- The Finnish driver won in all sessions, except the Semi-Final, where he finished second
- Vranckx and Steinsholt were second and third respectively
- There’s just one point between the top three drivers in the Championship
July 23rd 2023, Lydden Hill – The RX2e Championship has already surpassed the half of the Championship and no better place to have done it than the historic circuit of Lydden Hill, the place were Rallycross was born. In this spectacular track, Tommi Hallman achieved the win in his debut, after dominating the weekend, being the fastest in all sessions except for the Semi-Final, where he ended in second place. The third round of RX2e was certainly full of surprises, crashes and overtakes.
The weekend started with some time for the drivers to set the car up as perfect as they could in the Practice Sessions ahead of the Qualifying Practice and, more importantly, the Heats. Tommi Hallman racing for SET Promotion set the fastest time in the Qualifying, ahead of Viktor Vranckx and Isak Sjökvist.
And it was time for the Heats. In the first race of Heat 1 Robert Vitols didn’t miss the chance. He started on pole and the Latvian driver didn’t let go of the first position in the whole race closely followed by Ole Henry Steinsholt and Pablo Suárez, who finished second and third respectively. Second race also saw the man on pole win, this time Tommi Hallman, who secured the first place ahead of Viktor Vranckx. Third position in Heat 1 Race 2 was for Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky after a fierce battle with teammate Nils Andersson and fellow Swede Isak Sjökvist, who finished in fourth and fifth position.
The rain appeared just in time for Heat 2, to make the conditions of the track a bit trickier for the drivers. In Race 1 Nils Andersson took advantage of the pole position and went straight to Heat 2 Race 1 victory. Isak Sjökvist came second and Pablo Suárez third. In the second race, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky got the lead after a great launch and got past Viktor Vranckx and poleman Tommi Hallman. She held into that position right until the last lap, where she decided to go for the Joker Lap and it made her lose the position and finish in fifth. Hallman, with an early Joker Lap strategy won the Race 1 ahead of Viktor Vranckx and Ole Henry Steinsholt.
Sunday started right where it left of the day before, with amazing Heats. The first race started with a crash in the first corner, involving Filip Thorèn, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Catie Munnings, that unfortunately, made Åhlin-Kottulinsky retire from the race, and Filip Thorèn with a puncture that made him lose a lot of time. The Brit Catie Munnings could recover from the crash, and with a strong pace finally made it from fourth to second position after two overtakes on track. In the front Roberts Vitols had a strong pace and could open a gap big enough to secure the victory. The second race of Heat 3 was equally exciting, since all the drivers were so close together for the whole race. After a great launch, Nils Andersson took first position and tried to open a gap, but it was not big enough for when he did the joker lap, he returned to the track really close to Hallman, who would finally overtake him. Behind, Ole Henry Steinsholt overtook Isak Sjökvist and Viktor Vranckx to get third position.
For Heat 4 Race 1, Viktor Vranckx executed a great launch and took first position right from the start and until the end of the race, followed closely by Pablo Suárez. The Belgian, though, had an incident that ended getting him a 12 second penalty and demoted to fourth position. Behind, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Filip Thorèn spun in the first corner. After Vranckx’s penalty, then Pablo Suárez secured the victory ahead of Catie Munnings and Filip Thorèn. Race 2 saw Nils Andersson secure first position right from the start. The Swede put up a great pace to open a gap from Tommi Hallman. Behind Roberts Vitols had an incident that broke the right front of his car. In the end, the Swede secured the win ahead of Hallman and Isak Sjökvist.
After the Heats, Tommi Hallman, Nils Andersson and Viktor Vranckx got awarded 3, 2 and 1 Championship points as they were the top three in the rankings. Also, it was time to define the grids for Semi Finals: Tommi Hallman and Viktor Vranckx shared the front row in the first semi-final, followed by Isak Sjökvist and Pablo Suárez in the second row, and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky in the third. For Semi-Final 2, Nils Andersson and Ole Henry Steinsholt were placed in the first row; Roberts Vitols and Catie Munnings in the second and Filip Thorèn in the third row.
And the first decisive moment arrived: the Semi-Finals. In the first race, Hallman took the first position from the start and defended from Viktor Vranckx in the first corner, where they went wheel-to-wheel and Isak Sjökvist took advantage of that and overtook the Belgian driver. Sjökvist couldn’t hold the second position for long, after an incident where he broke the rear and had to retire from the race. Hallman, Vranckx and Suárez, finishing in the top three secured their spots in the Final. In the second race, just at the beginning, Roberts Vitols was pushed by Ole Henry Steinsholt and damaged the front and right of his car. From that impact the right side of the bonnet of the car came up, so Vitols had no visibility on the right side of the car which meant he had trouble with the right handers. Meanwhile, Nils Andersson was at the front followed by Ole Henry Steinsholt. Andersson, Steinsholt and Vitols finished in top three, earning their spots in the final. The Norwegian, though, got a 5 second penalty that demoted him from second to third position.
And the Final arrived. It was time for Tommi Hallman, Nils Andersson, Viktor Vranckx, Roberts Vitols, Pablo Suárez and Ole Henry Steinsholt to fight for the win in Lydden Hill. Tommi Hallman starting from pole, took the first position ahead of Nils Andersson and Viktor Vranckx, who went wheel-to-wheel in the first corner. Behind, Vitols broke the suspension of the car when he landed after the jump and had to retire the car. A broken suspension also caused Nils Andersson to lose pace and go from second to fifth. Meanwhile, Hallman in front and Viktor Vranckx and Ole Henry Steinsholt were trying to close the gap. In the end, Hallman won the Final ahead of the Belgian and the Norwegian driver. Pablo Suárez arrived on fourth position after having to manage half of the race with a puncture, followed by Andersson in fifth.
Once the race was over, Tommi Hallman couldn’t hide the happiness after his first win: “What a weekend! It is such a nice track and luckily, we had so much crowd in here this weekend. It’s been a pleasure, the car is so enjoyable to drive that it has been incredible. Coming to the weekend, I did not really know what to expect, of course I thought that it was possible to fight for the top, but obviously you never know. Luckily I made a good enough lap on the Qualifying and I knew that the pole would give me enough advantage in the Heats and if I could just keep that advantage it’s easier to get in the inside and then to the front. It’s still a surprise to be so good pace compared with more experienced drivers on the class, so big thanks to the team, Set Promotion, and QEV Technologies. Also big thanks to all my sponsors”. The Finnish driver will be back in RX2e in the last race of the season in Germany.
After round 3 of RX2e season, the Championship standings are as tight as they can be, with just one point between the first and the third:
Mark your calendars for next round in Mettet, Belgium, on August 5th-6th. Stay updated by following us on social media @officialrx2e. Get ready for another electrifying showdown!