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Paddon enters Rally di Alba for WRC2 warm-up

Earlier in March this year, the New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon announced a two-year entry in the WRC2 class on his route to a possible FIA World Rally Championship comeback and now his journey towards that will start with a local Italian rally at the end of June.

Paddon will be doing three WRC2 rounds this season in a privately owned Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car and he has planned to do the Rally Estonia and the Rally Finland at the end of the summer alongside his home rally in New Zealand as the rally makes it’s comeback to the WRC schedule this year before taking on a full-season in WRC2 in 2023.

Paddon has now announced he and his co-driver John Kennard will be doing the Italian Rally di Alba as a warm-up for the upcoming WRC2 campaign, they will be competing for the Hyundai Motorsport Italia team in a Hyundai i20 R5, a team he was involved with at the 2015 edition of Rally Legend in San Marino.

Europe here we come! Our Europe campaign starts with Rally Di Alba, 24/25 June. A round of @TerSeries and Italian championship, @JKCoDriver and I are looking forward to our first tarmac rally since 2017, reuniting with @hmirally team and their Hyundai R5. Can’t wait! @HyundaiNZ

— Hayden Paddon (@HaydenPaddon) May 9, 2022

Paddon competed last time in WRC2 for M-Sport Ford at the 2019 Wales Rally GB where he came fourth in class and since then Paddon has developed an all-electric Hyundai Kona rally car that he has competed in some local events with.

Pajari debuts in WRC2 with Toksport WRT at Sardinia

The reigning FIA Junior World Rally Champion Sami Pajari from Finland will make his WRC2 debut with Toksport WRT in a Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo at Rally Italia Sardegna in June.

The 20-year-old Finn will take part his second ever outing in a Rally2 car as he steps up to the class in Italy two weeks after his Portugal JWRC start. His first Rally2 outting was earlier this year in Finland where he contested the Riihimäki Ralli and finished fourth.

“It’s a big rally in a powerful car, I’m really looking forward to my first Rally2 event at world championship level. I don’t set performance goals for the competition, but of course I’d love to see the pace and experience increase during the competition and hopefully have some good times.” Pajari said.

Credit: Sami Pajari

After winning the 2021 title Pajari was given the choice to either run a Ford Fiesta Rally3 or a Ford Fiesta Rally2 from M-Sport Poland for this season as part of his prize for winning in JWRC.

Pajari choosed to take less powerful Rally3 car and remained to defend his JWRC title. The JWRC series previously used the front-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta Rally4 cars but have now switched over to the four-wheel-drive Rally3 machines. Pajari became the last driver to win a title in a two-wheel-drive car in the series.

Ogier doubting his performance on gravel ahead of Portugal

The reigning FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier will be returning behind the wheel of the Toyota GR Yaris1 this weekend at the Rallye de Portugal but he is doubting his performance level after the pre-event testing.

The eight-time champion is running a part-time program this season and he hasn’t sat in the Yaris since his second place finish at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in January but Ogier stated the car has evolved since that.

For the 2022 season, Ogier is sharing the third car with Esapekka Lappi in the Japanese manufacturer’s team as Ogier is also doing a LMP2 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year.

Credit: Sébastien Ogier

The Frenchman also shares the most wins in Portugal together with the Finn Markku Alén, both of them have five wins to date but Ogier is keen to make it a sixth next weekend.

Ogier has spoken to after his test with Toyota Gazoo Racing as he tested the car on gravel in Portugal last week ahead of round four of the 2022 campaign.

WRC to celebrate the 50th Anniversary with a large festival in Portugal

At the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship next weekend at Rallye de Portugal, the largest gathering of world rally champions, co-drivers, teams and also cars, will celebrate the championship’s 50th anniversary with a large festival in Matosinhos, Portugal.

The former WRC champions of Sébastien Loeb, Ott Tänak and Sébastien Ogier will be presented at the festival but they are also competing in the main event. Joining alongside those three are other iconic names such as Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Miki Biasion, Carlos Sainz, Marcus Grönholm and Petter Solberg.

