August 20th 2023, Estering – The Championship arrived at Estering as tight as it could be, with three drivers five points apart aiming for the crown. The spectacle and emotion of the purest Rallycross was served this weekend at Estering. The race in Germany put the finishing touch to the intense third season of the FIA RX2e Rallycross Championship, crowning the Swede Nils Andersson as the new champion in a race won by the Finn Tommi Hallman.
The last RX2e event of the season, began on Saturday with two free practice sessions in which the riders took the reins of the German track for the first time. Afterwards, time to analyse the data collected and set up the RX2e for the Qualifying Practice to get the best result possible for first two races of the weekend, Heat 1 and Heat 2. Tommi Hallman set the fastest lap, securing himself the pole position for the first Heat.
Pablo Suárez made a good start in Heat 1 to open a gap and finished the race ahead of Molly Taylor and Yan Zhang. In the second race, Ole Henry Steinsholt and Niclas Grönholm were battling through half of the race, until there was a contact between the two that made Grönholm retire. Klara Andersson with good pace managed to win ahead of Filip Thorén and Ole Henry Steinsholt. In the last race Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky had a great start but had a problem that left her at the end of the pack. Meanwhile, Tommi Hallman kept the first position ahead of Isak Sjökvist and Nils Andersson.
And it was time for Heat 2. Klara Andersson got a good start, but Tommi Hallman overtook her and after she came back from her joker lap, it was also beaten by Nils Andersson. In the second race, Pablo Suárez and Ole Henry Steinsholt were battling for first position, that ended in the hands of the Norwegian driver, who finished winning ahead of Filip Thorén, Pablo Suárez and Molly Taylor. The last race of the day saw a great start by Niclas Grönholm, but unfortunately he couldn’t finish the race, that was won by Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky ahead of the newcomer Yan Zhang.
Sunday, the most decisive day of the season, started with the morning Warm Up to get the pulse of the track for the remaining races ahead. Unfortunately, the rookie Yan Zhang had a crash that forced her to retire from the rest of the race weekend, because the car was unrepairable on time for the races. Tommi Hallman set the fastest time, ahead of title contenders Nils Andersson and Isak Sjökvist.
In the first race of Heat 3, Filip Thorén and Molly Taylor had a huge crash that forced them both to retire. Meanwhile, Ole Henry Steinsholt with a good start went first, but a great early Joker Lap strategy by Niclas Grönholm made him win the race ahead of the Norwegian and Pablo Suárez. The second race was equally thrilling with a nice start by Tommi Hallman who kept the first position and Isak Sjökvist that went from fifth to second. Behind, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky spun and that made her lose a lot of time and arrive last. Nils Andersson, with a good strategy managed to overtook Klara Andersson and finish in third place.
Las Heat for the day witnessed exciting races. In the first one Pablo Suárez did the perfect launch to keep first position from pole, although he had to defend strongly from Klara Andersson, who was second. Behind Molly Taylor spun and lost a lot of time. The Spaniard won that race ahead of Andersson, Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Thorén and Taylor. The second race saw a great launch from Niclas Grönholm and Isak Sjökvist who placed themselves in first and second position respectively. The poleman Tomi Hallman finished third ahead of Nils Andersson and Ole Henry Steinsholt.
The Semi-Finals were presented with the intensity and excitement that usually accompanies them, leaving no one indifferent. Tommi Hallman took the lead while Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky spun and eventually had to retire, missing the opportunity to reach the final as well as the chances of getting the RX2e Championship. Meanwhile, Andersson fought throughout the race and came in second, with Thorén third after overtaking Suárez in the end when the Spanish driver completed his joker lap. In the second race, Isak Sjökvist held the lead ahead of Niclas Grönholm that managed to finish second with a puncture in his rear tyre. Klara Andersson came in third, securing her place in the final.
The big moment of the weekend and of the season arrived. The last race that would put the finishing touch to a spectacular season, with six spectacular drivers fighting for the win, and two of them, for the Championship: Tommi Hallman, Isak Sjökvist, Nils Andersson, Niclas Grönholm, Klara Andersson and Filip Thorén. Just after the start, Filip Thorén was pushed into the inside in the first corner, and the Swede ended up upside down in his car and the race was red-flagged due to this incident. In the restart, Tommi Hallman hold the lead, against Nils Andersson and Isak Sjökvist, who went a bit wide and lost his second position in favour of Andersson. Tommi Hallman took the second win of the season in his second participation in the Championship and Nils Andersson was crowned 2023 RX2e Champion after he managed to finish ahead of Isak Sjökvist, who was the other title contender.
After the race, the newly crowned Champion was pleased with the outcome of the season, although he didn’t manage to secure a win: “A victory is a victory, but for sure the Championship was the main goal when we set the Team E at the beginning of the year. We have followed this goal as good as we could and luckily we ended up as Champions. I am really satisfied with this result and hopefully we can fight again next year”.
These are the final standings of the 2023 RX2e season:
With this impressive weekend of racing in Estering, the third season of RX2e came to an end. A season that has been filled with battles, overtakes and thrilling action that has loaded the circuits of half of Europe with passion and spectacle. 2023 is already history, in 2024 the best of RX2e will return.