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Automation Rallycross League, Season Two (Canada Day One Results Up!)


#102

Southark Racing “need to minimise mistakes” to hit best possible finishes in “Underdeveloped” first car


Southark Racing had a miserable time in belgium with the hopes being laid down for a more competitive run at the next round. Dominic Andrew-Scott hit trouble when he and Alison Wondersley came together after an aggressive start from the pair. Scott’s damaged car was repaired but this left him with a permanent deficit to the cars he should have contended with. This wasn’t helped by a potential podium being squandered after running wide early on in the second heat. Kevin Ryde continued his duties until the final call, with Andrew-Scott struggling to keep his car on the pace and eventually failing to reach the Semi-finals.

Andrew-Scott talked with us in the post-finals interviews. “We need to minimise these mistakes as they creep in. We’re pushing to try and make the most of what is an underdeveloped car compared to the rest of the field, and with that we end up leaning too far over the edge.” Afterwards he continued in his usual fashion and helped his team pack up while we spoke with Kevin Ryde “Here we had some reasonable pace, even when hampered by the damage to the car. Finishing is important but it’s a shame to see everything going against us.”

Michael McDowell, bouyed by a reasonable finish at this weekends WTCR round went easy on the team, claiming the “New season is simply a test of our procedures in the build up to something much bigger.” McDowell didn’t elaborate, although the signs are clear that the Bramhall Motorsport Division is looking to expand into ARXL and WTCR as factory teams.


#103

Gulp Oil Rallycross of Great Britain, Day One (Qualifying Rounds)

The fourth round of the Automation Rallycross League began under typically British skies at Silverstone Circuit, the home of British motorsports. A steady light rain fell on the track the night before the first day of racing, the track conditions tricky but not unmanageably bad for the first day of the event.

Q1

Pablo Sanchez made his mark early in day one action, easily winning the incident-filled first heat of Q1. Hsiu-Yinn Lim and Pekka Heikkinen tangled on the first lap, a racing incident that cost Heikkinen dearly, as the #80 Pepperbomb sustained considerable damage in the incident. Lim’s car did not escape unscathed, but the damage to the #1 Armada was light, fortunately, allowing her to place second, well back of Sanchez. Kevin Michaels split Lim and Heikkinen at the line, the #63 Aero Stretto not looking entirely at home on the slippery dirt/clay track.

Marie-Claire Allemand once again demonstrated her considerable wet-weather talent, taking the best time of the second heat, as well as the top time of the session overall, fully sixteen seconds ahead of Jaimz Marshall, who struggled to lap consistently for the entire heat. Matt Sierra made a strong start, but a slide off the track damaged the bodywork of his #36 Merciel, forcing the Brit to back well off his usual pace to avoid further trouble. Eino Vatanen had an awful race, a strong start spoiled by a heavy crash on the first lap, heavily damaging the #11 Delta Motorsports machine.

Charlie LeClair took the top time in the final heat of Q1, well ahead of Haapala’s Aatto Virtanen. Yuki Fujishima found the going to be difficult, making a rather poor start and struggling to find grip at any point on the circuit, finishing well back in third place.

Q2

A break in the rain dried the track somewhat in time for Q2, and times tumbled in the first heat, with Pekka Heikkinen setting the high mark in the first session, some thirty seconds ahead of the #96 Kitanishi of Yuki Fujishima, her car damaged after sideswiping a barrier on the first lap. Kevin Michaels struggled to find pace again in the KMC, but managed enough to finish in third place, well ahead of the stricken #4 Leopard of Eino Vatanen.

Aatto Virtanen took the top time of the second heat, five seconds behind the time set by Heikkinen in the first, and some twenty seconds up on Matt Sierra, who finished second in a pitched battle with FMR’s Jaimz Marshall, the strong start and final lap by the Sierra in the Merciel proving to be the margin between him and Marshall. Hsiu-Yinn Lim made contact with the barriers on her joker on the first lap, damaging her Armada considerably and dashing any hopes of a heat win this session, finishing well back in fourth place.

Pablo Sanchez came close - but not quite - to besting Heikkinen’s time from the first heat, falling a mere eight tenths short, to take the top time in the third heat. Charlie LeClair did not look particularly happy with his #33 Kuma PnDa, the car sliding around errantly on the slippery surface all heat long. A suspension failure on the first lap dashed Marie-Claire Allemand’s hopes of a second heat win, relegating the #707 Hwa Vigil to the back of the pack.

Q3

Marie-Claire Allemand started strong in the first heat, taking the top time easily in her freshly-repaired Hwa, some ten seconds up on Hsiu-Yinn Lim, the defending champion still fighting the lingering effects of her crash the previous session. Kevin Michaels improved somewhat over his Q2 form, finishing in third after Eino Vatanen retired on the second lap, the radiator that cracked in his Q1 accident finally giving way.

Charlie LeClair was flying in the second heat, looking very much like a force to be reckoned with, taking the top time of both heat and session easily after Matt Sierra faltered on the first lap, putting the #36 Merciel Pixi into the wall and causing a considerable amount of damage. Yuki Fujishima held off a hard-charging Jaimz Marshall on the final lap to hold second place, well off LeClair’s pace overall.

Aatto Virtanen took the top spot in the final heat, well clear of a spectacular battle between Pekka Heikkinen and Pablo Sanchez, the first time those two drivers met after Sanchez controversially called out the Finn’s driving ability after the Spa race. Heikkinen took no prisoners, blowing past Sanchez on the final lap after three very close laps before, taking second place easily over the American driver.

Q4

With the retirement of Vatanen, the Q4 heats combined into two, with Pablo Sanchez putting the #52 Shromet on the top of the charts, both in the race and the session, taking the easy victory over Yuki Fujishima. Jaimz Marshall finished in third, punching his ticket to the semi-finals in emphatic fashion. Matt Sierra and Kevin Michaels, both effectively eliminated from day two action already, fought hard for the last few points available, with Sierra putting an incredible move on Michaels with his damaged Merciel, to take fourth place in the heat over the KMC driver.

Aatto Virtanen took the top honours in the second heat, some twenty seconds up on the battered #1 Armada of Hsiu-Yinn Lim. Marie-Claire Allemand took third, while Charlie LeClair and Pekka Heikkinen tangled on the first lap, damaging both cars and sending them to the back of the pack, with Heikkinen edging out the young Frenchman by just under two seconds at the line; a finish of little consequence, as both drivers were guaranteed a spot in the semi-finals merely by finishing the race.

Intermediate Classification


Q1

The first heat of Q1 began with a bang - literally - as Mulle Meck collided with Martin Bayer on the first lap, damaging both cars extensively, and taking Bayer, a favourite to place strongly in this round, right at the back of the pack. This cleared the way for Huangdou’s Feihong Luo to take the top place in the heat, some ten seconds ahead of Duncan Duff of Mons Racing. Elin Arbez suffered some sort of minor mechanical failure in her #62 Morton Teo, relegating her to a third place finish, ahead of the #186 Daylily of Saki Mochizuki.

William Cunningham proved once again that he is a master of changeable, slippery conditions, the FWM driver taking the top time in the second heat, some twenty seconds ahead of Rena Hayami, who did not look particularly comfortable in the #76 Wade Monster. Riley Phillips struggled with traction in the Zephorus in third place, but did enough to finish ahead of both Stefan Banach and Elaine Eisenberg, after both drivers collided on the final lap to put Eisenberg in fourth and Banach in fifth respectively. Alison Wondersley had a race to forget, a mechanical failure hampering the speed of the #7 Gnoo Goblin, finishing a distant sixth.

SWISSRA’s Markus Hutter took the top spot of the third heat, as well as the session, with a brilliant drive in the #63 Munot Starkwind. Job Van Uitert followed eight seconds behind in the Autodelta, the Dutchman speaking favourably about the team’s chances this weekend before the racing began. Sabine Weber and Harry Davies had a tight battle for position behind, with Weber recovering from a mediocre start with four excellent, consistent laps to edge out Davies by a second at the line. Kenji Nishida rounded out the field in fifth place, in what proved to be a remarkably trouble-free heat.

Amanda Huuginkis took the top spot in the final heat of Q1 in what proved to be a battle of attrition, after Dominic Andrew-Scott and Gus Block made contact to eliminate themselves from contention, Andrew-Scott finishing fourth and Block in fifth. Reiko Nagase drove a cautious, if a bit sloppy race to finish second in the heat, ahead of Mikah Jameson, who had a number of close calls during their race.

Q2

Alison Wondersley drove a brilliant recovery to erase the memory of her Q1 misfortunes, putting the #7 Gnoo Goblin on the top of the timesheets in the first heat, where she would stay, as her time was not bested for the rest of the session. Martin Bayer put the #3 Cisalpina into second place, ahead of a field of heavily battered and battle-scarred cars; Gus Block had a sloppy, inconsistent race in third, a second behind Bayer, while Dominic Andrew-Scott in fourth held off Stefan Banach and Mulle Meck behind.

Riley Phillips rose to the top of the second heat, well clear of Elin Arbez, after the New Zealander struggled overtake Reiko Nagase and Saki Mochizuki for second place and third place respectively, having poorly chosen to take her joker on the first lap. Mikah Jameson finished fifth, well back of the fight ahead, while Elaine Eisenberg’s woes continued, finishing well back in sixth place.

