(#87) and Marko Muru
(#27) claimed a victory apiece in the opening two rounds of RX Academy 2019, held at the world-famous Holjes rallycross circuit in Sweden (May 18 – 19).
The third RX Academy campaign began as part of a double-header rallycross weekend, alongside RallyX Nordic, where competing in the identical factory-built, SET Promotion-run Renault Clio RS RX race cars, eight drivers battled for honours.
In round one on Saturday it was Rasmus Tuominen
(#22) who set the fastest time in Q1, before Muru was quickest in Q2 and Hallman stopped the clocks first in Q3. Taking top position in the Intermediate Classification and pole for semi-final one, Hallman led the first knockout race from lights to flag to claim pole position for the final, where the Finn repeated his performance, took his joker late in the race and claimed victory on his rallycross debut.
Returnee RX Academy driver Jimi Kalliomaki
(#95) won semi-final two and claimed second in the final, while Muru completed the podium. On their rallycross debuts, Jonne Ollikainen
(#44) and Luka Nurmi
(#66) finished fourth and fifth, while Tuominen crossed the finish line in second position but was given a five-second penalty for ‘pushing and overtaking’ during the race and was classified sixth.
The second day began in wet conditions from overnight rain, but it was again Tuominen who made the best start to the day with the fastest time in Q1. Having been seventh in Q1, Muru made a good start in his Q2 race from third on the grid to claim victory, and set the fastest time. The Estonian driver then remained at the top of the order for the remainder of the event to claim his fourth RX Academy podium and with it a first career victory.
Tuominen took an early joker in the final and passed Kalliomaki when he too took his joker later in the race, while round one winner Hallman won his semi-final to start on the front row for the final, but made a slow start and raced for all five laps in the thick of the action, before finishing sixth. Nurmi showed strong pace throughout the race and was fourth, with Ollikainen fifth. Muru leads the points after round two, just four points ahead of Hallman.
In not only their first rallycross events but their first motorsport events away from the disciplines in which they have previous experience, Esports and ice racing respectably, Joni Heikkinen
(#3) and Clementine Lhoste
(#72) both improved their performances throughout the weekend and just missed out on a place in the two finals.
The third round of RX Academy takes place at Nysum in Denmark in just two weeks’ time (June 1 – 2), before which RX Academy TV will broadcast the action from rounds one and two. Keep an eye on the RX Academy social media channels for further details.
Holjes Round One Winner
: Tommi Hallman (FIN)
“I’m very happy to have won the first round of the season. Of course it was a very difficult weekend because it was my first rallycross weekend ever, but I think I managed quite well to learn. The level of the drivers is really high and there were a lot of new things for me but I can use all of them to help me in the future. Overall it’s been a decent weekend, my pace was good and I’m already looking forward to the next race.”
Holjes Round Two Winner
: Marko Muru (EST)
“It was really good to lead from Q2. I made no mistakes from there, had a clean drive and it’s a really good result to end the weekend. I always had someone really close behind so I couldn’t make any mistakes. The pace is so tight here that a small mistake can lose a lot of positions. It’s going to be a good season, I need to show consistent results at the other events from the next round in Denmark.”
Head of RX Academy: Jussi Pinomäki
“On Saturday Tommi was the driver who managed to do the least mistakes, then today it was Marko’s turn to step up and make the least mistakes of anybody. That’s what it takes to win when the competition is so strong. In the end, these cars and their setups are absolutely the same and the smallest things make the difference. That is why we work so hard with all of the drivers to improve the small details in every area of being a motorsport athlete. I think all of the drivers experienced the ups and downs of the sport over the two rounds this weekend, and that is how it should be, that is how they learn the most.
Everyone has a lot to take with them from this weekend and learn from, the double-header with lots of different track conditions was the prefect start to the year. Finally, seeing the spirit and respect between the drivers, both on and off track, feels really good. I really enjoyed the weekend and we’re all looking forward to the next round in Denmark.”