Tag Archives: rallycross

GRX Team enters RX with Nicholas Gronholm

Finnish-based team GRX and driver Niclas Gronholm – son of double WRC Champion Marcus Gromholm – will contest the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy with an M-Sport built Ford Fiesta RX Supercar.

The GRX team will compete in all 12 rounds of the World Championship in a partnership with multiple FIA European Rallycross Championship winning team, Set Promotion. The Fiesta RX is currently being prepared at M-Sport’s base in Cumbria, north England.

Gronholm, 20, raced in the full FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2016, his first full-time campaign having made just one previous start in the series, in Sweden 2015. In a year of learning and development, the Finn made the semi-finals twice: in Sweden and in Canada. The 2015 Finnish Rallycross Champion now has experience of every circuit on the World RX schedule, with the exception of the final round in South Africa, which is a new addition to the World Championship from 2017. Continue reading GRX Team enters RX with Nicholas Gronholm

Hyundai ups the ante, Skoda’s R5 gets green light: Handbrakes & Hairpins Issue 332!

Welcome to the latest edition of Handbrakes & Hairpins, a 15-page issue featuring news from the WRC, the World RX and the South African National Rally Championship >> http://bit.ly/issue332.

As always, enjoy this week’s read!

Exciting 2014 FIA World RallyCross Championship calendar unveiled

IMG Motorsports, a division of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, and the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) have released the 2014 calendar of events for the inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.

Following the FIA’s decision at September’s World Motorsport Council meeting to approve the formation of the World Championship in 2014, the parties have agreed to a new calendar for next year, which has been approved at today’s Council meeting in Paris.

The FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2014 will be run over 12 events including races in Canada, Turkey and Argentina and at new European Circuits in Belgium and Italy. Continue reading Exciting 2014 FIA World RallyCross Championship calendar unveiled

Petter Solberg and the Rallycross adventure

The dust – quite literally – has settled on the seventh round of the European Rallycross Championship, where Petter ‘Hollywood’ Solberg finished second, beaten only by his fellow Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud.

And among the people who Petter beat were nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, who didn’t make it through to the final – and Citroen WRC star Kris Meeke, due to represent the French manufacturer on Rally Australia next week.

After storming through all the heats, Petter once more came so close to clinching his first win in rallycross, since signing up for the new-look European series at the start of the year. But although he didn’t quite make it, he still put on a great show for the crowd. And that’s why they call him ‘Hollywood’. We caught up with him to find out how it all went…

Q: Petter, you came so close to doing it in the final: what happened?
“I had a great start and I was actually leading the final, but I knew that both my rear tyres were badly worn: Loheac is quite an aggressive surface as it is basically mostly asphalt. So what happened was that the rear of the car started to step out too much and too soon. From then it was only a question of Bakkerud getting better grip and passing me.”

Q: So are you more pleased to finish second or disappointed not to win?
“Definitely more pleased to get this result in the bag! Couldn’t you tell that when I was jumping out of the car? Have a look at the photos below and you’ll get the idea… Seriously, everyone so deserves it. I can’t tell you how hard our guys have worked to get us to this point. As a team, it’s the most difficult thing we have ever done by quite some margin. It’s very hard to win in your first year, but we’ve come so close, after making our own car with absolutely zero past experience.”

Q: When’s it going to happen?
“Well, there are two rounds left to go this year and we’re going to be trying absolutely everything at both of them. I feel more and more confident in the car all the time, because all that hard work is paying off. We’re going to get that win at some point soon. It’s only the little details that have to come together now.”

Q: And it was a good weekend for Norway!
“Yes, it’s funny how when we have all these big international stars here – it was really fun to compete against Sebastien Loeb – two guys from Norway end up getting the top spots! Congratulations to Andreas: he’s a great guy and he did a really good job. And I have to say the crowd were fantastic: it was a real pleasure to come here and do this in France. I think this weekend showed how competitive rallycross really is.”

Q: How do you think the sport of rallycross is doing internationally, now that ‘Hollywood’ has joined the party?
“Look at the number of fans! That says it all. But I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet really. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the sport develops as it probably goes worldwide from next year. I’ve always been convinced that the potential is huge: it’s made for TV. And look at the sort of names investing here: IMG, Red Bull, Monster…it’s all unbelievably impressive.”

The next (and penultimate) round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship takes place in Greinbach, Austria, from 14 – 15 September.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying. Click here to download the latest issue: http://bit.ly/19MwTVf

Cover 291

First-Turn Frustrations in the Global RallyCross [PLUS photo gallery]

The Global RallyCross series has provided some interesting competition for fans in the USA. These wildly powerful RX cars are something to behold, and this series now draws a highly competitive field.

As in rallying, if you hire a Finn you’ll win. Toomas Heikkinen has claimed two victories on the trot, winning all comers at this past weekend’s Atlanta Motor Speedway in style.