The co-drivers presented at the event are familiar names such as Robert Reid, who is the FIA deputy president for sport, Luis Moya, Christian Geistdörfer, Tiziano Siviero, Timo Rautiainen, Derek Ringer, David Richards and Martin Järveoja.

Credit: WRC

Also many female drivers and co-drivers from the FIA Ladies’ Cup will be there, such as Michèle Mouton and Fabrizia Pons, which are the only female pairing to win a WRC round, Louise-Aitken-Walker and Isolde Holderied, including their co-drivers Tina Thörner, and Christine Driano.

Other guests that will be presented are the current FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who himself is a old rally driver, WRC Promoter managing director Jona Siebel and the president of Automóvel Club de Portugal Carlos Barbosa.

Pourchaire and Vips Share Positive Reaction for Revised Weekend Format

After the decision to return to the two-race weekend format for the 2022 FIA Formula 2 championship, many of the drivers have expressed how much they prefer it to the three-race format we saw for the 2021 championship.

Current championship leader Théo Pourchaire was among them, stating after the first qualifying session of the season in Sakhir, “I think it’s a lot better. Last year was just too much and nobody understood the rules, I mean it was too complicated.”

“Now we are back to something really nice and the sprint race winner will only score ten points which is normal because it was tenth in Qualy.”

The two-race format is something that had been part of Formula 2’s regulations since it’s rebrand from GP2 in 2017 but was changed to the three-race format for the 2021 season as part of cost-cutting measures introduced by the FIA.

The measures were designed to help the teams that were competing in both F2 and the FIA Formula 3 championship by allowing them to rotate staff between each championship and alleviate some of the pressure.

Timmy Hansen: Royal Medal A “Big Statement About Rallycross”

Timmy Hansen has been awarded a medal from Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. The Swedish driver said he was “super honoured” to have been given the medal for winning the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The ceremony, which included a medal for compatriot and fellow World Championship winner Johan Kristoffersson, had been delayed due to Covid 19.

Speaking to The Checkered Flag, Hansen said “it was of course an honour to visit the castle here in Sweden, to meet the Prince and to get such a medal…it was a great experience and I feel super honoured to receive it.”

When considering what his achievement meant for the sport as a whole, Hansen added the medal is a “big statement about rallycross as a sport. It’s a big sport and is being considered one of the top motorsports in the world. I’m happy to be part of that and I’m happy to represent rallycross in a room like that in the castle!”

It is not the first time the Hansen family has won such a medal. Timmy’s Father, rallycross legend and 14 time European Rallycross Champion Kenneth Hansen, won the award back in 2007, and this new medal will take pride of place “in the workshop next to Dad’s.”

Hansen won the title on countback after finishing the ten-round season tied on 211 with Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud. The title came down to the final race at Killarney Motor Racing Complex in Cape Town, South Africa.

CE Dealer Team Announces Groundbreaking Gender-Equal Line-up

CE Dealer Team have confirmed that their driver line-up will be a groundbreaking gender equal pairing. In the first year of the new all-electric era in World RX, Klara Andersson will make history as the first permanent female competitor since the championship began in 2014. She will be joined by World RX regular and last year’s third place finisher and six time event winner Niclas Grönholm.

Andersson comes to World RX having won the Swedish Rallycross Championship’s 2150 class in 2021, and an impressive fourth place finish in her first appearance in the RX2e Championship at Spa-Francorchamps.

She says that, while she has rallycross experience, the road ahead could be challenging: “World RX and the awesome 500kW (680bhp) electric beasts that we will race are new to me and none of us are expecting to get anything for free – we have plenty of hard work ahead of us to establish ourselves at the top.”

Klara Andersson will be the first permanent female competitor in World RX history. Credit: CE Dealer Team

Grönholm – son of the two-time FIA World Rally champion Marcus Grönholm – agrees that the fight for success in the new electric era of World RX will be tough, but is optimistic about their chances, saying “we have a lot of combined experience and I think we can spring some surprises this year.” Grönholm will certainly be one of the favourites to fight for the title this year, having finished 2019 just 25 points off the top spot, despite missing two rounds due to appendicitis.