Harry Davies took the top spot in a chaotic third heat, which saw a massive pileup involving every other car in the heat; Sabine Weber in the #55 Motorpop, Kenji Nishida in the #77 Hana Raiden, Rena Hayami in the #76 Wade Monster and the #73 Yinzer of Amanda Huuginkis. Hayami made a poor start, finding herself going three wide into the first corner and pushing hard, but she misjudged her braking point and upset Nishida ahead of her, spinning him around and leaving all four drivers with nowhere to go. All four recovered, but were far back of Davies, with Weber in second, Nishida in third, Hayami in fourth and the hapless Huuginkis bringing up the rear.

Duncan Duff took the top spot in the final heat, driving a nearly flawless race to finish nearly thirty seconds ahead of Feihong Luo, who was held up behind William Cunningham until the final lap, at which point the Huangdou driver unleased the #26 car to finish some one and a quarter seconds ahead of the #423 FWM. Job Van Uitert collided with Markus Hutter on the first lap, damaging both cars and taking them out of contention to win the heat, Van Uitert finishing fourth, with Hutter a distant fifth place.

Q3

Q3 was again filled with incidents, the field finding the conditions very difficult indeed as the rain began again just before the start of the session. Rena Hayami put up the best time of the first heat, the #76 car back in fine health once again after a couple of difficult sessions to start their weekend. Far behind the remaining field of damaged cars put on a surprisingly exciting race, with Amanda Huuginkis taking second place after a big mistake by Markus Hutter saw the Swiss driver spin on his joker lap. Elaine Eisenberg nursed her #598 EFI Soma home just ahead of Sabine Weber, who put on a late charge to gain some breathing room ahead of Kenji Nishida to round out the field.

Mikah Jameson took the top time in the second heat, one of only four drivers to run a nearly flawless race this session, finishing some thirty seconds ahead of Job Van Uitert, who in spite of the gap to Jameson, still managed P5 overall. Behind Van Uitert’s damaged Autodelta, a series of contacts between the remaining drivers in the heat - Mulle Meck, William Cunningam, Stefan Banach and Dominic Andrew-Scott - hampered their progress. This made for very exciting racing, underscoring the building drama within the series as the race for the championship, as well as the fight for a coveted promotion to the Premier League for next season.

Heat three saw Feihong Luo take the top time easily, driving a flawless race to post the best time up until that point of the session. Martin Bayer was frustrated by a costly spin on the first lap, and then being held up by the battle between Daylily’s Saki Mochizuki and Ace Racing’s Reiko Nagase, the German only getting past them on the final lap. Mochizuki won the battle with Nagase, finishing third behind Bayer, while Gus Block had a forgettable race, spinning on the first lap as he attempted to avoid a stationary Martin Bayer, Block damaging his car and ending up in fifth place.

Elin Arbez shook off the difficulties of the first two sessions, posting the top time overall enroute to winning the final heat of Q3, some thirty seconds up on Riley Phillips. Phillips found himself behind Gnoo Dadspeed’s Alison Wondersley after a difficult first lap, and found the conditions to be not favourable to making an overtake. In fact it was only after Wondersley took her joker on the final lap that Phillips was able to fully unleash the #94 Zephorus, clocking a stellar lap to take second place. Duncan Duff made a costly error on his joker lap, sideswiping a barrier and damaging his car to an unknown extent, but still managing to finish fourth, while Harry Davies damaged his suspension on the first lap, the #34 Knightwick not handling properly thereafter.

Q4

Harry Davies put his #34 Knightwick, resplendent with a fully-rebuilt front suspension, on the top of the charts in the first heat, after Sabine Weber and Gus Block ran into trouble with each other right off the start. Weber managed to just pull it out in the end, finishing half a second up on the #5 GAA Volche. Elaine Eisenberg’s woes continued, finishing a distant fourth, her EFI Soma Super just not looking accustomed to the slick, wet track here at Silverstone. Markus Hutter and Kenji Nishida brought home the rear, finishing fifth and sixth respectively, in a campaign both drivers will likely want to forget.

Martin Bayer unleashed the #3 Cisalpina, monstering the course and dominating the rest of the field in the second heat, the German driver looking like a favourite for victory as he stood clear of everyone else. Amanda Huuginkis took second, some ways back of Bayer, her damaged Yinzer just fast enough to hold off Duncan Duff’s #404 Mons, one second back of Huuginkis in third place. Saki Mochizuki languished behind Reiko Nagase, struggling to find overtaking opportunities until the last lap, when Nagase spun and damaged her #10 Zenith. This allowed Mochizuki through to catch up dramatically to the slow-moving cars ahead, finishing only a second behind Duff for fourth place. Dominic Andrew-Scott’s run of bad luck continued, the Southark Racing driver crashing heavily on the start, then retiring half a lap later with a broken driveshaft.

William Cunningham put the #423 FWM to the top of the timesheets in the third heat, with Alison Wondersley and Riley Phillips struggling to match the pace set by the American behind. The challenges to overtaking continued for the field, with Stefan Banach having a frustrating race behind Mulle Meck’s Shinrin, only getting past on the final lap to finish fourth.

Feihong Luo continued to show how strong the #26 Huangdou Sprite is, taking the top time of the final heat and finishing just behind Bayer’s time for the second-best of the session. Elin Arbez made contact with Job Van Uitert on the first lap, damaging both cars substantially, though Van Uitert got away with a lot less than Arbez, the Dutchman managing to hold off Mikah Jameson for second place, while Arbez ended up in fourth place, with Rena Hayami rounding out the field after a big crash on her final lap.

Intermediate Classification


Q1

Tsubasa Arima took the top time in the first heat, and indeed the session, some nine seconds ahead of Carina Flannagan, after the New Zealander struggled with a loss of tire pressure in one wheel. Bruce Mooseview struggled to get his eye in on the course, finishing third, while Charlie Martin damaged his suspension on the first lap, finishing well back in fourth.

Kenneth Visser continued his hot streak from Spa, finishing top of the chart in the second heat, after a thrilling race with Chizuru Mizuhara. The Dutchman put together two flawless laps to end the race, slowly walking away from Mizuhara behind, who made a minor mistake on her joker lap, thereby sealing Visser’s second-place finish, and putting her right on the front bumper of Riku Jokinen. Karina Meister had a race to forget, spinning on the first lap and damaging her #3 Evgenis Valkyrie, putting her well out of contention.

Q2

Bruce Mooseview recovered from an awful start in the first heat, driving a nearly flawless race to take the top time in the first heat, as well as the session, blowing past Carina Flannagan while on his joker on Lap 3, and holding out on the final lap to cement his finish. Charlie Martin started strong, but struggled to find grip in his #84 Kadett, finishing third, while Karina Meister rounded out the field, still dealing with the effects of her Q1 crash.

Kenneth Visser made it two for two in the second heat, overtaking Tsubasa Arima on the final lap and just holding on to take the top time by a third of a second. Chizuru Mizuhara finished third, closing in rather rapidly on Arima at the line, with the MHIR driver wishing desperately for one more lap to take the place. Riku Jokinen had a disastrous race, crashing on their first-lap joker and damaging the #74 Evgenis considerably, finishing a distant fourth place.

Q3

Hard work and perseverance paid off in the first heat, as Karina Meister took the top time in the heat, narrowly beating Riku Jokinen in their freshly-repaired Evgenises. Charlie Martin tried valiantly to catch up to Meister and Jokinen, but in the end the gap caused by his poor start was just too much to overcome, the Brit settling for a very competitive third place. Chizuru Mizuhara crashed on the first lap after a rotten start, damaging the #599 Kadett and putting it a distant fourth.

Bruce Mooseview made it two in a row with a strong finish in the second heat, three seconds clear of a raging battle between Kenneth Visser and Carina Flannagan. Flannagan got the better start of the two, but Visser overtook her on the joker to take second. The two drivers swapped places on each subsequent lap, with Flannagan just having the edge on Visser, finishing four hundredths of a second ahead at the line. Tsubasa Arima suffered a puncture on the first lap, taking the #47 Kadett out of contention early.

Q4

Carina Flannagan built on her momentum from Q3, topping the charts in the first heat easily over Tsubasa Arima and Ken Visser. Arima and Visser had mirror races to each other, starting rather poorly, then struggling to find traction subsequently, and bumping one another on their final laps, both opting for the joker on the same lap. In the end, Arima had the edge on Visser, pulling out enough of an advantage on the third lap so as to minimise the impact of her mistake on the final lap. Chizuru Mizuhara suffered an engine issue in the final heat, the #599 Kadett well out of contention at the finish.

Karina Meister took the top honours in the second heat, beating Riku Jokinen by four seconds for the top time of the session as well. Jokinen drove a solid race, overtaking Charlie Martin on Lap 3 to take second, and held it in spite of a minor mistake on the final lap sending the #74 Ralliheart driver wide on the final corner. Bruce Mooseview suffered a suspension failure in the #32 FABEL, finishing well back in fourth place.

Intermediate Classification


#104

Gulp Oil Rallycross of Great Britain, Day Two (Finals)

Day two saw a dramatic improvement in the weather, the rain of the first day giving way to a mostly cloudy day, and a slowly drying track as well.

