The seventh round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy will take place at the iconic Holjes rallycross circuit in Sweden this weekend (30 June-2 July). A bumper entry of more than 100 cars have entered the Swedish round of World RX which includes 53 Supercars (22 World RX; 35 Euro RX), an over-subscribed class of 30 Super1600 cars and 24 RX2 entries. It is the biggest entry of the 2017 season so far.
Set in the small village of Holjes in the heart of the Varmland region, rallycross is well established in Sweden – it was the first of the Nordic countries to embrace rallycross, and remains the only country to have hosted an event in the European/FIA Championship since it began in 1973.
Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson [PSRX Volkswagen Sweden] currently leads the driver standings and will attend his home round of the World Championship with an eight-point lead over Mattias Ekstrom. Ekstrom, however, has been forced to skip Swecon World RX of Sweden due to DTM commitments and Kristoffersson will be looking to capitalise on this in order to extend his series lead even further.
PG Andersson will step in for Ekstrom at Holjes RX but Reinis Nitiss and Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen will act as nominated team point-scorers for EKS at the event. Andersson, a former WRC driver, is no stranger to rallycross having contested ten World RX rounds with Marklund Motorsport in 2015.
Andersson explained: “When Mattias called me I didn’t think twice. The opportunity to sit in his car again and to compete against the world’s best rallycross campaigners is an honour for me, especially in Holjes of all places. I can’t wait to do my first laps in Friday’s free practice.”
Former World RX Teams’ Champions Olsbergs MSE will enter a pair of Ford Fiesta Supercars for Swedish duo Sebastien Eriksson and Oliver Eriksson – the latter the younger brother of permanent World RX driver, Kevin Eriksson. France’s Herve Knapick will race a Citroen DS3 and Finland’s Joni-Pekka Rajala will make this third ever World RX start in a Mitsubishi Mirage.
Thirty-five drivers have entered the third round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX) for Supercar in Holjes. In addition to the regular competitors, Belgium’s Jochen Coox will race a Volkswagen Polo, Finland’s Ari-Pekka Niemi will drive an ex-Niclas Gronholm Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta Supercar. Furthermore, Euro RX TouringCar title-contender Philip Gehrman will make his Supercar debut in an Eklund Motorsport Volkswagen Beetle.
Competitors in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 will race in the third round of the front-wheel drive class, led by series leader, Lithuania’s Kasparas Navickas. Thirty drivers will take part including Latvian team TT Motorsport, which will field a pair of debutant Latvian drivers, Arnis Odins and Juris Spikis in Renault Twingos.
The RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires will also be in action in Holjes for its fourth round and the entry list includes a record-breaking 24 drivers. Defending Champion Cyril Raymond remains unbeaten but with Britain’s Dan Rooke and America’s Tanner’s Whitten both regular podium finishers, Raymond will need to put on another strong showing to score another win. With a total of 13 Swedes and five Norwegians, there will be no shortage of Scandinavians eager to pick up silverware on home soil.
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Holjes is the jewel in our rallycross crown and the event that all drivers want to win. Mattias [Ekstrom] won in 2014 and 2015 but Andreas [Bakkerud] triumphed last year so it will be interesting to see if we can produce a third Holjes RX winner at the magic weekend which attracts tens of thousands of fans each year. The Holjes track is one of the most popular circuits of the year thanks to a layout with features super-quick corners, banked turns and also a jump that can see cars travel as far as 40 metres in the air. With so many local drivers and over 100 entries, the competition will be fierce meaning the smallest of errors in qualifying could cost the teams a spot in the semi-finals.”
Friday 30 June
1300 Photographers’ briefing
1400 Practice: Super1600 and RX2
1500 Q1 draw and pre-event press conference (Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen, Kevin Eriksson and PG Andersson)
1530 Q1: Super1600 and RX2
1650 Practice: World RX and Euro RX Supercar
1830 Monster Energy Drift Show
1850 Q2: Super1600 and RX2Saturday 1 July
0830 Photographers’ briefing
0830 Warm-up: Super1600, RX2 – two laps only
0900 Practice: World RX and Euro RX Supercar
1100 Q3: Super1600 and RX2
1400 Q1: Euro RX Supercar
Q1: World RX Supercar
1555 Monster Energy Rig Riot
1630 RX2: Q4
Q2: Euro RX Supercar
Q2: World RX Supercar
1815 Monster Energy Drift Show
1830 Press conference, top three after Q2
1900 Autograph session, World RX paddock
1930 Autograph session, RX2 paddock
Sunday 2 July
0800 Photographers’ briefing
0830 Warm-up: all categories, two laps, once only
1000 Q3: World RX Supercar
Q3: Euro RX Supercar
1135 Q4: World RX Supercar
Q4: Euro RX Supercar
Semi-finals: Euro RX Supercar
1320 Autograph session, paddock
1350 Monster Energy Rig Riot
1415 Monster Energy Drift Show
1445 Final: RX2
1445 World RX semi-finals in pre-grid
1500 Semi-finals: World RX
Final: Euro RX Supercar
Final: World RX
1610 Press conference: Top three World RX
1620 Press conference: Top three Euro RX
From a Cooper Tires point of view. Paul Coates, General Manager – Motorsport, Cooper Tire Europe: “With a sixth gear straight, quick changes from gravel to asphalt and the jumps, this is one of the most exciting and demanding tracks of the season. This means the Cooper rallycross tyres have to withstand a lot of extreme forces but with the use of advanced materials and a specific construction, the tyre can, not only take the force of landing a jump but quickly takes the sudden braking and cornering forces as well.”