This weekend’s round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercars in Hell, Norway, proved a pivotal point for 18-year-old Jere Kalliokoski of Finland, as he achieved his goal of qualifying for the semi-final on his second-ever outing at international level.
The young Finn, competing in the series with Andy Scott‘s Dumfries-based Albatec Racing team, started his Q1 run under heavy rain: during the race, he came very close to overtaking experienced Swede Peter Hedström, yet he finished the first qualifier in fourteenth place. Q2 and Q3 weren’t much better, both times being stuck behind older competitors, so Kalliokoski went into Q4 once again in fourteenth overall. Improving weather conditions helped him win his race, with the seventh-fastest time of the session, promoting him to eleventh overall and granting him a spot in the semi-finals.
After his start, the Finn managed to hold third position for three laps, until he collided with eventual round winner Robin Larsson, an impact that rendered Kalliokoski’s Peugeot 208 Supercar unable to go any further.
“It’s been a challenging weekend, my first time in Hell, Kalliokoski says.
“Practice was initially dry but then started to rain before the qualification races, so it was difficult particularly on a technical and tricky track.
“In Q3 I was eighth, and Q2 20th, which put me overnight in 14th so I knew Sunday’s races were important to keep me on track to reach my semi-final target.
“Sunday the conditions were better, and the pace was improved, in Q3 I was 13th, but had a problem on my joker lap. The last qualifying race was crucial. I knew had to beat [Henning] Solberg to reach the semi-finals.
“It was a great race, I was very happy to beat him and won the race which allowed me to progress. In the semi, I made a pretty good start and was running third but had contact with [Robin] Larsson which ended my race.
“Overall, it’s been a weekend of ups and downs, challenging, but overall very satisfying to reach the semi-finals which was my target. Now we head to Sweden, I’ve been there before for testing, not racing, so looking forward to racing there after a successful weekend in Norway.”
Kalliokoski and the Albatec team are looking forward to ERX Supercars round three in Höljes, Sweden, 30 June-2 July.