Rallycross is well and truly back.
Two nationals championships are already underway: Sosnová hosted the first Czech national round of the year last weekend, as did Höljes for the opening double-header of the Swedish national series.
But the first weekend of July, Sweden’s traditional date on the World Rallycross Championship calendar, has been resurrected to host a different ‘Magic Weekend’, as the RallyX Nordic regional championship has its first bout of the year.
Here’s everything you need to know about this weekend’s event.
What is the Magic Weekend?
The ‘Magic Weekend’, a rallycross meeting that always takes place on the first weekend of July at Höljes Motorstadion, is widely considered the jewel in the crown of World Rallycross, alongside France’s round of the world championship at Lohéac.
But with World RX rescheduling its Swedish round for August, the regional RallyX Nordic series has picked up the date to host its season opener.
Behind the World RX circus and its various support championships, and Nitro RX in America, RallyX Nordic is the next-biggest rallycross series in terms of profile. Oliver Solberg won the RX Nordic Supercars title as a 17-year-old back in 2018, while several other drivers have raced in the series before stepping up to World RX and Euro RX.
What classes of car are competing in the Magic Weekend?
The main event is the Supercar class. The cars in this are essentially identical to those that compete in World RX, which pack 600bhp and 665lb-ft of torque. There’s some small differences regarding ECUs, data-loggers, radiators and the like to keep costs down.
This is the class Oliver Solberg will be in, as will two-time World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson, and other familiar faces from World and Euro RX like Niclas Grönholm, Robin Larsson, Oliver Eriksson, and Pontus Tidemand. Fraser McConnell, who won two ARX2 titles with DirtFish Motorsport, is making his Supercar debut, and the Legends race will be run using Supercars too.
Supercar Lites is the main support category, which utilizes a mid-engined spaceframe car built by Olsbergs MSE. It’s the last step young drivers take before moving up to the fastest Supercars in the world, and those who’ve trodden that path tend to agree the Lites cars are actually harder to drive than Supercars; the engine being in the back acts like a pendulum. The cars are the same as those used in World RX’s undercard RX2 series, and many of the drivers and teams from RX2 will be competing in the Magic Weekend.
Lastly there’s the CrossCars. This is the class WRC star Thierry Neuville and reigning World RX champion Timmy Hansen are competing in as a special one-off. These lightweight tubular steel frame buggies have high-revving 750cc or 600cc bike engines in the back – the latter is mandatory for Junior XC. They’re still quite fast little things, the senior CrossCars lapping only around six or seven seconds off the pace of the 600bhp Supercars.
Where’s the Magic Weekend being hosted?
Höljes, an all-time classic rallycross circuit, will host the Magic Weekend. Though it’s been around since 1976, Höljes isn’t one of the longest-serving top-flight rallycross tracks; it didn’t become a permanent fixture on the Euro RX calendar until 1999, though has now cemented its status and is considered a must-have on the World and Euro RX calendars.
Drivers love the circuit for its undulating nature. There are two jumps: one on the regular lap just after the joker split at Turn 2, and another very fast one on the approach to the final corner. The ‘velodrome’ at the back of the circuit is especially important; it’s a banked sweeping uphill left-hander that’s crucial to get right to maintain speed on the fast run to the final corner.
Can I pack my bags and head for Höljes?
The first week of July is significant as a date for the event because it’s not long after Midsommar, when the days are at their longest and daylight is almost non-stop, so Swedes take advantage and party. Usually that means Höljes is packed to the rafters when rallycross comes to down, especially Happy Street.
Happy Street, for the uninitiated, is a long stretch of road usually bustling with fans – or, perhaps ‘revellers’ might be a more apt description – and their Volvos, old muscle cars, caravans, buses and trucks. They’re usually partying right next to the track, as Happy Street stretches from Turn 2 to the ‘Velodrome’ at the far side of the circuit.
But COVID-19 has at least temporarily brought an end to all that. No fans are allowed at the track; instead, fans can watch all the racing on a pay-per-view stream.
Where can I watch the Magic Weekend?
RallyX Nordic is hosting a pay-per-view online stream, which will have all the racing live bar the CrossCar qualifiers (there’s 64 qualifying races across all three days – too much to broadcast!).