Semi-Final 1

Charlie LeClair stormed to the victory in the first Premier League semi-final, stringing together six nearly flawless laps to finish some nine seconds ahead of Hsiu-Yinn Lim, who ran wide in the joker section on her first lap, and fighting with inconsistency the rest of the race. Yuki Fujishima finished third, running consistently, but just not fast enough to catch either LeClair nor Lim ahead. Marie-Claire Allemand rounded out the field, the now-dry track not suiting her car nor driving style particularly well.

Semi-Final 2

Pekka Heikkinen romped to the easy victory in the second semi-final, after avoiding a first-lap accident involving Aatto Virtanen and Pablo Sanchez. Both drivers escaped with only minor damage to their cars, but it was enough to allow Heikkinen to run away with the race ahead. A poor joker lap ultimately cost Sanchez in the Shromet, finishing three quarters of a second behind Virtanen’s Haapala. Jaimz Marshall struggled to find pace in the race, finishing a very distant fourth.

Final

Aatto Virtanen took his first-ever ARXL victory, starting strong and running six excellent laps free of drama to win the final, with defending champion Hsiu-Yinn Lim three seconds behind, struggling with inconsistency all race. Charlie LeClair held second for much of the race, but after running wide on his final lap, the young French driver lost the position to Lim, finishing barely more than a car-length behind. Pekka Heikkinen suffered a stroke of bad luck, with a first-lap puncture likely caused by running over some debris, the Finn finishing fourth, well back of the other three drivers.

Final Classification


Semi-Final 1

Martin Bayer romped to an easy victory in the first semi-final in League One, making a strong start and taking advantage of the nearly ideal conditions to put on a clinic in car control. Alison Wondersley put the #7 Gnoo Goblin into second place, holding the position in spite of a couple of minor errors on her closing laps. Riley Phillips punched his ticket to the final with a strong race, finishing just over a second ahead of OBRSO’s Stefan Banach in third place. Banach made a poor start, then found himself struggling to find the ideal line on the challenging course. In spite of a late error by Phillips on the last lap, Banach was just too far behind to convert the opportunity. Duncan Duff and Feihong Luo had an eventful race, the two drivers virtually neck and neck the entire race, until Luo missed a braking point on the final lap and plowed straight into Duff, heavily damaging the #26 Huangdou and retiring it on the spot, allowing Duff to limp the #404 Mons home to fifth place.

Semi-Final 2

Like Bayer in the first semi-final, Buy2Get1Free’s Elin Arbez roared to an easy victory in her semi-final, finishing eleven and a half seconds ahead of Mikah Jameson. Arbez drove basically the perfect race, the results speaking for themselves. Fourteen40 Racing was overjoyed at the result of Jameson, the young Brit punching the team’s ticket to the final for the first time this season. Job Van Uitert recovered admirably from an awful start, bringing the #83 Autodelta home in third place, some five seconds up on William Cunningham in the #423 FWM Mirra. Harry Davies struggled to find the pace and the lines all race, a disappointing finish to an otherwise promising weekend for Knightwick RX Racing.

Final

An absolutely epic final capped an exciting round for ARXL League One, with Martin Bayer edging out Riley Phillips for the win. Though no driver had a truly clean race in the final, Bayer minimised the effects of his mistakes to coolly win. Phillips had a couple of hiccups on his last lap, running wide in a couple of corners and making things a lot more interesting between him and Mikah Jameson behind. In the end, Phillips kept his head on and finished second, barely a second ahead of Jameson. Alison Wondersley put the Gnoo Goblin in fourth place, three seconds behind Jameson and Two ahead of Elin Arbez. Arbez was a favourite to win the race at the start, but a costly error on her joker dashed her hopes of that, settling for fifth place ahead of Job Van Uitert, Arbez virtually neck and neck with the Dutchman until Van Uitert ran wide on his joker on the final lap.

Final Classification


Semi-Final 1

The first Super 1250 semi-final was a nail-biting affair, with all four drivers finishing within two seconds of each other in a hard-fought, but fair race. Chizuru Mizuhara took the top spot by a mere half second ahead of OHO Racing’s Karina Meister, the Japanese driver acing their joker lap to give them most of the gap in one swoop. Team Oranj’s Ken Visser could not say the same, unfortunately, as he ran wide on his joker and cost him a bit of time…enough that the #74 Evgenis of Riku Jokinen was able to catch right up to his rear bumper. Unfortunately for Jokinen, Visser did just enough to stay ahead, relegating the Finn to fourth place.

Semi-Final 2

Super 1250 delivered yet another exciting race in the second semi-final, with Carina Flannagan recovering from a messy joker lap to finish three seconds ahead of Team SCH minMAX’s Tsubasa Arima, the young Japanese star also having a rather tough go on her joker lap as well. Bruce Mooseview too, was not immune to joker problems, squandering his second-place finish, and a place in the final, with a messy run through the joker section to cap his race. Charlie Martin struggled to find consistent pace behind, rounding out the field in fourth.

Final

Carina Flannagan won her first event of the season, putting together essentially a flawless race to win by the narrowest of margins over Karina Meister, the German finishing a mere two-thirds of a second behind Flannagan. Chizuru Mizuhara overcame a poor start to finish third, with five excellent laps - and one not so excellent - as the tricky joker section forced yet another mistake from the field. Tsubasa Arima had a race to forget, as she folded the front left quarter panel in on her wheel after a bit of contact with Karina Meister. While the damage was not severe, it was enough to hamper the steering and suspension of the #47 Kadett such that fourth place was inevitable, in this very tight field.

Final Classification


#105

Standings After Round 4


#106

We knew just where to find Mons Racing sporting director Alex “AA” Adams: the pub behind the track. To our surprise, he was in a good mood. Between sips of his favourite Gin, he had the following to say:

After I sobered up, we analysed the results from the first three rounds. Clearly, our car is a sack of potatoes, that has not changed. But it looks like it's a sack of potatoes that does well in poor weather, so maybe that is where our strength is. With the steady and reliable driving style of Duncan, we felt confident that he'd be able to achieve more if he just pushed the envelope a bit more. We told him to keep the pedal on the floor and send it every opportunity he got. The results speak for themselves - he did a great job getting the car into the semis. Too bad about his misfortune there, nothing he could've done to avoid Luo. We'll just keep pushing to the limit and hope for the best in the next round.

We had a glimpse of Duncan Duff as he exited the car, but quickly he disappeared, and was nowhere to be found for comment.


#107

From starting out on a high, with a podium, Franklin Marshall are disappointed to be sliding down the league faster than a flushed tur…

WTF??? Who made this press release…Fire them!!!


#108

The Armada Racing Team are somewhat surprised to end this round not only up to second, but having actually made their first gain on perennial rival Team Red Cock Energy Liquid. Not least notwithstanding Hsiu-Yinn’s consistent inconsistency with the upgraded car. Might as well roll some die at this point…


#109

Team Staboil RallyX Norway, Day One (Qualifying Rounds)

Rain once again greeted the Automation Rallycross League at Hell Circuit in Norway, the infamously challenging Lankebanen made that much more challenging with the steady, soaking rain. Nevertheless, the teams were excited to put on a good show for the thousands of assembled fans at the circuit.

Q1

The first heat in the Premier League was a hard-nosed affair, with the drivers bumping and jostling for position the entire race, the nature of the racing just asking for a big pile-up to happen. Fortunately, the only incident occurred between Kevin Michaels and Yuki Fujishima, the two drivers bumping and running wide at the bottom of the track on their starting lap. Marie-Claire Allemand finished at the top of the charts, just beating out Merciel’s Matt Sierra for second place. Fujishima was third in the #96 Kitanishi, with Michaels bringing up the rear.

Charlie LeClair put on a clinic in race two, after championship leader Pekka Heikkinen encountered trouble on his starting lap, tangling with Delta Motorsports’ Eino Vatanen, damaging both cars. Vatanen mostly shrugged off the incident, finishing just ahead of the stricken Heikkinen. Aatto Virtanen finished second in the #7 Haapala, a slow start and starting lap hampering that car’s efforts to top the charts.

Jaimz Marshall topped the charts in the final heat, running the best time of the session, some six seconds clear of LeClair’s time in the second heat, and eight seconds clear of Shromet’s Pablo Sanchez. Hsiu-Yinn Lim struggled with braking issues after the first lap, the #1 Armada finishing well back of Sanchez for third.

Q2

Times started to tumble in the second session, the drivers getting their eye in on the track and the conditions. Pekka Heikkinen bounced back from a rather lacking showing in Q1, storming to a strong finish in the first heat of Q2, six and a half seconds up on the #4 Leopard of Eino Vatanen. Yuki Fujishima was close behind Vatanen, but not quite close enough to mount an effective challenge for second. KMC’s Kevin Michaels crashed and damaged his car on the first lap, dashing the hopes of the American to finish well in this session after an encouraging Q1.

Matt Sierra battled his way to the top time in the second heat, after an incident where Armada’s Hsiu-Yinn Lim cut across the front of Sierra’s Merciel and spun herself into the wall, damaging the #1 Armada in the process and relegating Lim to finish at the back of the pack. Aatto Virtanen edged out Marie-Claire Allemand for the second-best time of the session, a sloppy first lap putting the #707 Hwa driver in a substantial time deficit to her Finnish rival.

Charlie LeClair made it two for two, taking the top time in the final heat, some six seconds ahead of Pablo Sanchez. Jaimz Marshall remained very competitive, the Brit seemingly enjoying the challenge of the Lankebanen in the wet, only three seconds behind Sanchez’s Shromet and closing quickly, after a scintillating joker lap.

