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Essay Rallicross 2011

Once upon a time at Essay…


by Eddi Laumanns |

In 1979 the ERC has been for the first time at the Circuit des Ducs.

After the first ever European round of France took place in 1978 at Lohéac near Rennes in Brittany one year later the ERC regulars went to another tiny village in the north of France, this time the destination was Essay near the town of Alençon in the Normandy. Rising Norwegian superstar Martin Schanche, still not yet tagged as “Mister Rallycross”, came with his 265bhp Ford Escort RS1800 as the reigning champion of the Touring Car Division to the Circuit des Ducs, while Austrian Andy Bentza brought his Lancia Stratos HF with a spare 2.4 engine as the 1978 ERC runner-up but inofficial Grand Touring Car Division champion to France.

On Saturday June 16 around noon most of the drivers had found their way to the venue about 60kms north of Le Mans. During the afternoon the foreigners got familiar with the track that had seen its first two Rallycross events in 1977 (June 15 and September 11). In the evening all involved parties were invited to a nearby castle, were everything to please hearts and tongues came up the tables. However, as the locals had also brought all members of their families to the place the food was gone within no time and the buffet looked like being hit by shellfire. Perhaps some remained hungry but the empty space in the stomachs was diluted with continously filled up glasses of red wine and Norman cidre. Especially the Scandinavians fell like being in seventh heaven and some swore never to leave this land of milk and honey again.

GT Division

Fortunately the next morning the Rallycross World was back to business as usual, even though some having problems to get their helmets over the swollen heads. The GT drivers of the ERC found paradise at Essay, since for the first time their class was stuffed with more than two dozen starters. However, Raymond Touroul and Bertrand Lenoir, two of the French top favourites, could bury their high hopes quite early. Touroul [he died in 2006], who had set the fastest time in practice with his Porsche Carrera, was the victim of an accident in the second runs while Lenoir retired his 911 with transmission problems already in the first heat. Dutch Alpine A310 driver Jos Fassbender was also soon on his way back home again after overreving his V6 engine in heat one.

Dutchman André Albers, father of F1 pilot Christijan Albers, was not able to start into the first heat with his unwilling 911 Carrera, but scored a good time in the second. Anyway, in the third runs André spon off his black and yellow Lois Jeans Porsche to miss a place in the finals. German Heinz Bubetz, whose Carrera was broken and, therefore, had rented the Porsche 911 Turbo of Bernhard Carl from Berlin, found himself unable to tame the pink beast. In every of his runs he became tricked by the sudden powerblasts of the turbocharged 3.3 litre engine which resulted in several spins. The Bavarian eventually found himself back on 13th place, the first driver outside the finals.

In the GT A final Austrian Andy Bentza dog hounded Swede Olle Arnesson for the entire six laps around the Circuit des Ducs, but due to his rather tame 2.4 litre spare engine in the Lancia Stratos HF was not able to beat the Swedish Porsche Carrera campaigner. Third place went to ex-Formula One driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise who drove a very light and rapid 1.6 litre Alpine A310 in outstanding style. However, Beltoise took advantage from a spin of compatriot Dany Snobeck in another Porsche Carrera.

TC Division

In the Touring Cars category the point standing leaders prior to the French ERC round were the Volkswagen Beetle drivers Anders Hultqvist and Lars “Lasse Cement” Nyström, but at Essay both Swedes made it only into the B final, due to several technical problems with their turbocharged 1303S VWs. Already during the qualification the enthusiastic French spectators were cheeringly following the tough fights of Norwegian privateer Martin Schanche and Volvo R-Team factory driver Per-Inge Walfridsson. Positions were changed sometimes quicker than gears, but for this time all the action during qualifying remained fair. After setting faster times the pole position for the A final went to “Pi”.

After the GO for the last race of the weekend, however, an overdose of adrenaline turned the goodwill into quarrelsomeness. The first corner saw utter chaos when the Escort and the 343 made contact. Walfridsson was send over the banking and found himself a second or two later back on the track. There was quite a ballet of two Fords, one BMW and one Volvo, all covered in a huge cloud of dust. The first car to come out of the “mist” was the 320i of the late Dutchman Piet Dam, but the BMW was already in poor condition. So it did not take “the Bulldozer” [Schanche’s nickname in Belgium and Holland in those days] a lot of time to catch up and pass Dam. While Schanche team mate Jan de Rooy was also able to catch the BMW campaigner a little later, angry Walfridsson strolled back to the paddock, not without trying to hinder his competitors on their way to chequers.