Subscriptions are available for 249 SEK (approximately $28/€25) through StayLive. NEP, which produces the broadcasts for WRC+ and World RX, is also producing the PPV live broadcast for the Magic Weekend.
What’s the Magic Weekend timetable?
There’s track action over five days; a quick practice session on Wednesday takes place before the proper running starts on Thursday, with a full RallyX Nordic championship round squeezed into a single day. To fit a whole event into a single day, there’s only three qualifying rounds instead of the usual four.
Friday’s track activity is minimal but there will be action from the Legends, while round two of RallyX Nordic takes place over both Saturday and Sunday.
|Wednesday, July 1||1300 EDT / 1000 PDT / 1900 CET||RXN Round 1 – Free practice 1|
|Thursday, July 2||0200 EDT / 2300 PDT (Weds) / 0800 CET||RXN Round 1 – Free practice 2|
|0330 EDT / 0030 PDT / 0930 CET||RXN Round 1 – Q1, Q2, Q3, Semifinals, Final|
|Friday, July 3||0700 EDT / 0400 PDT / 1300 CET||Legends Free practice|
|1000 EDT / 0700 PDT / 1600 CET||Legends Shootout|
|1100 EDT / 0800 PDT / 1700 CET||Legends Q1|
|Saturday, July 4||0200 EDT / 2300 PDT (Fri) / 0800 CET||RXN Round 2 – Free practice 1|
|0420 EDT / 0120 PDT / 1020 CET||RXN Round 2 – Free practice 2|
|0705 EDT / 0405 PDT / 1305 CET||RXN Round 2 – Q1, Q2|
|1200 EDT / 0900 PDT / 1800 CET||Legends Free practice|
|Sunday, July 5||0230 EDT / 2330 PDT (Sat) / 0830 CET||Warm-up|
|0305 EDT / 0005 PDT / 0905 CET||RXN Round 2 – Q3, Q4, Semifinals, Final|
|1030 EDT / 0730 PDT / 1630 CET||Legends Semifinal and Final|
Who is competing in the Magic Weekend?
There’s over 90 drivers lining up across all five categories. That’s definitely too many to list in full here, so we’ve picked out the main drivers to watch from each of the races (and the full five-driver Legends grid) for these lists.
|1||Johan Kristoffersson||VW Dealer Team Bauhaus||Volkswagen Polo|
|4||Robin Larsson||KYB Team JC||Audi S1|
|11||Oliver Solberg||PS 110 procent AB||Citroën DS3|
|16||Oliver Eriksson||Olsbergs MSE||Ford Fiesta|
|33||Enzo Ide||JC Raceteknik||Audi S1|
|35||Fraser McConnell||Olsbergs MSE||Ford Fiesta|
|45||Pontus Tidemand||Hedströms Motorsport||Volkswagen Polo|
|68||Niclas Grönholm||GRX Taneco||Hyundai i20|
|Marcus Grönholm||GRX Taneco||Hyundai i20|
|Per Eklund||Volkswagen Beetle|
|Andréas Eriksson||Olsbergs MSE||Ford Fiesta|
|Stig-Olov Walfridson||Helmia Motorsport||Renault Clio|
|Henning Solberg||Hedströms Motorsport||Volkswagen Polo|
|18||Linus Östlund||Olsbergs MSE||Supercar Lites|
|47||Jesse Kallio||Olsbergs MSE||Supercar Lites|
|52||Simon Olofsson||STS RX||Supercar Lites|
|60||Martin Enlund||Olsbergs MSE||Supercar Lites|
|77||Henrik Krogstad||YellowSquad||Supercar Lites|
|90||Jimmie Walfridson||JC Raceteknik||Supercar Lites|
|91||Niklas Aneklev||Olsbergs MSE||Supercar Lites|
|999||Dan Skočdopole||YellowSquad||Supercar Lites|
|5||Thierry Neuville||LifeLive Nordic||TN5|
|11||Jimmie Österberg||Österberg Motorsport||Speedcar|
|21||Timmy Hansen||LifeLive Nordic||TN5|
|170||Isak Reiersen||JC Raceteknik Juniorteam||YMS|
|175||Timmy Enlund||Enlunds Motorsport||EDGE|