The 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship continues at Höljes (2-3 July) where more than 50 drivers are preparing to race at the iconic ‘Magic Weekend’ event in Sweden – with a capacity 25-strong entry in Euro RX1 and high-calibre grids in both RX2e and Euro RX3.
The race weekend has attracted a star-studded driver line-up, which includes a multiple FIA World Rallycross champion, a quartet of FIA European Rallycross champions, a trio of rallying heroes, a 14-time FIM Women’s Trial World champion and an ice-racing master!
Euro RX1 at Höljes constitutes something of a rallycross who’s who, with Johan Kristoffersson throwing down the gauntlet to his rivals when he announced his participation in his family-run Kristoffersson Motorsport Volkswagen Polo.
The quadruple World Champion will face stiff opposition from several quarters. Reigning title-holder Andreas Bakkerud has renewed his relationship with EKS, and the Norwegian will head into battle in the same Audi S1 with which he so very nearly clinched the World Championship crown in 2019.
Anton Marklund proved to be unbeatable in the Nyirád curtain-raiser behind the wheel of his SET Promotion Hyundai i20, though he was pushed hard by the increasingly impressive Enzo Ide (EKS), who is demonstrating just how much he learned competing alongside Kristoffersson last year.
Series returnee Ulrik Linnemann fought his way from 18th overnight to a rostrum result in the season-opener in Hungary, and the indefatigable Dane can always be counted upon to put his absolute heart and soul into his performance.
Former Super1600 king Jānis Baumanis and six-time Andros Trophy ice-racing champion Jean Baptiste ‘JB’ Dubourg are both fired-up to bounce back from a disappointing end to their Hungarian challenges, while last season’s Cooper Tires ‘Rookie of the Year’ Sivert Svardal produced a giant-killing effort to reach the final at Nyirád and is sure to enjoy plenty of home support.
Oliver Solberg makes his first competitive rallycross appearance in two years with Hedströms Motorsport, while JC Raceteknik field a pair of Audi S1s for Norwegian duo Sondre Evjen and Ole Christian Veiby, both of whom have previous podium form in European competition.
A dark horse for victory in Sweden could be Linus Östlund. Hailing from nearby Sysslebäck, the 22-year-old is the local favourite and knows the Höljes track like the back of his hand.
In Euro RX3, Kobe Pauwels and Jan Černý waged a fierce duel for supremacy in Hungary and a similar no-holds-barred scrap looks to be in prospect in round two, although there are several other contenders amongst the 16-strong entry.
João Ribeiro and Nuno Araújo will fly the Portuguese flag, with fellow Audi A1 driver Damian Litwinowicz also sure to be a threat. Teenage hotshot Jiří Šusta went second-quickest in both of the heats he finished at Nyirád, while two former podium-finishers at Höljes have also thrown their hat into the ring, as Estonian Janno Ligur and Norway’s Espen Isaksætre make their seasonal debuts.
The all-electric FIA RX2e Championship gets underway in Höljes. Spain’s Pablo Suárez, rising British star Patrick O’Donovan and Sweden’s own Isak Sjökvist were embroiled in a fierce tussle for third place in the overall standings last year, and all three are back for more in 2022.
Sjökvist’s compatriot Nils Andersson is going from strength-to-strength under the tutelage of Johan Kristoffersson, while the female charge will be led by Extreme E front-runner Catie Munnings and 14-time FIM Women’s Trial World Champion Laia Sanz, who made her RX2e bow at Spa-Francorchamps last season.