PREVIEW: 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship
The “Magic Weekend” of rallycross at the legendary Höljes Motorstadion takes place this weekend as the 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship heads to the track many would argue is its spiritual home. The event is already casting its spell, as the 25-strong entry list is a veritable “who’s who” of rallycross talent as former champions, rising stars, and the greatest World Rallycross driver of all time are enticed back into action.
Set in the north of the Värmland region of Sweden, Höljes is one of the towns most impacted by motorsport in the whole world. The town’s population is only around 140 people, but the “Magic Weekend” (always the first weekend in July) can entice over 40,000 people to come visiting. The atmosphere for the fans is always something truly special. Happy Street, which links the paddock to the Velodrome corner, returns after an enforced two-year absence, and will feature live bands, pop-up discos, and thousands of enthusiastic rallycross fans. And that’s before we even get to the stellar entry list.
Double European Champion Anton Marklund proved himself to be a force to be reckoned with at the season opener in Nyirád. A superb weekend of driving, setting the pace in the heats, winning his Progression Race, semi-final, and ultimately the final, saw the Swede take the top spot as he made his debut with SET Promotion. Another driver who impressed was #YellowSquad racer Jānis Baumanis, who, despite having never raced at the Red Cauldron before, managed to challenge Marklund’s pace for much of the weekend before a technical issue dropped him to fourth in the final. Speaking afterwards, Baumanis said “For sure if there is a race next year here I would be able to push from the first practice, because I know all the small details and tricks you need to know here – that is so important.” As Höljes is a track at which he has a lot of experience, expectations of the Latvian driver will be high.
However, all of the Euro RX1 regulars will have to be on the top of their game in Sweden, as some true rallycross titans are coming back to fight for victory, including four-time World Rallycross Champion – Johan Kristoffersson. The Swede is bringing his all-conquering Volkswagen Polo GTi to Höljes, and his aim is crystal clear: “If you compete a lot, you will be good at competing. If you win a lot, you will be good at winning…expect the hunt for another victory to continue at Höljes.” It would be a brave person who bets against Kristoffersson this weekend.
Reigning Euro RX1 champion Andreas Bakkerud also makes a comeback this weekend in the same EKS Audi S1 that took him oh so close to World Championship success in 2019, tying on points with champion Timmy Hansen who won on countback. He will be partnering Belgium’s Enzo Ide who continues to impress, having scored a magnificent second place last time out in Hungary.
Aiming to disrupt the status quo, however, are some rallycross rising stars, including a very famous name hungry for success. Oliver Solberg, son of two-time world champion Petter, may be making his Euro RX debut at the ‘Magic Weekend,’ but he is no stranger to success in this discipline, taking the RallyX Nordic Championship title back in 2018 when he was just 17 years old. That competitive spirt is clearly alive and well. Solberg says “I’m looking forward to a fun weekend, but above all, I want to win!” Last year’s ‘Rookie Of The Year’ Sivert Svardal will certainly be mixing it with the big guns, having shown his giant-killing potential with a fifth-place finish in the opening round.
While Marklund carries the momentum into this round, the breadth of talent on the grid cannot be ignored. Expect everyone to be fighting all guns blazing, hungry for success, keen to prove themselves against the might of rallycross legends. This weekend promises to be a truly Magic Weekend.
|2||Oliver O’DONOVAN||IRL||Oliver O’Donovan||IRL||Proton Iriz|
|3||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SWE||Kristoffersson Motorsport||SWE||Volkswagen Polo|
|6||Jānis BAUMANIS*||LVA||#YellowSquad||SWE||Peugeot 208|
|12||Anders MICHALAK||SWE||Carexperience AB||SWE||Volkswagen Polo|
|13||Andreas BAKKERUD||NOR||EKS||SWE||Audi S1|
|14||Oliver SOLBERG||SWE||Hedströms Motorsport||SWE||Hyundai i20|
|17||Dan ÖBERG||SWE||Dan Öberg||SWE||Volkswagen Polo|
|21||Linus ÖSTLUND||SWE||Linus Östlund||SWE||Volkswagen Polo|
|24||Sivert SVARDAL||NOR||Sivert Svardal||NOR||Volkswagen Polo|
|26||Gustav BERGSTRÖM||SWE||Kristoffersson Motorsport||SWE||Volkswagen Polo|
|30||Tom André SAETNAN||NOR||Tom André Saetnan||NOR||Volkswagen Scirocco|
|31||Stefan KRISTENSSON||SWE||Team Skåab||SWE||Ford Fiesta|
|33||Ulrik LINNEMANN*||DNK||Linnemann Promotion||DNK||Ford Fiesta|
|38||Mandie AUGUST*||DEU||ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport||DEU||SEAT Ibiza|
|44||Dariusz TOPOLEWSKI*||POL||Oponeo||POL||Ford Fiesta|
|50||Attila MÓZER*||HUN||Nyirád Motorsport KFT||HUN||Ford Fiesta|
|52||Ole Christian VEIBY||NOR||JC Raceteknik||SWE||Audi S1|
|55||Paulius PLESKOVAS||LTU||TSK Baltijos Sportas||LTU||Ford Fiesta|
|67||Frank VALLE||NOR||Frank Valle||NOR||Ford Fiesta|
|69||Sondre EVJEN||NOR||JC Raceteknik||SWE||Audi S1|
|73||Tamás KÁRAI*||HUN||Kárai Motorsport Sportegyesület||HUN||Audi S1|
|87||Jean Baptiste DUBOURG||FRA||Jean Baptiste Dubourg||FRA||Peugeot 208|
|88||Marcin GAGACKI*||POL||Oponeo||POL||Ford Fiesta|
|91||Enzo IDE*||BEL||EKS||SWE||Audi S1|
|92||Anton MARKLUND*||SWE||SET Promotion||FIN||Hyundai i20|