Q3

Hsiu-Yinn Lim recovered admirably from her mistake in the previous session, putting the freshly-repaired #1 Armada to the top of the timesheets, seven and a half seconds up on Aatto Virtanen’s Haapala in second place. Marie-Claire Allemand made it interesting with Virtanen, the Monegasque driver leading Virtanen through three laps, until a costly mistake on her joker lap allowed Virtanen past, having to settle for third place in the end. Kevin Michaels struggled with lingering handling issues from his Q2 shunt, finishing at the back of the pack.

Jaimz Marshall continued his strong weekend, putting the #68 FMR HiWay on the top of the timesheets for the second heat, after an mistake-filled race for Pablo Sanchez left him nearly two seconds behind the Brit in second place. Eino Vatanen came in third place, not quite able to match the pace of Sanchez, even with the mistakes made by the latter, while Yuki Fujishima damaged the #96 Kitanishi’s suspension on the starting lap, dashing their hopes for a solid finish in the session.

Matt Sierra took the top time in the final heat of Q3, blitzing ahead of SCH minMAX’s Charlie LeClair after the young Frenchman ran very wide on his joker on the first lap, allowing Sierra into the lead easily as a result. Pekka Heikkinen went off-track briefly on his starting lap, damaging the underpinnings of the #80 Pepperbomb slightly and consigning the Finn to a third-place finish in the heat.

Q4

Aatto Virtanen topped the first heat of the final Premier League qualifying session, finishing five seconds ahead of Marie-Claire Allemand in the #707 Hwa Vigil. Yuki Fujishima made a rather poor start, but recovered brilliantly to finish in third, threatening to overtake Allemand the last couple of laps. Kevin Michaels’ woes continued, after a brake failure severely hampered his ability to run at full speed, finishing well back of the pack.

Pablo Sanchez took the top spot in the second heat, overtaking Jaimz Marshall on the second lap after a fantastic joker by the Shromet driver. Marshall struggled finding the line in his race, finishing third but punching his ticket to day two in the process. Pekka Heikkinen cruised home at the back of the pack, his entry into day two assured in all but the most improbable situations.

Intermediate Classification


Q1

Sabine Weber put the bad memories of Silverstone behind her, storming to the best time in the first heat of Q1, two and a half seconds clear of OBRSO’s Stefan Banach. Markus Hutter recovered from an awful start, just pipping Reiko Nagase for third place in a thrilling battle through the final couple of corners. Mikah Jameson made contact with Mulle Meck on their starting laps, damaging their cars slightly and putting them well off the pace, Jameson finishing fourth and Meck rounding out the field behind.

Feihong Luo drove a nearly flawless race in the second heat, beating out MHIR’s Elaine Eisenberg on the last couple of laps to take the top time in the heat and the session, a second ahead of his rival in the #598 EFI Soma. Chaos reigned behind, as a big accident on the starting lap damaged Martin Bayer’s Cisalpina, as well as the FWM Mirra of William Cunningham, with Gus Block and Kenji Nishida being caught up in it as well. While Nishida got away largely unscathed, the same can not be said for the other three drivers, with Bayer and Cunningham taking by far the worst of it.

Duncan Duff took the top time in the third heat, a second and a half ahead of Harry Davies, the #34 Knightwick driver seemingly rejuvenated by his strong weekend in the UK. Alison Wondersley, Riley Phillips and Dominic Andrew-Scott got tangled in one another on their starting laps; while no car was damaged particuarly severely, it was enough to put all three cars out of contention for leading the heat home, with Wondersley edging out Andrew-Scott, and Phillips struggling with handling issues bringing up the rear.

Rena Hayami rose to the top of the final heat, a stellar start by the Japanese driver making all the difference at the line, finishing a second ahead of Buy2Get1Free’s Elin Arbez, who by contrast was caught napping when the lights went out. Amanda Huuginkis found the going to be particularly easy in third place, recovering from a middling start to just edge out Saki Mochizuki at the line. Job Van Uitert had a race to forget, spinning off on his start lap and heavily damaging his #83 Autodelta, putting him well out of contention in the heat, and on the defensive for the rest of the weekend.

Q2

Riley Phillips roared to the top of the timesheets in the first heat, putting his Q1 woes to bed in decisive fashion. Behind, only Gus Block was able to run anything near normal race pace, finishing a distant second, with Job Van Uitert third, Martin Bayer fourth and William Cunningham fifth. Mulle Meck had a terminal engine failure on his starting lap, the #777 Shinrin grinding to a halt in a cloud of steam and smoke.

Alison Wondersley took top honours in the second heat, after an exciting battle with Southark Racing’s Dominic Andrew-Scott. Wondersley fell behind Andrew-Scott on the starting lap, but three blisteringly fast laps put the #7 Gnoo Goblin on top, and with enough of a buffer that a minor error on her joker lap wasn’t enough to surrender the lead to Andrew-Scott. Mikah Jameson and Kenji Nishida thrilled in a battle for third place, with Nishida holding the position until the final lap, where he ran wide in the joker section, losing precious time and allowing Jameson to squeak through for the position. Reiko Nagase trailed in fifth, with SWISSRA’s Markus Hutter bringing up the rear, that team struggling to find pace this weekend.

Elin Arbez put the #62 Morton Teo on the top of the leaderboard in the third heat, setting a time that would not be beat for the rest of the session. Saki Mochizuki took second, after the joker claimed yet another victim in Stefan Banach, who was running comfortably in second until he ran wide in the joker, letting Mochizuki through in a straight-up pass for position. Harry Davies continued his strong form, finishing a convincing fourth in the heat, ahead of Yinzer’s Amanda Huuginkis.

The final heat of Q4 was a testy one, with Elaine Eisenberg punting Sabine Weber into the wall on the starting lap, damaging the #55 Motorpop considerably and spoiling the young German driver’s race. Shortly after, Duncan Duff and Feihong Luo collided on the second lap, spinning both cars and sending the #26 Huangdou into the wall. Duff recovered quickly from the collision that stopped nearly all runners in their tracks for a moment, the Canadian able to still take the top time in the heat. Luo however was not so lucky, finishing fourth behind Eisenberg, visibly angry as he climbed out of the car. After the race, Luo had a verbal confrontation with Duff, with race officials scrambling to separate the two drivers to keep the peace between them and their teams. Lost in all this mess was Rena Hayami, who stayed out of trouble to finish second in the heat, proving that sometimes being lucky is all that matters.

Q3

Elaine Eisenberg put the chaos of the first race behind her, taking the easy victory in the first heat in her largely unscathed EFI Soma, some thirty seconds clear of Gus Block in the #5 GAA Volche. The rest of the “hospital brigade” followed, the teams desperate to keep their cars running in the hopes of a strong Q4 finish. Van Uitert finished third, ahead of Bayer in fourth, Weber in fifth, Luo in sixth and Cunningham in seventh in this expanded, seven-car heat, following the retirement of Skog Sport’s Mulle Meck in Q2.

Duncan Duff and Harry Davies thrilled in the second heat, with Duff slipping past Davies on the final lap, following a minor mistake by Davies in the joker section, the Knighwick driver having led the second heat the entire race until then. Markus Hutter started very strongly, but faded as he found the conditions challenging, finishing four seconds behind Davies in third place, and one second ahead of Sparkling Machine’s Kenji Nishida. A wild three-way battle for fifth place raged behind Nishida, with Amanda Huuginkis edging out Reny Hayami by one-thousandth of a second - a virtual tie - to take the place, with Reiko Nagase only fourteen hundreths behind Hayami, having given up the position to both Huuginkis and Hayami after the joker claimed yet another victim.

Stefan Banach took the top time in the final heat, some eight seconds up on Riley Phillips, the young Brit struggling on the start and having a rough go on the joker lap to make a trying race even more difficult, nearly losing out to a hard-charging Saki Mochizuki in the dying metres of the final lap. Alison Wondersley claimed fourth place after Elin Arbez made an unforced error on her joker lap, the Gnoo Goblin sailing past for an easy overtake. Dominic Andrew-Scott made a strong late push for positions in the heat, passing Mikah Jameson for sixth, but just falling short of Arbez ahead by not even three tenths of a second.

Q4

Reiko Nagase sailed to the easy heat win in the first heat of Q4, some three-quarters of a lap ahead of Gus Block and the rest of the “hospital brigade” of Van Uitert, Luo, Bayer, Weber and Cunningham, the five slow cars unfortunately unable to make much headway in repairs in what is likely to be a weekend they will all want to forget before RX Sweden.

Elin Arbez took the top time in the second heat, starting strong and not looking back the entire race enroute to the fastest time in the session. Dominic Andrew-Scott took second, some fourteen seconds back of Arbez, the Brit making the best of his car in the challenging, slippery conditions. Markus Hutter avoided trouble on his joker in the #63 SWISSRA Munot Starkwind, getting away with a sloppy lap to retain second in the heat, ahead of Kenji Nishida. Mikah Jameson finished fifth, after Amanda Huuginkis had a nasty crash on the final lap, dropping her a place. Rena Hayami crashed on the starting lap and damaged the #76 Wade Monster, struggling to keep the wounded car running on the straight and narrow.

