Round eight of the FIA European Rallycross Championship takes place at the PS Racing Center at Greinbach, Austria this weekend (Sept 14 – 15).
One of the great strengths of rallycross is the variety in its tracks. Greinbach is probably the smallest in the schedule, but for those behind the fence this can be a positive benefit. Spectators are allowed almost all the way around the circuit and no matter where you choose to stand in the spectator areas, you can see just about the entire track. The action rarely gets strung out, so there’s plenty going on.
The high banking that surrounds the track from turn one to turn four is all good space for watching, pick a spot towards the end of turn one and the entry to turn two and you’re in a great place. There’s also grandstand on the start straight that gives a great view of the run off the Joker Lap and into the last bend as well as being close to the start.
Anton Marklund competed at the circuit for the first time last season on his way to winning the TouringCar championship. He later returned after the season had finished to start the testing and development for his new VW Polo Supercar that he has been using this year. In his first Supercar event he contested and won the Race of Austrian Champions end of season showcase that features drivers from Rallycross, Rally and Autocross.
“I really enjoy the track in Austria, it was a lot of fun to drive in the TouringCar but when I got there in the Supercar last year it was really a surprise and I absolutely loved it. I think that’s why I did so well at the Race of Austrian Champions because I enjoyed the track and was having so much fun driving the car,” he says.
The first and second corner at Greinbach flow into one another so that they are virtually one big curve. Get the first bit wrong and you are in trouble because you are going to be in the wrong place for the second part. But Marklund reveals that in a Supercar almost half the lap can hinge on this section. “The first lap is just the first and second corners, but in the other laps of the race you are really committed from the last corner,” he says, “When the car is good and you get it just right you can have massive speed through those three bends, it’s flat out, or very nearly flat from the hairpin at the end of the gravel through the last corner and all the way to turn three.”
It seems prudent to point out to Marklund that this is virtually half the lap flat out. “Yes,” he says, “You can only do it if you get everything absolutely right, but it’s great fun when you do get it right!” Turn three leads into the gravel section, the entry and transition from asphalt to loose being fast and a place where the Supercars in particular and great to watch. The tight left in the middle of this section and then the Joker Lap option at the end of it, are more difficult than they at first appear and it’s easy for drivers to make a mistake.
All three of the European Rallycross championships (Supercar, Super1600 and TouringCar) can be won and lost in Austria, and all the drivers will be pushing hard to get the best results possible heading into the close season.
Greinbach will produce quite a spectacle!