Robin Larsson pulled off an upset to beat Johan Kristoffersson by 0.662 seconds in the first Supercar round at RallyX Nordic’s Magic Weekend.
After sweeping qualifying and winning his semi-final, Niclas Grönholm started the final from pole, but it was Audi driver Larsson who made the better getaway to lead into the first corner.
Grönholm, driving the latest-spec Hyundai i20, kept on the tail of Larsson though, and had a look up the inside at Velodrome corner, but the Swede held his nerve.
Grönholm continued to pile the pressure on Larsson, but couldn’t find a way past the reigning European Rallycross Champion, and when both opted to take the joker on lap four of the five-lap final, he lost further ground as he was passed by a recovering Kristoffersson.
The two-time World Rallycross Champion had dropped to the tail end of the field at the start, and elected to get his joker out of the way early. From there he capitalized on the clear air to set a strong run of lap times and reel the leaders in.
While he was able to overhaul Grönholm when the Finn jokered on the penultimate lap, he was unable to overhaul Larsson. Grönholm did however keep hold of third, beating Citroën driver Oliver Solberg.
Solberg jokered a lap after Kristoffersson in a bid to keep the Volkswagen driver behind him, but the strategy failed to pay off and he spent much of the race outside the podium positions.
Euro RX frontrunner Thomas Bryntesson finished fifth, after jokering from the lead on the final lap. He moved to the fore by virtue of his rivals’ earlier jokers, and despite a solid run, was never truly in contention for the win.
Pontus Tidemand rounded out the field – his position in the race was subject to a lengthy pause before the action got underway. The Swede was elevated to a final berth as a pass after contact from Lukas Walfridson was deemed to be unsporting. Walfridson appealed the decision, with the ruling eventually being upheld.
Among the others joining Walfridson on the sidelines after the semi-finals, in which the top two drivers from each of the three races advanced, were Olsbergs MSE pairing Oliver Eriksson (who was hampered by a puncture) and Supercars debutant Fraser McConnell.
Ben-Philip Gundersen, who had starred on his Supercar debut, looked set to claim the second transfer spot from the second semi-final until an electric issue in the dying moments of the race ended his hopes of a final berth. He rolled across the line to finish that race fourth, behind Brytesson, who advanced, and Enzo Ide.