Nitro Rallycross Lydden Hill Recap

The first round of the 2022-23 Nitro Rallycross season has ended, marking the historic first event for the FC1-X. 

Day One 

Day One saw Battle Brackets for the SuperCar and Group E classes. As well as heats for both the Crosskart and NRX Next classes. Robin Larsson won the first battle bracket of the 2022-23 Nitro Rallycross season and the first battle bracket featuring the FC1-X. Larsson beating Niclas Grönholm, Oliver Eriksson, teammate Andreas Bakkurad and Kris Meeke. Meeke placed second, beating Travis Pastrana and teammate Oliver Bennett. Niclas Grönholm was a last-minute entry as Kevin Eriksson could not race due to an injury. Conner Martell had beat teammate Travis Pastrana, but Martell has later assessed a three-second penalty for hitting a track marker.

Day Two

The second day at Lydden Hill saw the semifinals, last chance qualifier, and the Group E class finals. It also saw the finals for the SuperCar, Crosskart, and NRX Next. Crosskart and NRX Next had both heats and semifinals. Due to the small amount of SuperCar drivers, they only did heats to determine positions in the final. 

Heats, Semifinals, and Last Chance Qualifier

 Robin Larsson and Kris Meeke won their heats, with Travis Pastrana and Andreas Bakkerud placing second to all advance to the finals. Bakkerud won the first heat but would face a three-second penalty for hitting a track marker. Niclas Grönholm and Oliver Eriksson both won their semifinals to advance to the final. Fraser McConnel won the last chance qualifier, with Ole Christian Velby placing second to advance to the finals. Conner Martell and Oliver Bennett were the only two drivers not to qualify for the finals. Martell was on track to make the final but suffered an inverter problem which forced him out. Oliver Bennett was excluded from the race after hitting a track marker and then getting an infraction for a push and pass. 

Group E Final 

The Group E Final saw Robin Larsson and Kris Meeke on the top row, Travis Pastrana and Andreas Bakkerud on the second, Niclas Grönholm and Oliver Eriksson on the third, and Fraser McConnell and Ole Cristian Velby on the fourth row. Travis Pastrana would rocket off the start. Meeke and Larsson would have to fight off Pastrana and Bakkerud. Pastrnak would end up falling back. Teammates Robin Larsson and Andreas Bakkerud would alternate jokers, with Bakkerud going first and Larsson the lap after. This dropped Bakkerud down to third place and left him to fight with Oliver Eriksson for second. 

Final Times 

  • 1 Robin Larsson (DRR JC) 4m34.808s
  • 2 Andreas Bakkerud (DRR JC) +0.875s
  • 3 Niclas Grönholm (Olsbergs MSE) +2.805s
  • 4 Fraser McConnell (DRR JC) +6.267s
  • 5 Ole Christian Veiby (DRR JC) +10.258s
  • 6 Oliver Eriksson (Olsbergs MSE) +10.752s
  • 7 Travis Pastrana (Vermont SportsCar) -5 laps
  • 8 Kris Meeke (Xite Energy Racing) -6 laps

SuperCar Class Rundown 

With only five drivers in the SuperCar class, things looked a bit different than the likes of Group E or NRX Next. The SuperCar class would only do heats. Although all drivers would make it to the final, they would do these races to determine positions. Fraser McConnell would win the SuperCar class beating out Yury Belevskiy, Patrick O’Donovan, and British racing regulars Tristan Ovenden and Dom Flitney. Patrick O’Donovan would race the weekend with an older engine that was not up to spec with the other cars. This resulted from an issue with the engine he was meant to use. 

NRX Next Rundown

Simon Olofson came back after rolling day one on the first race. Olofson would start the other two races with a taped-up car so he could qualify for the events on day two. George Megennis and Casper Jansson were both forced to retire after the second lap of the final. This was due to suspension damage caused by the two colliding with each other in a fight for the podium. 

Could He Be Around Longer? 

Kris Meeke was filling in this weekend for Jenson Button. Meeke is a five-time rally winner in the WRC but has never done Rallycross. Meeke seemed to find his rhythm rather quickly after beating out teammate and the favorite to win Oliver Bennet on day one, then taking out Travis Pastrana. If Meeke can keep this form up, he may find himself behind the wheel of an FC1-X for more than a few events.

What Happened To Bennett?

Xite Energy Driver Oliver Bennett was the favorite to win heading into the event, but he didn’t live up to the expeditions. Bennett grew up racing at Lydden Hill, which as a result, made him the favorite to win. Bennett was eliminated in round one of the battle brackets by teammate Kris Meeke. He didn’t qualify for the finals after being excluded from the race due to hitting a track marker and committing a push and pass on Ole Christian Velby. 

My name is Joe Moore, I am a writer for Belly Up HockeyBelly Up Racing, and Belly Up Sports. You can find me on Twitter.

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