- Belgian dusts off the cobwebs with commanding performance at Nysum
- Krogstad and Kallio lead the chase for coveted crown and eRX2 prize drive
- All of Sunday’s action to be broadcast via global livestream – sign up here!
Former RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires runner-up Guillaume De Ridder produced a commanding performance on his return to the fray at Nysum in Denmark today (5 September), mastering mixed conditions to lead the way in the chase for the coveted crown.
The 2020 RX2 Champion will be rewarded with a fully-funded, single-round drive in next year’s FIA eRX2 Championship – one of the biggest prizes in the sport – resulting in a high-calibre grid and no-holds-barred racing.
Prior to last week, De Ridder had not sat in a rallycross car for nine months, and he had not driven a Supercar Lites car – the basis for RX2 – since the end of 2018. If he was rusty, however, it certainly didn’t show, as the Belgian set the pace in FP1 and followed that up with a stunning run in Q1, leaping into the lead from the outside line of the grid and thereafter showing his pursuers a clean pair of wheels in treacherous conditions.
The Olsbergs MSE ace followed that up with second place in Q2 and a traffic-affected seventh in Q3 to seal second spot in the intermediate standings, tied on points with TQ Simon Olofosson. An early joker lap then paid off handsomely in his semi-final as he jumped team-mate Linus Östlund to triumph, and a similar tactic in the final paved the way to a famous comeback victory that hands him a five-point advantage at the top of the table heading into day two.
“Not bad for an old boy returning to action!” quipped the 27-year-old, who spent last season contesting the FIA World Rallycross Championship with the GCK Academy. “I’ve got to admit, it was a surprise to be so quick and in the groove from the outset. The other guys have been competing all season whereas I’ve been watching the races on the TV all year so I expected it to take me a while to re-adjust, but we were on it right away.
“The conditions kept changing throughout the day, which meant the grip was never the same from one race to the next but I grew up competing in Belgium, so I’m used to a bit of rain! In the final, we adopted the risky strategy of taking an early joker and I lost time behind [Jimmie] Walfridson, but fortunately it paid off in the end. It was a really close fight and fantastic to come out on top. Even when the chequered flag came down, I couldn’t quite believe I’d won.
“There are still some details to work on, like the start which wasn’t my strongest suit today and is an area in which I’m still lacking a little bit of consistency, but we’ll analyse it all overnight. Honestly, if somebody had offered me this result ahead of the weekend, I would have signed up for it straightaway. Now I need to try to do the same tomorrow – if not better…”
Olofsson had the hardest-luck story to tell. The Swede was on feisty form through the qualifiers, and his turn-of-speed was sufficient to secure him TQ honours. From there, the STS RX ace produced another faultless drive to win his semi-final, and he was leading the final until a clash with Krogstad put him out of contention.
The Norwegian – a potent force all day – survived the contact to claim the runner-up spoils, as the #YellowSquad star pushed De Ridder right the way to the flag in the final. The pair were joined on the podium by Jesse Kallio. Still suffering from a wrist injury picked up last time out at Arvika, the Finn flew under the radar somewhat before pulling a strong showing out of the bag to take third place.
Fellow OMSE ace Östlund – another consistent contender throughout – ultimately fell just short of the rostrum in fourth, although the Swede remains well in the reckoning for the main prize. Jimmie Walfridson enjoyed a rapid run for JC Raceteknik on his way to fifth, while Gustav Johansson (VGracing) vaulted up the order after topping the times in Q4 and will surely be one to watch when the action resumes tomorrow (Sunday, 6 September).
To watch all of Sunday’s action via the global, non-geoblocked livestream – starring the ‘Voice of Rallycross’ Andrew Coley, studio host Neil Cole and esteemed British journalist Hal Ridge – click here.
1. Guillaume DE RIDDER (BEL) Olsbergs MSE 5 laps
2. Henrik KROGSTAD (NOR) YellowSquad +0.293s
3. Jesse KALLIO (FIN) Olsbergs MSE +2.165s
4. Linus ÖSTLUND (SWE) Olsbergs MSE +2.789s
5. Jimmie WALFRIDSON (SWE) JC Raceteknik +4.445s
6. Simon OLOFSSON (SWE) STS RX +2 laps
1. Guillaume DE RIDDER (BEL) 29 points
2. Henrik KROGSTAD (NOR) 24 points
3. Simon OLOFSSON (SWE) 23 points
4. Linus ÖSTLUND (SWE) 21 points
5. Jesse KALLIO (FIN) 18 points
6. Jimmie WALFRIDSON (SWE) 17 points
7. Gustav JOHANSSON (SWE) 14 points
8. Martin ENLUND (SWE) 11 points
9. Mats OSKARSSON (SWE) 10 points
10. Hans-Ola FRØSHAUG (NOR) 10 points
11. Niklas ANEKLEV (SWE) 7 points
12. Gregory FOSSE (FRA) 7 points
13. Martin JONSSON (SWE) 4 points
14. Dan SKOČDOPOLE (CZE) 3 points