Oliver Eriksson achieved a long-held goal of becoming RallyX Nordic champion in the final round at Nysum, where event victory went to Ben-Philip Gundersen.
Olsbergs MSE driver Eriksson and JC Raceteknik’s Gunderson were the two to beat in Denmark, and it was Gundersen who started from first place in the final, with Eriksson alongside him on the front row and DirtFish-backed Fraser McConnell and Ulrik Linnemann behind.
Eriksson got the best start, and it really was deserving of a superlative, as he kept the throttle open and put his car sideways on the outside to not only sweep into the lead but leave everyone else in a cloud of dust.
Gundersen was one of those caught out by this maneuver and he was shuffled down the order to fourth. Knowing he needed to be at Eriksson’s pace rather than that of the drivers around him, Gundersson opted to take the joker on lap two.
Meanwhile at the front Eriksson was under pressure from Linnemann, but that challenge ended when the privateer slowed with right-rear damage – promoting Gundersen to third. The leader took his joker on lap four of five, and he exited from the longer route behind Audi S1-driving Gundersen.
McConnell was now in the lead, and in search of a first Supercar win in rallycross, and when he jokered on the last lap he emerged right behind Eriksson. On the bridge just after the joker exit, McConnell drew alongside Eriksson and made side-on contact, which helped him get ahead into second place before the heavy braking zone as the lap returned to asphalt.
It was an impressive job by both Gundersen and DirtFish-backed McConnell to finish in first and second after being behind Eriksson on the opening lap, but it turned out all was not as it seemed for Ford Fiesta driver Eriksson. The two-time RX2 champion had picked up a puncture on the second lap and cradled it through the rest of the race.
While he didn’t relinquish second place easily, he admitted post-race that his team had been on the radio asking him not to fight any harder than he had to to avoid the puncture leading to further damage to his car.
The result had no implications either, as he scored enough points to clinch the title before the semifinals.
McConnell moved past the absent Johan Kristoffersson to clinch runner-up spot in the Nordic standings with his second-place finish, while Gundersen came just short of surpassing two-time World RX champion Kristoffersson’s points tally.
Stene Johansen and Dan Öberg were the other two finishers in the final, but had fairly quiet races and weren’t in contention for tit
The final wasn’t the only time Gundersen took a convincing win ahead of Eriksson during the round, the two having gone up against each other in the very first qualifying heat. Gundersen ended that race half a minute ahead of Eriksson, who spun twice through unforced errors, and it was McConnell who finished second.
Gundersen then defeated McConnell again in their Q2 heat, while Eriksson rebounded with a dominant win in his heat race. It was another Gundersen success in Q3 when he was up against Eriksson again. McConnell and Öberg won the other Q3 heat races.
The gravel sections of the track were given the artificial rain treatment before each semifinal, but it had no effect on the results, and Gundersen and Eriksson earned their front row spots by winning a semifinal race each.