Elaine Eisenberg drove a fantastic recovery race, finishing top of the charts in the final heat, two seconds up on Knightwick’s Harry Davies. Davies survived a late scare from Duncan Duff and Sachi Mochizuki, a sloppy joker lap nearly putting the #34 Knightwick in fourth place. Stefan Banach finished in fifth place, avoiding trouble in a clean, solid performance, while both Alison Wondersley and Riley Phillips cruised to the last two spots respectively, both drivers assured their participation in the final so long as they finished.

Intermediate Classification


Q1

Chizuru Mizuhara took the top spot in the first heat, running an exceptional and smooth race to finish fully five and a half seconds up on Bruce Mooseview, who had enough of a lead on third-place Carina Flannagan that his sloppy joker lap did not matter much in the finishing order. Tsubasa Arima’s run of luck came crashing to a halt, the Japanese driver crashing her #47 Kadett at the bottom of Lap 2, damaging it considerably and putting her well out of contention.

Riku Jokinen looked sharp in the #74 Ralliheart Evgenis, making an exceptional start and holding on to the lead, in spite of a truly herculean effort by Karina Meister to try and catch him up. Charlie Martin finished well back of Meister in third, while Ken Visser made an awful start in the #23 Team Oranj Kadett, with a series of sloppy errors in his race culminating in a big wobble on his joker lap.

Q2

Carina Flannagan took the top spot in the first heat of Q2, looking evermore like a potential champion with her excellent driving in the #63 Buy2Get1Free Evgenis, as she fended off overtake attempt after overtake attempt by Charlie Martin behind her. Ken Visser struggled with the start again, but found more consistency than in Q1 to finish third, while Tsubasa Arima wrestled the damaged #47 Kadett to courageously finish the race.

Riku Jokinen took the top time in the final heat, building on a decent start to pip Chizuru Mizuhara by a mere third of a second at the line. Bruce Mooseview started terribly, but recovered to an admirable third place, while misfortune struck Karina Meister, the German crashing her #3 Evgenis hard on the starting lap, severely damaging the machine, limping the car home in a distant fourth place.

Q3

Charlie Martin took the top time in the first heat against Ken Visser, the strong start by Martin proving to be all he needed to take the win over the Dutchman. Tsubasa Arima finished third in the stricken #47 Kadett, while Karina Meister rounded out the field in the #3 Evgenis, the car more tape and plastic sheeting than car at this point.

Chizuru Mizuhara took the honours in the second heat, after a thrilling battle with Riku Jokinen, both drivers racing hard and fair right to the end, where Mizuhara took the top spot by a mere seven hundredths of a second. Bruce Mooseview started terribly and struggled to put down consistent lap times in the #32 FABEL, finishing third ahead of Carina Flannagan, who was looking like the odds-on favourite to win the heat until an accident on Lap 2 heavily damaged the #63 Evgenis.

Q4

Ken Visser took the top spot in the first heat, crusing to a nearly default victory over the three damaged cars of Tsubasa Arima, Carina Flannagan and Karina Meister, all three drivers hoping tomorrow’s semi-finals and final will bear some fruit from their persistence.

Chizuru Mizuhara took the top spot in the final heat, pipping Bruce Mooseview by a third of a second after inheriting the lead following Riku Jokinen’s spin and crash on Lap 2. Mizuhara’s fantastic start proved to be all the margin they needed, allowing the #599 to spend time focusing on lines and consistency rather than fighting for position. Charlie Martin finished third, well back of Mooseview, while Jokinen recovered well to finish the race, just about to be lapped by Mizuhara at the line.

Intermediate Classification


#110

Team Staboil RallyX Norway, Day Two (Finals)

The rain continued on Day Two of RallyX Norway, the track drying slightly overnight but with more forecast as the day progresses. Spirits were high though, with the field looking very competitive in the elimination rounds of all three classes.

Semi-Final 1

Defending champion Hsiu-Yinn Lim made easy work of the first semi-final, in spite of a rough starting lap for the Armada driver. Merciel’s Matt Sierra roared out in front of Lim on the first lap, but was not able to find an answer for the #1 car’s blistering pace, finishing five seconds behind in second place. Pablo Sanchez finished third, not quite able to match the pace of the Merciel, while Eino Vatanen squandered a fantastic start with a very sloppy joker lap, running wide and damaging his suspension on the first full lap of the course.

Semi-Final 2

Charlie LeClair made a monster start in the second semi-final, making the Lankebanen look easy as he took a dominant victory. Jaimz Marshall surprised in second place, an excellent start by the FMR driver followed by six solid laps. Aatto Virtanen was unable to match the pace of the two drivers ahead, finishing third, after Team Red Cock’s Pekka Heikkinen retired on Lap 4 with transmission issues.

Final

Hsiu-Yinn Lim took her first victory of the season, recovering from a mediocre start with three blistering laps during the middle of the race, including the fastest joker lap of the session, to take the chequered flag some five seconds ahead of Matt Sierra’s Merciel. Jaimz Marshall finished third, FMR Racing elated after their best result of the season by far. Charlie LeClair had an awful race, starting poorly and never quite finding the rhythm he needed, culminated by a messy joker lap to end his campaign.

Final Classification


Semi-Final 1

Elin Arbez took the victory in the first League One semi-final, making a decent start and six excellent laps to hold an eighteen-second margin over second in an otherwise very close race. Reiko Nagase and Duncan Duff traded blows all race long, both drivers virtually the equal to the other, the only difference between them coming when Duff ran wide at the bottom of the course on the first lap. Mikah Jameson just held off Elaine Eisenberg for fourth place, six solid laps by the Kazuki driver helping to recover from a rather poor start. Riley Phillips almost pipped them both, with a solid performance marred by a very poor start, bringing up the back of the pack.

Semi-Final 2

Stefan Banach took the top honours in the second semi-final, winning easily following a fantastic start in an incident-filled race. Saki Mochizuki and Harry Davies collided on the first lap, sending both cars careening into the barrier and damaging both substantially, with Davies getting by far the worst of it. Alison Wondersley and Dominic Andrew-Scott collided on their starting lap, with Wondersley taking an early joker just to get some clear track to make sure her #7 Gnoo Goblin was still in fighting form. It was, and five excellent laps later she came home second, with Andrew-Scott a second behind. Mochizuki finished well back in fourth, with Davies rounding out the field.

Final

Alison Wondersley took her first win of the season, beating out Stefan Banach by a handy margin at the line. Duncan Duff roared out to the lead at the start of the first lap, but a messy first lap that followed allowed Wondersley and Banach to pass the Canadian easily. After that, Banach played his expert defensive game again, making it very difficult indeed for anyone to get a sniff of an overtake behind him. Elin Arbez, the odds-on favourite to win the final, suffered a slow puncture in the #62 Morton Teo after being bumped by Dominic Andrew-Scott, hampering her pace in fourth place following an uncharacteristically poor start. Reiko Nagase finished fifth, after a solid drive that kept the Ace Racing driver out of trouble, while the aforementioned Andrew-Scott brought up the back of the pack, the bodywork rubbing on his front right tire compromising the handling of the #91 Bramhall Vixen.

Final Classification


Semi-Final 1

The first semi-final in Super 1250 was a hard-nosed affair, with Ralliheart’s Riku Jokinen taking top honours, after a very hard battle with SCH minMAX’s Tsubasa Arima. The Finn put pressure on Arima all race, making his move on the final lap to get past and hold the position by the narrowest of margins at the flag. Team Oranj’s Ken Visser took third, after struggling mightily on his starting lap. Charlie Martin suffered a stroke of bad luck, crashing hard on his starting lap and not recording a time for the race.

Semi-Final 2

Chizuru Mizuhara took the top spot in the second semi-final, holding a half-second advantage over Karina Meister at the line. Meister drove an excellent recovery following a sloppy starting lap that had her sitting two seconds behind Mizuhara, steadily reeling the leader in with each lap. Bruce Mooseview and Carina Flannagan tangled on their joker lap, both drivers losing precious time as they sorted themselves out. Mooseview finished third, and Flannagan fourth, coming out of her tangle Mooseview the worse for wear.

Final

The Super 1250 final thrilled with its close, hard racing, all four drivers and cars very evenly matched. Nobody had much of an edge over anyone else, so it came down to who made the fewest mistakes, and that was MIHR’s Chizuru Mizuhara, who took the chequered flag less than a tenth clear of OHO Racing’s Karina Meister. Meister was disappointed with the result, having had a bit of a rough start to the race that proved to be far more than Mizuhara’s margin of victory. Tsubasa Arima followed closely behind in third place, a sloppy joker on Lap 4 slowing the young Japanese star’s progress. Riku Jokinen rounded out the field in fourth place, just two and a quarter seconds behind Mizuhara in the lead.

Final Classification


#111

Standings After Round 5


#112

Jubilant Andrew-Scott “Happy but unsatisfied” with first Finals qualification after contact


After a distastrous home round left Andrew-Scott in a dire state of mind, stating he “had never felt so disappointed” when his driveshaft snapped over the aggressive Silverstone jump, the 41 year old Briton was ecstatic to have qualified for the final. Kevin Ryde and chief mechanic Jamie Cooper were equally enthused with the performance of their car, which had been hampered by bad luck and poor performance since the start of the season.

