A true Weekend in Hell for the nineteen young drivers set to take part in round three of the RX2 International Series, scheduled for this weekend (9-11 June) at the Lankebanen in Hell, near Trondheim, Norway.
The race, held in support to the Norwegian round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, is expected to attract a huge crowd, as usual for the Scandinavian events, and in its 19-strong competitor field, there will be five local drivers, with a further nine from neighbouring Sweden.
After the first two rounds in Belgium and Great Britain, reigning champion Cyril Raymond from France emerged as the man to beat, and he will predictably be fired up for a hat-trick in Norway. Raymond’s closest rival is reigning British Rallycross Champion Dan Rooke, who will visit the Norwegian track for the first time, while Swede Simon Olofsson is yet to score the sort of headline result he has been threatening.
Belgian Guillaume de Ridder and Norwegian Glenn Haug have shown great consistency, but haven’t yet scored a podium finish, unlike 17-year-old Norwegian Thomas Holmen, who impressed last time round at Lydden and is now keen to replicate his effort on home ground.
“Without any pun intended, it really is a Hell of a track!” says Holmen..
“I’ve driven there twice before and whilst I haven’t always had the best results, I’m confident of turning that trend around this year – particularly after my podium at Lydden Hill. We’ve proved we have the pace to be able to fight up at the front and I’m sure I’ll enjoy plenty of support.
“It’s never been tougher in this championship than it is right now – everybody is quick in RX2 – and you really have to be on it if you want to make the final or even semi-final, because we’re scrapping quite literally for hundredths-of-a-second. That’s what makes it so exciting for the drivers and spectators alike.
It requires 100 per cent commitment which is what I love about it, and you can be sure that I’ll be giving it 100 per cent and then some in Hell!”
Fellow Norwegian Sondre Evjen keeps closing to the front of the field, while American Tanner Whitten has been a front-runner at both past events, so the expectations are high for him to score his maiden win.
Latvian-Russian rally ace Vasiliy Gryazin also displayed flashes of speed, as have Swedish duo William Nilsson and Anders Michalak – both of whom are looking for a twist of fortune to come away with the kind of results to match their potential.
Simon Syversen, the final full-time Norwegian entry in the field, proved to be a bit unlucky in the past, and hopes for a major turnaround on home soil. A similar story can be told for Swedish siblings Andreas and Jessica Bäckman and compatriot Sandra Hultgren, all of whom have shown a lot of promise, without providing scores to match.
The start list is completed by a quartet of new additions in the shape of Swedish trio Marcus Höglund, Jonathan Walfridsson and Stein Fredrik Akre, as well as Norway’s Tony Sormbroen.
RX2 action at Hell starts on Friday afternoon, 9 June, with the first practice session, followed by the first round of qualifying heats. The remainder of the qualifying will take place on Saturday, while the semi-finals and the televised final will be on Sunday.