Weekend Highlights: 9,11 June

With ten World Rally titles, two DTM championships and six Race of Champions victories between them, the top five drivers in this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship heading to the halfway stage of the season have some rather serious pedigree. Put them in 600 BHP four-wheel drive monsters on one of the world’s finest rallycross circuits – Hell in Norway – and you have a LIVE motorsport spectacle that is not to be missed on!

After a thrilling battle at Lydden Hill last time out, the championship couldn’t be more finely balanced. Double-champion Petter Solberg’s first win since Portugal last year has thrust him into a titanic three-way fight with team-mate Johan Kristofferson and reigning champion Mattias Ekstrom, all separated by just seven points. The Scandinavian trio have monopolised the victories between them across the opening five rounds and are in a select group of four, also including Timmy Hansen, to have made the final at every round so far. Solberg’s Lydden victory reinstated him as the winningest driver in championship history, but could the Norwegian star delight his home fans and replicate compatriot Andreas Bakkerud’s success from last year?

Solberg’s old friends in the FIA World Rally Championship will also be out in force this weekend, as the series heads to the glorious Italian island of Sardinia. The third in a stretch of five gravel rallies, championship leader Sebastien Ogier will have his work cut out on day one as the first man on to the stages tasked with sweeping the roads for the cars behind, including title rival and defending event winner Thierry Neuville. Last year the Hyundai driver took advantage of his road position to break Ogier’s streak of three consecutive victories dating back to Mikko Hirvonen’s final WRC win in 2012, but could lightning strike twice? Also, watch out for Andreas Mikkelsen, back in a fully-fledged WRC car for the first time since his victory on Rally Australia last year. Having twice breached the top seven in inferior machinery this season, the hard-charging Norwegian will be eager to show everyone what they’ve been missing on his first outing for Citroen and pose an immediate challenge to his under-pressure team-leader Kris Meeke…

The LIVE action continues thick and fast as the FIM MXGP Championship heads to Russia for the first time since 2012. Semigorje is replaced on the calendar by Orlyonok, but you could almost be forgiven for thinking that nothing has changed in the meantime, as championship leader Tony Cairoli heads east looking to repeat his clean sweep of five years ago. The KTM rider’s peerless consistency ensures he has a 50 point lead atop the standings over nearest rival Gautier Paulin, France winner Clement Desalle and defending champion Tim Gajser, returning to action after shoulder pains forced the HRC rider to skip Ernee, but can Cairoli extend his run of five podiums on the trot?

Back on four wheels, next we head to Austria for Delayed-as-Live coverage of the TCR International Series from the Salzburgring. The 2.63-mile circuit is among the fastest on the calendar and therefore one of the hardest on tyres, with punctures an ever-present threat around the flat-out Paddock Curve – Europe’s answer to Church at Thruxton. Championship leader Jean-Karl Vernay will look back on last year’s meeting with fond memories as he hunted down Sergey Afanasiev to win in monsoon conditions, but the VW driver will have to be wary of championship rivals Roberto Colciago (Honda) and Stefano Comini (Audi) after the pair split honours last time out at Monza.

For unparalleled expert insight into everything from Formula 1 to IndyCar and more, be sure to catch Peter Windsor and guests on The Flying Lap, discussing the big talking points in motorsport from the heart of the Motorsport Network in Richmond.

And finally, if your weekend doesn’t already have enough fuel-injected action, then get a taste for some UK clubbie mayhem as the all-action Mini Challenge JCW series and VW Racing Cup head to Snetterton, while the Caterham Racing Series takes on the fast and furious Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

Friday 9th June

18:55 – The Flying Lap, Episode 11
21:00 – FIA European Truck Racing Championship, Rd 2, Misano
22:35 – FIA World Rally Championship, Rd 7, Rally Italy (Day 1)

Saturday 10th June

13:15 – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; Rd 6, Dover
14:15 – British GT Championship, Rd 3, Snetterton
15:15 – VW Racing Cup, Rd 3, Snetterton
15:45 – Mini Challenge JCW, Rd 3, Snetterton
16:20 – Caterham UK Racing, Rd 3, Brands Hatch Indy
22:35 – FIA World Rally Championship, Rd 7, Rally Italy (Day 2)

Sunday 11th June

11:00 – LIVE, FIM MX2, Rd 10, Russia (Race 1)
12:00 – LIVE, FIM MXGP, Rd 10, Russia (Race 1)
13:00 – LIVE FIA World Rallycross Championship, Rd 6, Norway
15:00 – Delayed-as-Live, FIM MX2, Rd 10, Russia (Race 2)
16:00 – Delayed-as-Live, FIM MXGP, Rd 10, Russia (Race 2)
19:00 – Delayed-as-Live TCR International Series, Rd 5, Salzburgring
22:35 – FIA World Rally Championship, Rd 7, Rally Italy (Day 3)