Ryde spoke to us before the final; “It’s a massive relief to finally make it into the main event. We’ve been trying hard but even with a close call in the semi (final) we were able to make it into the final! This is something the whole team has needed.” Contact with fellow Briton Alison Wondersley seemed to be inevitable as the two drew near into turn 3, the two seemingly becoming strong rivals to each other over time.

However, Andrew-Scott would start the final poorly after contact with the slow-starting Morton Teo of Elin Arbez. This lead to both drivers suffering tyre problems, with Andrew-Scott relegated to the final finishing position while Arbez dragged their damaged car to Fourth. “It’s super frustrating to lose out in our first real attempt at the Final, but we could never be unhappy with our position today, given the circumstances. It is unsatisfying when we really had the pace to challenge for those lower positions, but in the end it is what is is and we made the most of a surprisingly strong weekend!”

Andrew-Scott snuck onto the podium with Ryde and Cooper after the celebrations, with the Bramhall media team posting to social media with the description “This is a win for us! #GoGetEm!”. It seems the company are finally finding their feet in the championship, with the hopes that they will be able to take the strong pace forwards as they move on to the sixth round of the Calendar in Holjes, Sweden.


#113

Alex “AA” Adams was in an unusually jubilant mood and was celebrating on the streets of Stjørdal with a bottle of Akevitt, occasionally bursting out in song and dance. After agreeing to do a shot with him, he in turn agreed to give a statement:

What a weekend!! I'm not sure what it is - the bad weather suiting our car and driver, or it hampering the others more, or the sacks of potatoes loaded onto our competitors' cars after their successes in the early races, or Duncan finally pushing the car to its absolute limits and not holding back - no matter, we got a podium! At the start of the season it was the goal of Mons Racing to score one podium this year, but the early races indicated that that was an idle wish... but now it is reality! We'd also like to extend our apologies to Feihong Luo, that was an unfortunate shunt by Duncan, but that is also part of racing. Good to see such passion from two young drivers though! Good reaction from the race officials to prevent fisticuffs. Now our aim will be to remain in the top 10 of the overall rankings, and improve our position by pushing hard every race - both Duncan and the car have proven that they can take it!

The ever elusive Duncan Duff was seen talking with Luo at the conclusion of the weekend, perhaps about their budding rivalry. However, when we tried to catch up with him for an interview, we once again couldn’t find him anywhere.


#114

Some words from the Paddock:

Annabel Hetherington– Technical Director, Armada Racing

There was a hint of a knowing smile on possibly the paddock’s shortest boss post-race:

Aye, I told youse innit? 5 rounds, 5 diffrnt winners, it’s proper scrappy. And a fine job to Hsiu-Yinn, maybe we should’ve sandbagged from th’ go. I’d still watch out for Team Red Cock tho, every time the Pint and the Pepperbomb are on the track at the same time they’re like magnets…

Hsiu-Yinn Lim– Driver, ARXL Pint

Hsiu-Yinn wasn’t available for comment. She was chasing various members of the Team Red Cock Energy Liquid around with a bottle of Red Cock Energy Liquid


#115

RX Sweden Presented By Blotify, Day One (Qualifying Rounds)

A cool, drizzly day greeted the tens of thousands of assembled fans at the Holjesbanan in central Sweden, doing nothing to dampen spirits for the “Magic Weekend” of rallycross. The dampness of the track, combined with its technical layout, is sure confound drivers and thrill fans alike over the two days.

Q1

The racing started in the first heat of Q1 with a wild, hard-fought race. Pablo Sanchez stalled the #52 Shromet on the start, but with hard work and determination wound back back the gap to the winner, Matt Sierra, to under five seconds at the flag. Sierra had a nearly flawless race, battling hard with Kitanishi’s Yuki Fujishima for the win, the Japanese driver only a fraction more than a second behind the #36 Merciel Pixi at the line. Pekka Heikkinen didn’t seem himself in the first heat, the car lazing through the course to finish well back of Sanchez in fourth.

Charlie LeClair took the top time in the second heat, overcoming a poor start to claw his way back to the lead on the final couple of corners, beating FMR’s Jaimz Marshall by three tenths at the line. Marie-Claire Allemand was close behind in third place, a poor start spoiling an otherwise smooth race by the Monegasque driver. Aatto Virtanen did not look at all comfortable with the car and the track this morning, finishing some five seconds behind Allemand for fourth

Kevin Michaels came alive in the final heat, finishing two seconds clear of Eino Vatanen in the #4 Delta Motorsports machine. Hsiu-Yinn Lim struggled at the start and through her joker lap, finishing well back of Vatanen in third place, after an otherwise safe and prudent race by the championship leader.

Q2

Times tumbled as the drivers came to terms with the track conditions, led by Pekka Heikkinen in the first heat, the driver looking much more like himself after a very slow start to the morning. The Team Red Cock driver took the top spot in convincing fashion, some six seconds ahead of Hsiu-Yinn Lim in second place. Aatto Virtanen was not competitive to the other two, following behind Lim in third place, while Eino Vatanen severely damaged his car on the starting lap, putting him well out of contention.

Jaimz Marshall took the top time in the second heat, overcoming a mediocre start to beat SCH minMAX’s Charlie LeClair by a full second at the line. LeClair struggled after a solid starting lap, the young Frenchman never really finding the rhythm he needed to answer Marshall’s pace. Pablo Sanchez found himself in a frustrating third place, the #52 Shromet obviously faster than LeClair’s Kuma, but the American was just unable to convert any of the multitude of overtaking opportunities afforded to him. Marie-Claire Allemand had a gearbox issue and was unable to select most of the gears in the #707 Hwa Vigil, finishing well back in fourth place.

Matt Sierra showed he might be the one to beat this weekend, once again taking the top spot in his qualifying heat, eight seconds up on a wild battle between Yuki Fujishima and Kevin Michaels. Virtually tied after the starting lap plus the first lap, Michaels took the joker on Lap 2, running wide and losing precious time to the Kitanishi driver. Threatening to overtake several times, the KMC driver just couldn’t make it stick unfortunately, finishing half a second back in third place.

Q3

A brief shower dampened the track further for Q3, mixing things up slightly from the first two qualifying sessions. Kevin Michaels continued his excellent weekend, finishing well clear of Aatto Virtanen in the first heat, many at KMC Motorsport feeling that this is their weekend to score big points and move out of the relegation zone. Virtanen found the going difficult, the struggle to extract pace out of the #7 Haapala continuing. Marie-Claire Allemand continued to fight transmission issues in the #707 car, while Eino Vatanen soldiered on in his battered #4 machine to bring up the rear.

Yuki Fujishima took the top time in the second heat, as the fierce battle between Charlie LeClair and Pablo Sanchez kept those two drivers from being able to mount a particularly serious threat to the Kitanishi driver ahead. Hsiu-Yinn Lim had a slow puncture, hampering the pace of the #1 Armada, but still keeping her day two aspirations alive.

Matt Sierra made it three for three in the final heat, getting his elbows out and barging past Pekka Heikkinen and Jaimz Marshall on the starting lap and never looking back, the #36 Merciel some nine seconds ahead of Heikkinen’s #80 Pepperbomb. A messy first lap cost Marshall the lead he held after the starting lap, falling half a second behind at the end of Lap 1 and never really recovering nor losing much of the gap to Heikkinen ahead.

Q4

Hsiu-Yinn Lim snapped out of her funk in the final qualifying session, finishing top in the first heat easily, some fifteen seconds ahead of Aatto Virtanen, whose team revealed that the driver was fighting a stomach bug since the night before, perhaps accounting for most of his poor form in the race today. Marie-Claire Allemand finished third, just on the outside looking in to the group moving on to elimination day, while Eino Vatanen rounded out the field in fourth, well back in his battered #4 Leopard.

Charlie LeClair took the top time in the second heat, a nearly flawless race by the Frenchman in the #33 Kuma propelling him to the top of the session timesheet. Shromet’s Pablo Sanchez won an exciting, but sloppy, battle with FMR’s Jaimz Marshall for second place, with Sanchez taking a huge advantage into Lap 1 over the British driver, only to make a couple of costly errors on subsequent laps that allowed Marshall to close right up to the Shromet’s rear bumper at the line. Pekka Heikkinen cruised home in fourth place, his spot in Day Two guaranteed so long as he finished the race in one piece.

Yuki Fujishima took the top time of the final heat, clawing their way to a dominant victory after a slow start that saw the Japanese driver last between them, Matt Sierra and Kevin Michaels. Fujishima poured it on lap after flawless lap, finishing some six and a half seconds up on Sierra at the line. Kevin Michaels finished well back of Sierra in third place, the American struggling with putting down consistent lap times in this final qualifying session.

Intermediate Classification


Q1

The first heat of League One qualifying was a hard-nosed affair, with no prisoners taken by anyone. Job Van Uitert overcame a poor start with four excellent laps to take the top time in the session, some two seconds up on Sasquatch Racing’s William Cunningham in second. Mikah Jameson and Riley Phillips drag raced to the finish line after a thrilling final lap, Jameson beating out Phillips by a mere six hundreths of a second at the line. Gus Block finished in fifth, after championship leader Elin Arbez looked decidedly out of place, finishing well back in sixth.

