Double World Rally champion Marcus Grönholm will be among the star competitors in the ‘Legends’ element of RallyX Nordic’s Magic Weekend event at Höljes on July 2-5.
Per Eklund, Stig-Olov Walfridson, and Andreas Eriksson have also been announced as taking part in the contest.
The four will line up in the separate Legends race for rallycross veterans at the four-day event in Sweden, which will mark a return for top-level rallycross following the coronavirus lockdown.
Like his son Niclas, who will compete in the main Supercar class, Grönholm will race a Hyundai i20 supercar at the event.
The World Rally Car-derived machine won three times in World Rallycross last year in the hands of the younger Grönholm and Timur Timerzyanov.
“This is not a comeback – I promised my family that I would stop permanent racing already some time ago – but as a one-off event, with fast cars and many great drivers, Höljes will be great fun and I’m looking forward to enjoying every bit of it in our GRX Hyundai i20 Supercar,” said Grönholm.
“Also, I’ll get to compare my lap times with Niclas, and I am sure he will give me a hard time chasing him”
While best known for his exploits on the stages, Grönholm is no stranger to rallycross.
He won on his debut in the European championship in 2008, and was a four time winner in Global Rallycross, never finishing a round lower than third in his year-and-a-half spell in the US-based series.
Grönholm took part in the corresponding Magic Weekend last year, in a special CrossCar Challenge which featured the likes of 14-time European champion Kenneth Hansen and triple champion Sverre Isachsen.
That appearance was the first time Grönholm has taken part in a rallycross competition since his ill-fated appearance at X Games back in 2012.
He crashed during practice for the contest on the streets of Los Angeles, which ruled him out for the remainder of that season. He had been leading the points up until then, having made an unbeaten start to the year.
It will also be the two-time WRC champion’s first competitive outing since last year’s Rally Sweden when he returned to the WRC for the first time in almost a decade, driving a privately-entered Toyota Yaris WRC.
For Eklund, it will be his first rallycross outing since 2015, when he competed in the World RX round at the very same venue.
Now 73, Eklund’s resume boasts a win in Sweden’s first ever rallycross event, and a European rallycross title in 1999, and two wins at the famed Pikes Peak hillclimb.
“I’m excited. I have so many fond memories of Höljes. I helped to build the circuit and then won the first event held there, which was a winter race,” said Eklund, who will be driving a Volkswagen Beetle at Magic Weekend.
“For somewhere that’s literally in the middle of nowhere, there is so much passion for this little track amongst fans and I think what the organisers are doing with the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend is so good for Finnskoga MK and for the sport of rallycross in general.
“We’ve been flat-out in the workshop recently, and now we need to go flat-out preparing for the event because I see some of my ‘Legends’ rivals have been getting a bit of practice in, so I have some catching-up to do!
“It’ll be fun to see all the boys again. I raced against the Walfridson family and had a lot of enjoyable battles with ‘Stecka’ [Eriksson], too.
“I might be the oldest driver in the field, but hopefully I can still give them a good fight.”
Two-time Swedish rallycross champion Walfridson is another driver returning for the first time since Sweden’s 2015 World RX event. He also won at the same venue in European RX in 2009, arguably his biggest triumph to date.
“I stopped racing full-time in 2013, but then came back for a one-off event at Höljes in 2015, which is the last time I drove competitively,” he said.
“I tested there recently in the Clio, which went quite well – though I quickly realised that at 57, I don’t have so much power in my arms anymore!”
Rounding out the initial ‘fab four’ Legends announcement is Olsbergs MSE team owner and event organiser Eriksson.
Eriksson recently competed at the RX Quarantine test event, finishing fourth in what was his first race since 2012.
As well as being a race-winning driver in both Europe and the US, Eriksson has gone on to run the ulta-successful OMSE team which has claimed national and international titles on both sides of the Atlantic.
“It’ll be a lot of fun to take on my fellow rallycross ‘dinosaurs’ in the ‘Legends’ class, and it will be interesting to see who’s still ‘got it’ after all these years,” said Eriksson.
“When I drove the final in our RX Quarantine event at Höljes last month, it really gave me a taste for competition again, although I have had to assure my wife that this will be strictly a one-off!
“My speed was pretty good in the Lites car in that race, so now I’m really looking forward to stepping into a Supercar again because with 600bhp, the Fiesta is a whole different beast.
“I can’t wait to go wheel-to-wheel with these guys and I can promise all the action-starved fans watching at home via the livestream that they are going to enjoy one hell of a show!”
Full entry lists for the Supercar, Supercar Lites, CrossCar, CrossCar Junior, and Legends classes at the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend will be published after June 18.