only has experience from crosscart, and this will be his first event with the big guys.
So, how to watch? The event starts right after the live stage from the WRC on Friday (SSS10 - Karlstad), that means 20:25 CET or 2:25 EST. It will be streamed live on expressen.tv, availible in Sweden, Norway and Finland. There might be ways to watch it in other countries as well, using methods I won't describe here. It will be in Swedish, but that's not too hard to understand, right? Right?