Reiko Nagase took the top time of the second heat, just barely edging out Huangdou’s Feihong Luo for the top time, Luo overcoming an awful start to cross the line barely half a second behind his Japanese rival. Mulle Meck followed in third place, some two seconds adrift of race leader Nagase. The Skog Sport driver looked at home on the track he grew up attending, then later racing at, showing off the potential pace of the #777 Shinrin. Martin Bayer finished in fourth place after a particularly uninspiring start, then struggling to find the best way round the challenging and complex Holjesbanan. Alison Wondersley finished half a second behind Bayer, with Dominic Andrew-Scott close behind, both Wondersley and Andrew-Scott making having difficulty at the start.

Amanda Huuginkis took the top time of the third heat, some five seconds up on the #55 Motorpop of Sabine Weber. Stefan Banach had a coming-together with Kenji Nishida just after the start, the Polish driver damaging his #42 Hussar considerably, while Nishida got off rather lightly, finishing fourth behind the #34 Knightwick of Harry Davies, fresh off his strong result in Norway the weekend prior.

Saki Mochizuki and Elaine Eisenberg put on a spectacular show in the final heat, Mochizuki monstering the joker on the final lap to blast ahead of the MHIR driver to take the top time by a fraction of a second. Duncan Duff was hot on their heels in third, though a sloppy joker lap took him out of contention for any overtakes in the dying seconds of the heat. Markus Hutter struggled to find pace in his #63 Munot Starkwind, while Rena Hayami suffered a puncture on her starting lap, slowing the #76 Wade Racing machine considerably.

Q2

Dominic Andrew-Scott threw the chains off the #91 Bramhall Vixen in the first heat, making one of the best starts of the session to absolutely dominate, finishing some nine seconds ahead of Elin Arbez, who seemed to be really struggling with the #62 Morton Teo on this track. Harry Davies got some sniffs on Arbez ahead the first couple of laps, but a couple of sloppy laps at the end of his race ended any chances the Knightwick driver had of overtaking. Kenji Nishida finished fourth in the heat, some six seconds ahead of Rena Hayami, the problems in the #76 Wade Monster seemingly far greater than a mere punctured tire would explain. Stefan Banach rounded out the field, some ways back of the pack, but not giving up in the slightest.

Martin Bayer shrugged off his difficult Q1 session with a storming Q2 run, storming out to a seven-second margin of victory over Alison Wondersley, setting the top time in the session to boot. Riley Phillips made an excellent start, but a number of sloppy mistakes allowed Wondersley through on Lap 1, with Phillips desperately trying to regain the position the rest of the race, to no avail. Sabine Weber had some difficulty on her starting lap, running wide in a couple of corners, and never really made up for it, finishing well back of Phillips in fourth place. Gus Block showed flashes of speed in the #5 GAA Volche, but was never really a threat to catch Weber ahead, while Markus Hutter had a race to forget, bringing up the rear after a poor start and several sloppy mistakes, including a near miss with the barriers on his joker lap.

Mikah Jameson took the top time in the third heat, three seconds ahead of Mulle Meck. The Swede made an incredible start, and had an excellent starting lap, but sloppy driving cost him a potential heat victory in the end. Amanda Huuginkis finished third, after getting into it with Job Van Uitert on the starting lap, damaging both cars slightly and eliminating them from serious contention this heat. William Cunningham struggled to find the optimal line on this challenging track, finishing well back in fifth place.

Feihong Luo took the top time of the final heat, some six seconds ahead of a hard-fought battle between Elaine Eisenberg, Duncan Duff and Reiko Nagase. Duff had the edge at the end of the starting lap, but strong, consistent laps by the Swiss driver put her through into second place, and even with a sloppy joker lap was able to retain the position. Nagase slipped through into third place after a couple of sloppy mistakes by Duff in the #404 Mons, who wasn’t quite able to catch up to the other two drivers ahead. Saki Mochizuki struggled on the starting lap, having to run wide to avoid the three-way battle ahead of them, and a couple of mistakes cost them the chance of making up places for the rest of the heat.

Q3

The close battles continued even after a brief rain shower wet the track before Q3, the drivers pushing hard to try and make a big jump up the standings. Of course, this was not with risk, as William Cunningham found out in the first heat. Pushing hard right from the time the lights went out, Cunningham sideswiped the barriers on the starting lap, damaging his #423 FWM in the process and taking him out of contention, some ten seconds behind the eventual heat winner, Knightwick’s Harry Davies. Markus Hutter eked out a slender gap to hold second place over Kenji Nishida, the Japanese driver overestimating how much grip there was in the joker and running wide. Behind Nishida was the aforementioned Cunningham, followed by Rena Hayami, the #76 machine still plagued by phantom handling issues, with Stefan Banach bringing up the rear some ways back.

Sabine Weber shook off her issues in the first two heats, finding a groove in an incident-plagued second heat to top the timesheets, setting a mark in the session that would not be beat in the process. Saki Mochizuki came second in the #186 Daylily, eight and a half seconds back of Weber, and with Yinzer’s Amanda Huuginkis breathing down her neck in third. Elin Arbez’s woes continued, finishing well back in fourth place, the championship leader in danger of being eliminated from day two action. Gus Block had a race to forget, crashing hard in the final sector of Lap 2 and heavily damaging the #55 GAA. In spite of this, Block still managed to finish ahead of Autodelta’s Job Van Uitert, who crashed in the same place as Block on his starting lap, putting him well back of the pack.

Elaine Eisenberg took top honours in the third heat, though nowhere close to the incredible time set by Sabine Weber in the previous heat. Riley Phillips put an incredible overtake on Duncan Duff as the Zephorus driver came off his joker on Lap 3, making a tricky pass on the outside of the final corner stick, then holding off the Canadian’s desperate. sloppy attempts to re-take second place over the final lap. Reiko Nagase made an incredible start to lead the field through the starting lap, but then lost ground after a sloppy joker, and a poor Lap 3 as well. Mulle Meck suffered an engine failure on the starting lap, losing partial power in the #777 Shinrin and putting him well out of contention.

Mikah Jameson took the top time in the final heat of Q3, some two seconds ahead of Dominic Andrew-Scott, who came seemingly out of nowhere to steal second place from Alison Wondersley, after the Gnoo Dadsport driver ran wide going into the first coner on her final lap. Martin Bayer had a race to forget; leading the field from lights out through the end of Lap 3, the German struggled through the bottom part of the lap to lose three places in the matter of a few corners. Feihong Luo also was keen to put Q3 behind him, a brush with the wall on his starting lap causing a not-insignificant amount of suspension damage to the #26 Huangdou.

Q4

Feihong Luo took the top time in the first heat among the “hospital brigade” of stricken cars, with Rena Hayami following close behind, followed by Mulle Meck, Stefan Banach and Job Van Uitert. Unfortunately for Luo, his time fell short of what he needed to get into Day Two, needing to put up a time in the top ten for the session to move on. Gus Block retired after crashing on the starting lap, putting an end to a race weekend he’d like to forget before jumping off across the Atlantic to Canada in two weeks’ time.

William Cunningham put the #423 FWM on the top of the timesheets in the second heat, in convincing fashion over Reiko Nagase. Nagase stole second from Kenji Nishida, after the Sparkling Machine driver struggled with mistakes on the last two laps. In spite of this, Nishida was able to hold third place over Elin Arbez, eliminated from Day Two for the first time this season after a forgettable weekend. Markus Hutter snatched fifth from Harry Davies with two solid laps to close out his heat, the Swiss driver finishing a quarter second up on his German rival.

Saki Mochizuki took the top time of the session in the third heat, winning in dominant fashion over the #7 Gnoo Goblin of Alison Wondersley. Wondersley survived a late scare from Amanda Huuginkis, just holding on to her second-place finish at the line, while Dominic Andrew-Scott won the battle with Martin Bayer to take fourth place in the heat, the German closing right up on Andrew-Scott’s bumper to finish just a quarter second behind.

Mikah Jameson took the top time of the final heat, just edging out a hard-charging Riley Phillips by the narrowest of margins at the line. Motorpop’s Sabine Weber started poorly and never quite recovered from that, finishing a second back of Phillips in third place, while Duncan Duff rounded out the last of the competitive cars in fourth place. Elaine Eisenberg had a rough race, a major error on her starting lap causing the MIHR driver to careen into the barriers, damaging the #598 EFI Soma and putting it out of contention this heat, though merely finishing the race would guarantee Eisenberg a spot in Day Two.

Intermediate Classification


Q1

Carina Flannagan and Tsubasa Arima thrilled the crowd with an exciting first heat, the New Zealander putting her Evgenis Valkyrie on the top step by a tenth of a second over Arima’s Kadett. Bruce Mooseview struggled on the joker lap, finishing third, three seconds back, while Ken Visser made an awful start to his race, never really recovering from it to finish fourth.

Charlie Martin took the top time in the second heat, half a second up on Chizuru Mizuhara at the line. Karina Meister struggled at the start, then showed ran inconsistently to finish third, ahead of Riku Jokinen, who badly damaged his Evgenis Valkyrie on the starting lap, finishing far behind the field.

Q2

The gloves were off in Q2, the drivers having their eye in for this session in a big way. Karina Meister made up for her mistakes in the first session, beating Bruce Mooseview’s FABEL to the line by a full second. Ken Visser got a strong start, but got spun around by Mooseview on the starting lap, the precious seconds the Dutchman lost while righting the #23 Kadett proving to be an insurmountable deficit. Jokinen rounded out the field, well back but still determined to see Day Two.

