STS RX driver Simon Olofsson secured top qualifier position for the opening Supercar Lites round of RallyX Nordic’s Magic Weekend at Höljes after a broken gear lever cost Jesse Kallio a perfect score.
Kallio, who finished third in the World Rallycross Championship-supporting RX2 Series last year, was dominant throughout qualifying and won both Q1 and Q2.
But Kallio’s hopes of an unbeaten run were thwarted by a broken bolt on his gear lever which left him stuck in second gear, cruising around to the finish and picking up a handful of points in Q3.
Olofsson was in prime position to pick up the pieces, having gone second-quickest behind Kallio in both Q1 and Q2.
He took over the lead of the first Q3 race after Kallio’s drama and took the win, but scored yet another second place overall in Q3 as RX Quarantine SuperCar Lites Shoot-Out winner Linus Östlund’s heat two win was faster by half a second.
Kallio will still start on the front row in the second semi-final despite his drama, his two wins ensuring he ended with a one-point intermediate advantage over Östlund.
Marcus Höglund and JC Raceteknik’s Jimmie Walfridson weren’t in the top three at any point but consistency ensured they finished fourth and fifth respectively in qualifying.
The opposite was true for YellowSquad rookie Dan Skocdopole, making his debut in the Supercar Lites category. A careful start had banked points but left him at risk of failing to make the semis, but then a heat-winning drive in Q3 and third overall vaulted him up to sixth by the end of qualifying.
Mats Oskarsson (MORX), Nils Andersson (TikRX), Niklas Aneklev (Olsbergs MSE) and Henrik Krogstad (YellowSquad) completed the top 10.
Like his team-mate, Krogstad also required some last-race heroics to book his semifinals slot after a broken propshaft joint led to him spinning out of the lead in Q2 and finishing last on aggregate.
Gustav Johansson (VGracing) and Thomas Holmen (STS RX) complete the semi-finalists, with Holmen only a single point ahead of Olsbergs’ Lites debutant Martin Enlund in 13th.
Thierry Neuville has made it through to the CrossCar semi-finals after a heat win in Q3, his third-fastest time giving him enough points to make the top 18 in 12th place.
Hyundai’s World Rally Championship star looked quick from the off but an early joker strategy left him stranded behind the slow Peter Lundmark in his first race, costing him precious points.
Robin Nord then pushed Neuville wide into the joker lap at the the start of his second qualifier, in which he again finished well down the times, but two drivers being disqualified in his final heat for repeated jump starts cleared the way for a lights-to-flag win.
Julle Ljungdahl’s sequence of top-four finishes ensured he finished the CrossCar qualifiers on top, though Patrik Hallberg was the benchmark during the morning sessions.
Hallberg had topped free practice and continued his dominance with fastest times in Q1 and Q2 – the latter of which was by 2.5s over the entire field.
But Hallberg then struggled with the clutch on his Q3 start – something that afflicted much of the field, as several XC drivers were punished for jump starts – and a botched start meant a poor time that dropped him to third in intermediate points behind Isak Reiersen.
Jimmie Österberg was widely expected to be a leading contender for victory but wasn’t far off failing to make the semi-finals entirely.
He failed to register a single top-10 finish across three sessions, suffering from a gearbox problem in Q1 and picking up a three-second penalty in Q2.
A very tight pack of midfielders at the end of qualifying was headed by Österberg in 11th – just ahead of Neuville – where eight drivers were covered by only nine points.
Reigning World RX Champion Timmy Hansen had a slow start on his CrossCar debut but felt by Q2 he’d got the most out of his car, with the LifeLive Nordic team now working on optimising Hansen’s set-up to find more speed.
Hansen finished 23rd overall in qualifying, meaning he missed out on a place in the semi-finals.
Raoul Dahlqvist was comfortably the top qualifier in CrossCar Junior thanks to wins in Q1 and Q2, heading a close three-way points battle for second in qualifying between Elias Kalliokoski, Rasmus Persson and Erik Andersson.
Kalliokoski won that battle after managing to disrupt Dahlqvist’s dominance with the fastest Q3 time.
With 10 cars in total, the whole Junior field will compete for six spots in the final.