CE Dealer Team will be competing against the likes of ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport, Volkswagen Dealerteam Bauhaus, and rallycross titans Hansen Motorsport.

Star-Studded Line Up For Euro RX Opener In Hungary

The entry lists for the upcoming FIA European Rallycross Championship season opener in Nyriád have been published, featuring a wealth of returning favourites, home heroes, and drivers eager to prove themselves.

Two-time European Rallycross Champion Anton Marklund has teamed up with nine-time champions SET Promotion for this year’s campaign. This formidable pairing will have to face down challenges from the likes of former World RX podium finisher and last year’s third place man Jānis Baumanis, who has rejoined the Hansen Motorsport group as part of #YellowSquad.

Hansen Motorsport know their way round a European championship, having scored 20 title wins between 1989 and 2016, and Baumanis will be keen to add to that tally. Enzo Ide will also bring all his experience from partnering four-time world champion Johan Kristoffersson in last year’s World RX as he takes on this year’s Euro RX Campaign in his EKS Audi S1.

Double runner-up Jean-Baptiste Dubourg has recovered from the crash which broke his arm at Lohéac last year and will want to take his Peugeot 208 straight back to the top of the standings. Tamás Kárai will be favourite of the Hungarian drivers, having competed in three finals and scoring a podium in France last year. The winner of that event, René Münnich, will also be one to watch as he returns with Mandie August in their ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport SEAT Ibizas.

Tamás Kárai of Kárai Motorsport Sportegyesület performs at World RX in SPA, Belgium on 10 October 2021 // Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

There are multiple drivers stepping up to Euro RX1 who will be keen to make a name for themselves. 2021’s ‘Rookie Of The Year’ Sivert Svardal will have momentum behind him as he enters his second full Euro RX season. Yury Belevskiy will also be keen to carry on the form which saw him scoring 147 out of a possible 150 points as he soared to victory in last year’s Euro RX3 championship.

Rallye Deutschland plans a return to 2023 WRC calendar

The organisers of the iconic Rallye Deutschland are now rumoured to have set up a new plan to bring back the tarmac rally to the FIA World Rally Championship calendar in 2023 according to German sources.

The German round was held last time during the 2019 season before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the world which caused the planned 2020 round including several other rallies to be cancelled due to that and Rallye Deutschland did not get included in the 2021 schedule either.

The same goes for this years calendar and it did not change the situation which caused raised doubts by the public that the German motorsports governing body ADAC was no longer interested in hosting a round in WRC.

Credit: WRC

But now, according to the German publication Motorsport Aktuell, the governing body is currently putting up two plans on bringing back the rally for 2023 with one of them being that the rally would be held at the Bavaria region nearby Czech Republic and Austria.

The other plan is to have the rally to continue in the usual location of Moselle, where Nürburgring is also a possible option to be added alongside a return of the military training ground at Baumholder.

Marklund Teams Up With SET Promotion

Anton Marklund has joined forces with European rallycross titans SET Promotion to challenge for the 2022 Euro RX1 title. The two-time FIA European Rallycross Champion is aiming to achieve a third career championship win, this time in a SET Promotion Hyundai i20 RX1.

The team are no strangers to winning, having achieved nine championship titles and over 50 individual event wins since entering the sport in 2003. Team Principal Jussi Pinomäki believes Marklund can deliver their tenth title, saying “when you combine the experience of the team together with Anton’s clear ability and experience as a driver at the highest level in rallycross, I think we can expect to enjoy a lot of close racing.”

The number 92 driver is looking forward to the season opener at Nyirád in Hungary (21/22 May), but, despite positive signs in testing that the car will be competitive, Marklund is wary of overconfidence.

“There will be a lot of cars and drivers at a very high level in the European Championship so it will be far from easy, but the target is to challenge for the title,” the Swedish driver said.

With an entry list of 22 drivers, including winner of 2021’s Euro RX of Latvia and championship third place finisher Janis Baumanis, the competition will be fierce from the start of the season.

