FIRST BLOOD TO ERIKSSON AS DEFENDING CHAMP SETS THE PACE
Oliver Eriksson leads the intermediate standings at the end of the opening day of action in Barcelona, as the reigning RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires Champion kickstarted his title defence in impressive fashion.
Eriksson topped the timesheets in both qualifying races held today at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – a new addition to the calendar in the official FIA World Rallycross Championship feeder series in 2019 – to hold a ten-point advantage at the top of the table heading into tomorrow’s final day.
“The perfect day!” the 20-year-old Swede acknowledged. “As ever, the start was key and thankfully, I managed to nail it both times. That gave me clean air, which was important as both Jesse [Kallio] and [Ben-Philip [Gundersen] were hot on my heels in both races. We’re in the best position we can be, so now we need to keep this momentum going into Sunday.”
As he alluded, Eriksson was pushed hardest by his new Olsbergs MSE team-mate Kallio – a graduate of EuroRX’s Super1600 class – and JC Raceteknik ace Gundersen, who set the pace in both of the morning’s free practice sessions. Kallio impressed on his first outing in Supercar Lites machinery and four wheel-drive debut, while Gundersen was a thorn in the side of the OMSE duo throughout and will be determined to spoil their party tomorrow.
Vasiliy Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) sits fourth overall following a consistent run, with former French Rallycross Championship Supercar star Damien Meunier an excellent fifth, belying the fact that he had only had one test in his Team Färén-run car prior to this weekend.
William Nilsson completes the overnight top six, with his JC Raceteknik car sporting a new NASCAR-style livery this season. The Swedish teenager had to contend with damaged steering and brake issues in Q2, but fought hard to secure a strong position ahead of day two.
Countryman Anders Michalak occupies seventh spot, benefitting from recent go-kart practice with a strong turn-of-speed from the outset. Jamaican newcomer Fraser McConnell (OMSE) atoned for a Q1 error that saw him spinning into the tyres with a top five time in Q2, while Simon Olofsson and reigning EuroRX TouringCar Champion Steve Volders round out the top ten.
SET Promotion’s Sami-Matti Trogen was sent into a spectacular roll after clipping a tyre stack in Q1, but responded well in Q2. He sits 11th ahead of Jimmie Walfridson (JC Raceteknik) and ‘home’ hero Albert Llovera.
The RX2 action continues in Barcelona tomorrow, with Q3 scheduled to get underway at 09:35 local time (CEST). All of the racing can be followed live on the RX2 Series Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RX2Series
- Oliver Eriksson SWE Olsbergs MSE 100 points
- Jesse Kallio FIN Olsbergs MSE 90 points
- Ben-Philip Gundersen NOR JC Raceteknik 84 points
- Vasiliy Gryazin LVA Sports Racing Technologies 77 points
- Damien Meunier FRA Team Färén 74 points
- William Nilsson SWE JC Raceteknik 74 points
- Anders Michalak SWE Anders Michalak 73 points
- Fraser McConnell JAM Olsbergs MSE 71 points
- Simon Olofsson SWE Simon Olofsson 71 points
- Steve Volders BEL Nationale Renstal Trommelke 69 points
- Sami-Matti Trogen FIN SET Promotion 68 points
- Jimmie Walfridson SWE JC Raceteknik 68 points
- Albert Llovera AND Albert Llovera 64 points