Chizuru Mizuhara took the top time in the second heat, running virtually neck and neck with Carina Flannagan in a hard-fought but clean race. In the end, Mizuhara held a third of a second over Flannagan at the line, with Charlie Martin close behind the other two following an eventful race for the young Brit. Martin got off to an incredible start, but spun on his joker lap to lose his advantage. Nevertheless, he drove an incredible recover to remain third ahead of Tsubasa Arima, who also struggled on her joker lap.

Q3

A rain shower started just as the third qualifying session began, the track dampening as the drivers lined up on the starting grid for the first heat. Tsubasa Arima showed off her skills in variable weather conditions, finishing well clear of Bruce Mooseview to take the top time in the first heat. Ken Visser spun and damaged his car on the starting lap, putting him well back in third place, with Ralliheart’s Riku Jokinen rounding out the heat.

Carina Flannagan took the top time in dominant fashion in the second heat, beating Chizuru Mizuhara by nearly two full seconds at the line. Charlie Martin followed a second and a bit behind Mizuhara, having driven a clean and otherwise uneventful race, while Karina Meister rounded out the field, struggling with the start and running wide on her joker lap.

Q4

Bruce Mooseview took the top time in the first heat, making a strong start and four solid laps to beat Karina Meister by two full seconds. Ken Visser struggled with his damaged car in third place, while Riku Jokinen made it to the end of qualifying with no further incidents, guaranteeing participation in Day Two for the Finnish driver.

Chizuru Mizuhara flipped the tables on Q3, beating out Carina Flannagan this time around as these two drivers proved to be ever the equal to one another in the final heat. Tsubasa Arima was in the weeds right from the start, looking very tentative on her starting lap and struggling to run consistently for the rest of the race, only slipping past Charlie Martin in the last corner of Lap 3 to claim third place.

Intermediate Classification


#116

RX Sweden Presented by Blotify, Day Two (Finals)

Rain began shortly after the end of the first day, soaking the track overnight and making conditions treacherous for the remaining competitors on Day Two.

Semi-Final 1

Kevin Michaels shocked everyone with an absolutely stunning drive in the first semi-final, the only driver to run a clean, mistake-free race to finish far ahead of Kitanishi’s Yuki Fujishima. Fujishima struggled on the start, then found it difficult to lap the rain-soaked Holjesbanan consistently. Nevertheless, she finished some distance ahead of FMR’s Jaimz Marshall, who made a big mistake on his joker lap to put him well back in third place. Pablo Sanchez had a race to forget, spinning and hitting the barriers in the second sector of Lap 1, damaging the #52 Shromet heavily and putting him well out of contention for the race win.

Semi-Final 2

Matt Sierra dominated the second semi-final, winning easily over SCH minMAX’s Charlie LeClair, in spite of the Merciel driver making a somewhat poor start to begin the race. LeClair’s race was spoiled, unfortunately, by contact with Hsiu-Yinn Lim on the first lap, damaging both cars in the process and taking them out of serious contention for the win. Pekka Heikkinen made a poor start, then seemingly struggled behind in fourth place, the #80 Pepperbomb just not able to keep up with the other three competitors.

Final

Matt Sierra started strong and never looked back, taking an easy victory in the final after the other three competitors - Charlie LeClair, Kevin Michaels and Yuki Fujishima - all came together in a pretty violent series of collisions with one another on the first lap. Fujishima bore the brunt of it, the Kitanishi taking heavy damage after she outbraked herself into the bottom part of the course, bouncing off of Michaels and LeClair in short succession. LeClair and Michaels took some damage but recovered, finishing second and third respectively, with Fujishima finishing well back in fourth place.

Final Classification


Semi-Final 1

The first League One semi-final was a messy affair, with Dominic Andrew-Scott and Riley Phillips colliding on the starting lap, damaging both cars and taking them out of contention for the final. Saki Mochizuki crashed her #186 Daylily on the first lap, though the damage was light enough that she was still able to finish fourth ahead of Andrew-Scott. In the end, Yinzer’s Amanda Huuginkis took the top spot, well clear of Elaine Eisenberg in second place. Eisenberg struggled on the start, but recovered admirably to beat Mons Racing’s Duncan Duff, who took the third and final slot for the final race easily over Mochizuki.

Semi-Final 2

The second semi-final was just as messy as the first, with a starting lap incident involving Mikah Jameson, Martin Bayer and Alison Wondersley, all three cars colliding and spinning off the track. Sabine Weber and Reiko Nagase sailed through unscathed, with Weber taking the eventual win and Nagase finishing third. Mikah Jameson recovered admirably, the #56 Kazuki recovering admirably to finish a gutsy second, while Martin Bayer and Alison Wondersley had to contend with damage, eliminating both drivers from the finals later on.

Final

Amanda Huuginkis shot out to the lead on the first lap and never looked back, winning the race in dominant fashion, some twenty seconds ahead of second-place Mikah Jameson, who really struggled to do anything more than just keep his position in the line-up, making it very difficult indeed for anyone to get past him. Elaine Eisenberg threatened to overtake several times, but just couldn’t make it stick, backing off and settling for third place instead of making a risky move. Sabine Weber spun and damaged her car on the starting lap, coming in fourth place, just ahead of Reiko Nagase and Duncan Duff, those two engaged in a fierce battle for fifth place, with Nagase winning out by a quarter of a second.

Final Classification


Semi-Final 1

The first Super 1250 semi-final was a hard-fought affair as we’ve come to expect, with Chizuru Mizuhara starting the strongest and holding the lead right to the chequered flag, some one and a half seconds up on Charlie Martin. Riku Jokinen placed third, a respectable showing considering the dismal first day he had, and vindicating the hard work of Ralliheart’s mechanics, who toiled all night long to get the #74 car back on the grid for this morning. Karina Meister had a rough race, going into the barriers on her starting lap and damaging the #3 Evgenis Valkyrie, eliminating her from contention in fourth place.

Semi-Final 2

Carina Flannagan just pipped Tsubasa Arima for the win in the second semi-final, in spite of the latter’s storming joker lap to close the gap to Flannagan to just under two tenths of a second at the line. Ken Visser finished in third place, four seconds back of Arima, having recovered admirably from catastrophically bad starting lap. Disaster struck Bruce Mooseview, crashing hard on the starting lap and heavily damaging his FABEL, putting him far behind in fourth place.

Final

Carina Flannagan made the best of the challenging conditions in the Super 1250 final, putting the #63 Evgenis Valkyrie on the top step after a tidy race, easily able to keep Tsubasa Arima behind in second place at the line. Chizuru Mizuhara made an awful start, stalling out when the lights went out, but recovered admirably to finish third, after Charlie Martin damaged his suspension on Lap 3, slowing the #84 Autodelta Kadett considerably, Mizuhara making the pass on Lap 4.

Final Classification


#117

Standings After Round 6


#118

Team Oranj’s principal was seen fuming after the first day in Sweden, and his mood didn’t improve afterwards either. Reporters managed to record an expletive-laden conversation" between Van Dijk and Visser.

“I’ve f*** had enough of you. You let the f*** team down, me down after I protect you all the time. And I’m not f*** going into who’s right and who’s wrong. I don’t want the ‘he moved this he moved that’, all that f*** w***, you know? Jean spends f*** million of her own f*** money every f*** year which wants to f*** pull the plug and let everybody down because you’re a f*** idiot? I’ve no more to f*** say to you, and if you don’t like it, I don’t need you here. Do not come back please.”

After Van Dijk’s tirade, Visser stormed out with a loud bang. The principal turned to one of his interns.
“What was that?”
“Kenny just smashed the door, that’s not acceptable.”
“F***. He does not focsmash my door.”


#119

Just a friendly reminder to get your Pace Control instructions for Rounds 7, 8 and 9 into me as soon as possible; since this past week was a bit too hectic, I am moving the deadline up to TOMORROW, at 11:59 PM ET. Thanks!


#120

When we caught up with the bottle of Brännvin, I mean, Alex “AA” Adams, he was nearly passed out drunk. He did manage to stammer a few words:

Wat? Oy! It's you! Yeah, I'm plastered, eh... but how can I not be after another stellar weekend? Another finals in the book. We'll keep pushin 'er, eh, just keep pushin 'er. Now, I have this bottle to finish... go talk to Duncan.

We would… if we could find him!!


#121

NONO Racing Team Cisalpina Half-Time Report

Cisalpina currently is very happy with the current performance of the car and the driver Martin Bayer, for this being the first partly off-road racing competition to enter. Currently being on P4 in the championship with one victory and another podium finish in the books, hopes are high that we can achieve a 3rd place overall. Especially as we have already learned a bit during the first half of the season:

  • off-road, there is significantly less grip
  • the car wants to be handled with more care in bad weather conditions
  • 690 hp are sufficient

We have made our decisions on how we want to tackle the rest of the season - hopefully being a bit more consistent in the end.

OHO Racing Team Half-Time report

Our novice driver, Karina Meister, is going through a bit of a rollercoaster season. The pace of car and driver is definitely there, which we already have seen in one victory and two second places. Unfortunately, there also have been three times where we only finished second to last. This is something we’d like to change, in order to still reach the overall podium. We hope that the top three are risking to much during the fight for victory and maybe we can grab a position or two.

What we want to do for the rest of the season:

  • try to manage Karina’s adrenaline levels
  • lower the necessary repair efforts
  • put more OHO super glue on the tires