Kurt Busch wins Kansas in 23XI banner day

As many drivers suffered tyre failures, Toyota thrived in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. All six Toyota cars finished in the top ten, with Kurt Busch leading the way as he held off Kyle Larson to win his first race as a member of 23XI Racing.

Entering Kansas, 23XI Racing had been slugging through a challenging season as Busch and team-mate Bubba Wallace were outside the top twenty in points. Both broke through on Sunday as Busch led 116 of 267 laps, more than any other driver, while Wallace consistently ran in the top five-to-ten range and ultimately finished tenth, despite suffering an uncontrolled tyre penalty on a late pit stop.

“[W]e have to clean up our messes on pit lane and at least keep the 23 where it runs when they pit,” team president Steve Lauletta tweeted about Wallace’s woes on pit road. “Working hard at this frustrating issue”.

Wallace’s tyre trouble coming on pit road is rather benign compared to those who had theirs go down while on track. Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, William Byron, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Kevin Harvick, B.J. McLeod, Martin Truex Jr., and Daniel Suárez were among those who wrecked or had to pit after blowing left-rear tyres, with Bell and Byron doing so while leading; multiple drivers suffered the same fate during practice on Saturday. The issue can be traced to the load placed on the left rear by the Next Gen car’s independent rear suspension, which prompted Goodyear to advise but not mandate a higher air pressure.

At the front, Bell’s downed tyre led to Kyle Busch winning the first stage. Older brother Kurt took the second.

Turkington bounces back with brilliant Brands Hatch Indy Race Three win

Colin Turkington started the weekend on pole alongside Jake Hill but it took until Race Three for this to gleam a one-two for Team BMW with the four-time champion adding his first win of the season to conclude the weekend of BTCC action at Brands Hatch Indy.

It was Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 Trade Price driver Tom Chilton who took reverse grid pole but his luck went from bad to worse as he survived an early safety car period after Jason Plato went off at Druids but tumbled down the order eventually pitting with a problem and ending the day in the gravel.

Turkington began this slide by firing past Chilton on Lap Eight and Hill soon followed his teammate. Bobby Thompson who in many ways was the story of the race fired his Autobrite Direct with JourneyHero CUPRA into third place and took his maiden BTCC podium.

While another safety car for Chilton aimed to derail Turkington’s momentum, all it did was decrease the gap slightly with Hill unable to mount a charge potentially thinking of banking points after his spin earlier in the day.

Tom Ingram leaves Brands Hatch still in the lead in the championship finishing fourth, while Rory Butcher and Ash Sutton came home in fifth and sixth ahead of rookie, George Gamble who despite losing out to the experienced duo earlier in the race continues his brilliant start to BTCC life.

Cook secures Brands Hatch Indy double after defensive masterclass, Chilton on reverse grid pole

Rich Energy BTC Racing‘s Josh Cook secured a double win around Brands Hatch Indy on Sunday afternoon in a defensive masterclass as he sealed Round Five of the 2022 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)

This weekend, the coverage has shifted for the final two races over to ITV1 and for viewers who may not be familiar with the all action motorsport series, they were treated to a fine example of the close racing on offer as Cook withstood massive pressure to take the lights to flag win.

After sealing the opener, Cook made a strong getaway from ROKiT MB Motorsport driver Jake Hill who looked to be a man on a mission but there was multiple contact down the field as Laser Tools Racing duo Aiden Moffat and Dexter Patterson as well as Power Maxed Racing‘s Ash Hand and Michael Crees and Dan Rowbottom who were all running mid pack in Race One were all caught up.

But after that melee, Dan Cammish battled with Rory Butcher only to escape and join the leading pack of Cook and Hill only for the latter to spurn any chances towards the end as he clipped the kerb at Druids which spun his BMW 330e M Sport and sent him down towards seventh where he finished the race.

This left only the NAPA Racing UK Ford Focus ST of Cammish to attack Cook and it was a drag to the line as Cook concluded his masterclass round the Kent circuit.