In fact, this was the fifth win (including event heats) for Toomas Heikkinen’s Global Rallycross career, with all five having come in the past five races. He is now tied with Marcus Gronholm for the all-time series win lead. With a 43-point lead, he can clinch the 2013 GRC Driver’s Championship by simply starting a race with 16 or fewer cars. To boot, this was the sixth win in seven races this season for OlsbergsMSE, who runs his Ford Fiesta ST.

There are only two rounds of the series left. Only Tanner Foust can match the Finn’s speed it seems. Not even Ken Block, who is showing the fastest lap times but unable to translate that into wins, is unable to keep pace. Block has a curse: each final of this season, he has been bumped, hit and taken out in the first turn, or suffers mechanical problems to sideline him. This past weekend saw him once again leading the pack in the heat races, but a mechanical problem on the startline saw him only complete one lap.

Another international rally driver to join this series is Patrick Sandell, also in an OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST. He has claimed a win this season, but is still getting to grips with this series and its first-turn shenanigans. David Higgins (Subaru Impreza for SRTUSA) has made a handful number of appearances in the series this season too, and shows his wealth of experience behind the steering wheel of a rally machine.

Photos: Newspress and Subaru Media USA.

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

Cover 288

Sainz appearance at X Games Barcelona was rained out, but we love the look of that Polo!

The much anticipated outing by rally legend Carlo Sainz in the 600hp Volkswagen Polo R at the recent X Games had to be cancelled. After heavy rainfall over the last few days, the specially-erected circuit in Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium was so damp that, having been postponed on Sunday evening, the organisers had no choice but to cancel the rallycross race. Local favourite Sainz tried to console the fans who had flocked to the arena with a tweet on Twitter: “I am sorry for everyone. Thank you for coming.” The 51-year-old had prepared for his planned rallycross debut with test drives in a Volkswagen Polo. “El Matador” won the 2010 Rally Dakar for Volkswagen and is a national hero in Spain, due to his two World Rally Championship titles.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t drool over this beautiful-looking Polo!

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

Cover 282

“Hollywood” heads for Hungary

He’s only been competing in rallycross since the start of this year – before then he only did it for fun, and that was back in 1996…. But Petter ‘Hollywood’ Solberg has already taken the FIA European Rallycross Championship by storm, going as far as the semi-final at round one in England before his power steering failed, and then reaching the final in round two in Portugal, breaking the Montalegre lap record in the process.

Now it’s time for round three of the nine-round series, which takes place at Nyirad in Hungary this weekend. ‘Hollywood’ is aiming firmly for the top step of the podium, having already shown his blistering speed on the first two rounds of the championship.

He’s done all this with a Citroen DS3 Supercar built from scratch in three weeks. And the work certainly hasn’t stopped there either. Since both the opening rounds, development has continued apace – Petter describes this year’s campaign as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done”. That obviously includes winning a World Rally Championship title…

17 May was a national holiday in Norway: known as the National Day of Norway or the Nasjonaldagen. It commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian constitution at Eidsvoll in 1814, and Norwegians celebrate it with party parades in traditional costume.

Petter and his team celebrated it with a test close to the Petter Solberg RX Team base in Sweden. Having worked hard on the car for weeks on end, concentrating on extracting the maximum possible performance, they have finally managed to find another 80 horsepower – which should make a big difference out on the track.

The Norwegian said: “First of all we concentrated on trying to get the reliability of the car right, then we wanted to improve the speed. We’ve been working so hard on both of these things and now I think we’re really getting somewhere. The main thing is that we’ve got another 80 horsepower and that’s going to make a big, big difference – especially when it comes to getting off the line. I can really feel it.”

Given that Petter’s pace already allowed him to finish eight seconds ahead of his nearest rival during the semi-finals in Portugal last month, the latest evolution of his DS3 Supercar is set to take Hungary by storm.


The Nyirad circuit is located in the south west of Hungary, 195 kilometres from Budapest and 185 kilometres from Vienna. It’s also very close to Lake Balaton, which is one of Hungary’s biggest tourist attractions. The 1.220-kilometre track is composed of 52% asphalt and 48% gravel, varying in width from 10 to 16 metres. It’s the only FIA-sanctioned off-road circuit in Hungary, which is hosting the FIA European Rallycross Championship for the seventh time in 2013.

All the events are of course observed by the FIA, and last year Nyirad scored the most combined points in the stewards’ and observers’ reports, making it officially the most popular round of the championship. The track has a bit of everything: a tight infield section on gravel combined with some faster straights and corners on asphalt.

“All the circuits are new to me so it doesn’t make any difference, but I’m looking forward to it all a lot,” said Petter, who tested for a day and a half before packing up the all-carbon car for Hungary. “Wherever we go we’ve had a lot of support from all the fans and with the latest things that we have on the car it should be a really good weekend. Whatever happens, everyone in our team should be very proud: we have a fantastic car now. And there is even more to come…”

Handbrakes & Hairpins is a FREE weekly eMagazine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and entertainment from the world of rallying.

Cover 281