After the race was over and Schanche had done his already well-known lap of honour, the Volvo R-Team launched an official protest against the driving tactics of the Norwegian. Alton Jeans team manager Louis van de Waarssenburg did likewise, claiming that it was Walfridsson who had been the bad boy guilty of the first corner incident. Eventually both protests were rejected by the Stewards of the Meeting as both parties were lacking evidence for their respective claims…

 

  • Touring Car Division – Final Results:
  • 1. Martin Schanche (N) Ford Escort RS1800
  • 2. Jan de Rooy (NL) Ford Escort RS1800
  • 3. Piet Dam (NL) BMW 320i
  • 4. Per-Inge Walfridsson (S) Volvo 343 Turbo
  • 5. John Welch (GB) Ford Escort RS1800
  • 6. Börje Carlsson (S) Volvo 343 Turbo
  • 7. Anders Hultqvist (S) VW 1303S Turbo
  • 8. Lars Nyström (S) VW 1303S Turbo
  • 9. Sven-Erik Andersson (S) Ford Escort RS1600
  • 10. Göran Johansson (S) Saab 99 Turbo
  • 11. Ed van Schie (NL) Ford Escort RS1800
  • 12. Lars-Erik Walfridsson (S) Volvo 343 Turbo
  • C, B and A final with four cars each!
  • Grand Touring Car Division – Final Results:
  • 1. Olle Arnesson (S) Porsche Carrera
  • 2. Andy Bentza (A) Lancia Stratos HF
  • 3. Jean-Pierre Beltoise (F) Alpine A310 1.6
  • 4. Dany Snobeck (F) Porsche Carrera
  • 5. Arne Stenshorne (N) Porsche Carrera
  • 6. Hervé “Knapick” (F) Alpine A110
  • 7. Per Engseth (N) Porsche Carrera
  • 8. Philippe Wambergue (F) Alpine A310 V6
  • 9. Jean-Claude Dayraut (F) Porsche Carrera
  • 10. Michel Marie (F) Alpine A110
  • 11. Jean-Luc Marteil (F) Alpine A110
  • 12. Gustave Tarrière (F) Alpine A110
  • C, B and A final with four cars each!

 

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Andy BentzaEssayHistoryMartin SchancheOlle Arnesson

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The 2011 European Rallycross Championship was the thirty fifth season of the FIA European Championships for Rallycross Drivers. The season consisted of ten rounds and started on 24 April with the British round at Lydden Hill Race Circuit. The season ended on 2 October, at Czech Republic at Sosnová.[1]

Calendar[edit]

RoundEventDatesVenueClassFinal WinnerCarTeamReport
1Euro RX of Great Britain24–25 AprilLydden Hill Race Circuit, Wootton
SupercarSverre IsachsenFord FocusSverre Isachsenreport
Super1600Andreas BakkerudRenault ClioSet Promotion
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg
2Euro RX of Portugal14–15 MayPista Automóvel de Montalegre, Montalegre
SupercarTanner FoustFord FiestaRockstar Energy Rallycross Teamreport
Super1600Andreas BakkerudRenault ClioSet Promotion
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg
3Euro RX of France21–22 MayCircuit des Ducs, Essay
Supercar Frode HolteVolvo C30 Frode Holtereport
Super1600 Steven BossardCitroën C2 Steven Bossard
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg
4Euro RX of Norway25–26 JuneLånkebanen, Hell, Norway, Hell
Supercar Mats LysenRenault Clio Mats Lysen Motorsportreport
Super1600Ildar RakhmatullinRenault Twingo SK Suvar Motorsport
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg
5Euro RX of Sweden2–3 JulyHöljesbanan, Höljes
SupercarTanner FoustFord FiestaRockstar Energy Rallycross Teamreport
Super1600Krzysztof SkorupskiVolkswagen PoloKrzysztof Skorupski
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg
6Euro RX of Belgium6–7 AugustDuivelsbergcircuit, Maasmechelen
SupercarTimur TimerzyanovCitroën C4Namus Hansen Motorsportreport
Super1600 Julian GodfreyFord Fiesta ST Julian Godfrey
TouringCarRoman ČastoralOpel Astra Czech National Team
7Euro RX of the Netherlands13–14 AugustEurocircuit, Valkenswaard
SupercarSverre IsachsenFord FocusSverre Isachsenreport
Super1600Andreas BakkerudRenault ClioSet Promotion
TouringCarRoman ČastoralOpel Astra Czech National Team
8Euro RX of Austria3–4 SeptemberPS Racing Center, Greinbach
SupercarSverre IsachsenFord FocusSverre Isachsenreport
Super1600Krzysztof SkorupskiVolkswagen PoloKrzysztof Skorupski
TouringCarRoman ČastoralOpel Astra Czech National Team
9Euro RX of Poland10–11 SeptemberTor Słomczyn, Słomczyn
SupercarSverre IsachsenFord FocusSverre Isachsenreport
Super1600Krzysztof SkorupskiVolkswagen PoloKrzysztof Skorupski
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg
10Euro RX of the Czech Republic1–2 OctoberAutodrom Sosnová, Sosnová
SupercarSverre IsachsenFord FocusSverre Isachsenreport
Super1600Andreas BakkerudRenault ClioSet Promotion
TouringCar Lars Øivind EnerbergFord Fiesta Lars Øivind Enerberg

Championship standings[edit]

  • For the drivers' championship, only the best four results from the first five rounds and the best four results from the remaining five rounds could be retained by each driver.
    Points are awarded on a 20–17–15–13–12–11–10–9–8–7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale for first 15 drivers.

Supercar[edit]

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