RallyX Nordic: Grönholm gets revenge to win Round Six in Finland


June 09, 2021

by Johnathan Bennett

Niclas Grönholm held on for the win from Johan Kristoffersson in one of the most eventful rounds of the championship. The Finish track OuluZone, 160km from the Arctic Circle, heard the roar of supercars as well as thunder and lightning across the Nordic lands.

Supercar

Grönholm and Kristoffersson swapped wins in all three qualifying races giving Gronholm the number one spot with Kristoffersson in second on the non factory Volkswagen. Juha Rytkönen secured the third spot and Fraser McConnell in fourth. 

Due to the double header event, only ten supercars had made it round six from the rest having technical issues and due to finishing at 2300 hours local time. Grönholm also managed a 0.3s reaction time, which was incredible but you have to think this was lucky given no other human is able to react so quickly to the green lights. 

Rytkonen got an insane start from P2, while Grönholm went into the joker to lead the joker cars. The tactic was clear, joker and clear air to get the overlap. Tactics would make you think Rytkonen would joker to secure first place, and as he entered the second lap he did. However, Gronholm was just too fast and managed to just get the overlap. 

Within two laps all cars had jokered. Behind the lead two, Andreas Carlsson who seemed to have a problem causing Henri Haapamäki while sideways in the electric STARD went one side and Sondre Evjen went the other side. 

The two battled for the last position available for the final. The grossed bumper to bumper with Haapamäki keeping third place who then got a three second penalty for shutting the door on Evjen losing the position. 

Rytkonen also received a three second penalty but remained in second place as the gap was so large. 

An eventful start to semi final one. Kristoffersson got a great start while Jere Kalliokoski went on the outside, squeezing McConnell between Kristoffersson and himself. Kristoffersson didn’t go joker but seemed to grip up and Kalliokoski went into the joker.

Kristoffersson leads with McConnell in second and Enzo Ide. Ide then jokered to cover Kalliokoski but was not successful. Then everything went wrong for McConnell, he ended up beached in the gravel with the front left wheel destroyed and had no ability to steer into the corner. An horrific weekend for the young Jamaican and hurting the fight with Evjen for second in the championship.

Kristoffersson took the remaining laps as chilled as he could to conserve tyres while Kalliokoski and Ide battled. Across the line Kristoffersson got the win with Kalliokoski in second and Ide in third place.

The final race of the day, after one of the most eventful days of the calendar even on the least exciting track on paper.

Grönholm appeared to creep on the line but had no lights appear. Kristoffersson went wide but could not get past Grönholm.

The two drivers pulled away quickly from Ide in third with Kalliokoski following and Rytkonen leading the jokered cars with Evjen at the rear.

Kristoffersson needed Ide and Kalliokoski to joker but they didn’t. He needed to joker and get an overlap. All four entered on the final lap. Grönholm kept his first place, Kristoffersson kept second and Rytkonen got the overlap on Ide to take third place. 

Ide came through in fourth and Kalliokoski in fifth place and with that an end to an incredible day of racing. 

Supercar Lites

Jonne Ollikainen took the win in Qualifying one. Due to not being in the championship he started late which gave a cleaner track and assisted him in his challenge for the win. Tommi Hallman then resumed business as usual taking the win in qualifying two and three.

The drivers split into two packs. The number 52 car of Simon Olofsson led the front group with Hallman the lead joker. Olofsson jokered on the next lap to cover Hallman. It didn’t work. He came out behind Hallman and Andersson. 

He quickly passed Andersson and then Martin Jonsson went into Andersson hard to pass. Hallman was all over Martin Ekspjuth who hadn’t jokered. As Isak Sjökvist jokered Hallman secured the lead. He won, with Olofsson and Sjokvist behind. 

Martin Enlund got a great start with Linus Östlund moving from P4 into second place as the inside line led by Jonne Ollikainen headed into the joker. With Andersson being out, Ostlund needed to take advantage.

Casper Jansson entered the joker from third place and came out slotting into fourth place. On the final lap, Enlund and Ostlund entered the joker. Enlund came out keeping first, but Ostlund lost position and dropped to fifth.

Across the line, Enlund took the win, second to Ollikainen and third to Jansson.

The final for the supercar lites was after the eventful Crosscar final. I think most of the drivers hoped for a simpler race.

Hallman kept the inside line off the start, with Enlund behind. Ollikainen split from his team mate into the joker lap with Sjokvist behind. 

Olofsson jokered to close off Ollikainen but he came out at the back of the jokered cars. Jansson was the next car to joker. He managed to slot in between Sjokvist and Olofsson. 

Hallman and Enlund were left to joker. Hallman had a large gap and 7.4 seconds ahead of the lead joker. On the last lap Hallman entered and came out comfortably in the lead. Ollikainen however got the overlap on Enlund. 

Final positions, Hallman got his fourth win, his team mate Ollikainen in second, third to Enlund, fourth to Sjokvist followed by Jansson and Olofsson.

In the commentary box, Gronholm stated that he “was a bit nervous to be honest all day, we haven't had good launches. And starting from the inside has been really tricky”

He also confirmed he was creeping and couldn’t hold on to the car any further so was glad when the green lights came on. 

