There is less than a week to wait. Less than a week until the starting lights go out on the first major rallycross event of 2020. Less than a week until some of the biggest names in the sport – several coming out of retirement especially for the occasion – descend on Höljes in Sweden to battle wheel-to-wheel for glory. Less than a week…until the eagerly-anticipated ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend (2-5 July).
As the world gradually begins to open up again, Höljes is preparing to stage Europe’s first high-profile motor racing event since lockdown. More than 90 competitors have signed up to take part across the five classes – ‘Legends’, Supercar, Supercar Lites, CrossCar/Crosskart and CrossCar Junior – and fittingly, amongst them are some heavy-hitters indeed.
In the invitational ‘Legends’ class – for drivers who are no longer active but whose past achievements make them incontestable titans of the sport – two-time FIA World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm will take on 74-year-old former FIA European Rallycross Champion Per Eklund, fellow rallycross heroes Andreas Eriksson and Stig-Olov Walfridson and rallying and rallycross star Henning Solberg. It is the kind of tantalising line-up that has never been seen before – and arguably, never will be again.
In the Supercar category, double FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson will mark his return to the discipline following a sabbatical season in the FIA World Touring Car Cup. The ‘Super Swede’ will be up against a host of fellow title-winners, including reigning FIA Euro RX and RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires Champion Robin Larsson, former RallyX Nordic Champions Oliver Solberg and Thomas Bryntesson, two-time RX2 Series Champion Oliver Eriksson and ex-FIA Junior World Rally and WRC 2 Champion Pontus Tidemand.
There will be two notable ‘debuts’ in the 22-strong Supercar field, as both JC Raceteknik’s Ben-Philip Gundersen – last year’s RallyX Nordic Supercar Lites Champion – and Jamaican ace Fraser McConnell (Olsbergs MSE) make their maiden appearance in the class, while GRX Taneco’s Niclas Grönholm reached the World RX final at Höljes in 2019 and will be fired-up to kick-start his 2020 campaign with victory.
Supercar Lites promises to be fiercely-contested, too, as a gaggle of young chargers rev up to duel doorhandle-to-doorhandle around the iconic Värmland circuit. Defending Höljes winner Thomas Holmen will take on local specialist Linus Östlund, leading lady Nathalie Petersson – back after a bruising rookie season in 2019 – rapid rallycross returnee Henrik Krogstad, highly-rated Swedes Marcus Höglund, Martin Enlund and Nils Andersson and fast Finn Jesse Kallio, who came, saw and conquered in his only previous RallyX Nordic outing on home soil at Kouvola last summer.
Five-time FIA World Rally Championship runner-up Thierry Neuville and reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen headline the 40-strong CrossCar/Crosskart entry, as the Belgian and Swede team up under the new LifeLive Nordic banner. Ten CrossCar Juniors complete the line-up, as for the first time RallyX Nordic welcomes competitors as young as 12 – proving that the future of the sport is every bit as bright as its present and past.
“After many weeks of planning, we are all tremendously excited to get the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend underway,” enthused Jan-Erik Steen, CEO of RallyX Nordic promoter, RX Promotion. “A tireless effort has been put in by all involved, and the result is that we have a mouth-watering entry list, huge interest from all around the world and a broadcast arrangement that is set to bring viewers more live rallycross action from a single event than ever before.
“The start of a season is always something to look forward to, but the three-month pause has left everybody hungrier than ever for real-life racing – and that is what we are proud to present. The drivers are ready, the cars are ready, Höljes is looking superb and now all that remains is for fans to settle down on the sofa and tune in for what will unquestionably be the motorsport event of the year so far.”
The joint brainchild of RallyX Nordic promoter RX Promotion and Höljes’ organising club Finnskoga MK, and supported by the Swedish arm of international broadcasting heavyweight NEP, the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend will follow a purely digital, pay-per-view livestreaming model to adhere to current COVID-19 restrictions.
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