Cook breaks down BMW dominance to seal Race One win at Brands Hatch Indy

Josh Cook broke down the initial dominance on the grid of the BMW’s spearheaded by Colin Turkington to seal the opening race of the day at Brands Hatch Indy and Round Four of the 2022 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)

The Rich Energy BTC Racing Honda produced a stellar drive as he bided his time as the BMW resolve started to die down with greasy conditions due to the wet weather at the Kent circuit proving a challenge for some.

Turkington and teammate Jake Hill squabbled to begin the race but Cook took the scalp of Stephen Jelley who faded the most going down to 20th by the end of the race.

From there, he went off track which allowed Jelley the position back but on Lap Seven, he returned into third ahead of the Leicester driver and by the half way point, Hill’s struggles were evident as he ran wide at Clearways allowing Cook back into second and a simple pass five laps later allowed him through into the lead.

He potentially had to battle Jake Hill again but despite disposing of Turkington, the ROKiT MB Motorsport driver went through the gravel on Paddock Hill Bend to deny any late chance as he slipped down into fourth.

Zane Smith dominates Heart of America 200

Zane Smith is the only driver with multiple wins in the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. A dominating performance in Friday’s Heart of America 200 at Kansas Speedway means he now has a two-win advantage over everyone else with a victory. He led 108 of 134 laps in the race, with Corey Heim having the second most with just eighteen.

Heim won the opening stage after taking the lead from Smith, who in turn claimed the spot from pole winner John Hunter Nemechek, on lap 22. However, Heim’s hopes of winning came to an end when his engine started to randomly shut off, causing him to hit the wall and forcing a late pit stop.

Smith won Stage #2. While the first two segments ran caution-free, Niece Motorsports trucks were responsible for cautions in Stage #3 when Kris Wright spun on lap 92 while Dean Thompson did so on lap 123.

The Wright caution allowed Heim to spend some time in front before Smith re-assumed the lead for the ensuing restart. Ty Majeski, who along with ThorSport Racing team-mate Ben Rhodes were the only other drivers to lead laps, was no match for Smith.

The victory is Smith’s sixth in the Truck Series, first at Kansas, and first on a 1.5-mile oval. This leaves dirt tracks—of which there are two on the Truck calendar with Bristol in March and Knoxville in June—as the lone circuit type he has yet to win on. Smith’s other victories have come on a two-mile oval (Michigan 2020), one-mile oval (Dover 2020), short track (Martinsville 2021), superspeedway (Daytona 2022), and road course (COTA 2022)

Race results

1438Zane SmithFront Row MotorsportsFord134Running
2366Ty MajeskiThorSport RacingToyota134Running
32123Grant EnfingerGMS RacingChevrolet134Running
4618Chandler SmithKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota134Running
51798Christian EckesThorSport RacingToyota134Running
614John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota134Running
71225Matt DiBenedettoRackley WARChevrolet134Running
8819Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet134Running
91088Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota134Running
101599Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota134Running
111191Colby HowardMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingChevrolet134Running
12717Riley Herbst*David Gilliland RacingFord134Running
131461Chase PurdyHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota134Running
14552Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota134Running
151642Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet134Running
162016Tyler AnkrumHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota134Running
17181Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord134Running
18915Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord134Running
192545Lawless AlanNiece MotorsportsChevrolet134Running
203530Tate FoglemanOn Point MotorsportsToyota133Running
21335Tyler HillHill MotorsportsToyota133Running
221940Dean ThompsonNiece MotorsportsChevrolet133Running
232322Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet133Running
242202Jesse LittleYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet132Running
252444Kris WrightNiece MotorsportsChevrolet132Running
261324Jack WoodGMS RacingChevrolet131Running
272656Timmy HillHill MotorsportsToyota130Running
283146Ryan HuffG2G RacingToyota130Running
293214Trey HutchensTrey Hutchens RacingChevrolet130Running
302933Josh ReaumeReaume Brothers RacingToyota129Running
313012Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet127Running
32279Blaine PerkinsCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet126Running
33251Corey HeimKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota124Running
342820Matt Mills*Young’s MotorsportsChevrolet91Axle
353443Jesse Iwuji*Reaume Brothers RacingChevrolet24Too Slow
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points