Open 2wd

With no semi finals due to the low numbers, Open 2wd went straight into the final. Simon Tiger sat on pole with Tuomas Venäläinen alongside in second place. Row two saw Rami Kauttio and Antti Väre, with Marcus Norman and Mathias Jansson at the rear.

Venäläinen got a great start and moved across and made contact with Tiger who’s front left shot up into the air. As he landed back on the tarmac he was in the rear quarter of Venäläinen who got turned round and spun out before The first corner. 

As all this happened, Kauttio led out front, Jansson managed a move on Vare to overtake. Jansson then went into the joker to cover Tiger. But Tiger flew past before Jansson exited the joker. Tiger managed to slot into second and aim to get the gap to Kauttio reduced. Tiger got the lead as Norman also passed. Kauttio met Jansson on the joker exit but fought him off. 

Tiger and Venalainen were both disqualified due to contact between the two meaning Tiger no longer had a perfect win record.

Final results were Norman taking the win, Kauttio second, Jansson in third while Vare did not finish. 

Crosscar

Isak Reiersen launched the Crosscar from the second row in semi final one and ended up on the outside line but hit the loose. He then cut on the inside of Jami Kalliomäki. Three changes for the lead within two corners for this epic race.

Next, Kalliomäki made contact with Kalliomäki who spun out. Patrik Hallberg, Reiersen and Huuhka broke away. All drivers jokered with two laps to go. Hallberg led, from Isac Egonsson and Reiersen all the way to the line. 

Timo Laapotti was black flagged from the race.

Semi final two started with another jump start. Ronalds Baldins from Jimmie Österberg. Jarkko Aronen led the jokered cars and seemed to keep the gap down from the lead pack. 

Osterberg took advantage of Baldins mistake and got inside into The joker. Baldins then decided to not joker, Osterberg came out behind Aronen. On the final lap he jokered and had lost too much time going standard lap, and came out in fourth.

Across the line, Aronen, Osterberg and Tomi Rakkolainen from the back row. 

Into the first corner three cars got tangled together. Reiersen, Osterberg and Aronen with one car rolling over causing the race to be red flagged. Reiersen headed back to the start but the rear suspension had collapsed. 

However race control allowed the car to be repaired. However, five minutes later the message came through that all three cars would not be allowed to restart due to causing the red flag.

This meant Hallberg could gain some points advantage over the two drivers in front of him. 

On the re-start, Hallman stood on his own on the front row. Egonsson on the second row and Rakkolainen on the back. In turn one, Egonsson caught the back of Hallberg and again got tangled. Fortunately Hallberg was able to drive away who was in third with damage to the rear suspension and Egonsson in second. Egonsson was then black flagged. Meanwhile, Rakkolainen had his own race. 

Rakkolainen then lapped Hallberg. In the end, coming from P6 on the grid, Rakkolainen won. 

Crosscar Junior 

The first semi final of the day was the juniors. Alex Gustafsson and Mikael Uitto lined up alongside each other after a long wait due to a lightning strike close to the circuit. 

The race saw a Manual start due to the light system being out, however Uitto jumped the light. Elias Kalliokoski managed a great start with Gustafsson getting the hole shot. As the track went dry to wet a lot of the juniors locked up.

Erik Nilsson was parked in turn one and Isak Hatanmaa hit the gravel too but managed to keep the kart going. This made it interesting for Uitto, could he now get a place in the final.

Unfortunately, Uitto when running fourth also picked a three second penalty for track limits. Across the line, Gustafsson took the win with Kalliokoski in second and

Lauri Halonen in third. 

Lukas Andersson got the grip of the line and the pole positioned Rasmus Persson going backwards. Aleksi Suono stormed past to take second position. However, due to the manual system, it was declared a jump start and the race red flagged. 

On the re-start Joonatan Ylilammi now got the fast start with Andersson not able to get the gap again but fought Persson to get second place. Ylilami and Andersson fought. Ylilammi went joker, Andersson kept on the standard lap. Onto the final lap, Ylilammi roared past the joker exit with Andersson coming out behind. 

He had done it. Ylilammi came first, Andersson second and Persson in third.

Gustafsson roared ahead commanding the lead. Ylilami retired from what looked like a steering failure.

Andersson led the jokered cars with Kalliokoski behind. Persson jokers and slotted behind Andersson. Gustafsson jokers with two laps to go to secure the position against Andersson and just managed to sneak out ahead of him. Gustafsson takes the win to keep his chances of the championship alive. Andersson in second and Persson in third. Kalliokoski came home in fourth, Halonen in fifth and Ylilammi DNF.

Supercar Championship Standings:

1- Johan Kristoffersson 155p
2- Niclas Gronholm 110p
3- Sondre Evjen 121p
4- Fraser McConnell 113p
5- Enzo Ide 87p
6- Andreas Carlsson 71p
7- Anders Michalak 57p

8- Krisztian Szabo 45p
9- Philip Gehrman 41p
10- Juha Rytkönen 40p

Image credit: RallyX Nordic

Comments(0)

Log in to comment