Andreas Bakkerud kept the Monster Energy RX Cartel’s winning run going in Nitro Rallycross, winning the second round of the season at Strängnäs Motorstadion ahead of team-mate Robin Larsson.
The reigning European champion made the best start in the final, bettering polesitter Oliver Eriksson into turn one, while Larsson had to resist early pressure from Kris Meeke.
With battle bracket winner Eriksson soon retiring with a puncture after contact with Bakkerud on the opening lap, Larsson – racing just weeks after a scary workshop accident with an angle grinder – inherited second while third was snatched by four-time World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson who made an excellent start from the back row of the grid.
Larsson kept the pressure on Bakkerud throughout the next three laps until he jokered on lap four. Kristoffersson went with him, but faced a challenge from Fraser McConnell on the merge.
McConnell had taken the longer route the lap prior, and while both were equal on Kristoffersson’s merge, rubbing doors into turn one, Kristoffersson – making a one-off Nitro RX appearance – defended resolutely to retain third.
Bakkerud meanwhile waited until lap five of six to joker, and made the most of the clear air afforded by the strategy to take a comfortable win, 1.963 seconds ahead of Larsson – a reversal of the round one result.
Kristoffersson and McConnell crossed the line third and fourth respectively, with Oe Christian Veiby fifth to ensure a top-five lockout by the Dreyer & Reinbold JC operation.
Vermont SportsCar’s Conner Martell was the final finisher in sixth, with Eriksson and Meeke – who also punctured – not classified.
For Eriksson, the retirement came after what had been a near-perfect weekend so far. He won the battle bracket on Saturday, before adding a heat win on Sunday.
Bakkerud’s charge to victory began with a win in the other heat, while Larsson and Meeke graduated by winning their semifinals, McConnell and Veiby taking second in each respectively.
The last chance qualifier went the way of Kristoffersson, who had to fight through the race after sustaining a puncture in the semifinals. He led home Martell who narrowly beat team-mate Travis Pastrana to the line, Pastrana having contended with steering issues throughout the day.
In Supercars, a time penalty prevented Fraser McConnell from completing a clean sweep of European wins in the category.
Contesting his final Supercar race of the season, McConnell and Yury Belevskiy rubbed into turn one; McConnell prevailing and holding onto the lead for the remainder of the race.
However, after clipping a track marker, he was handed a three-second penalty, dropping him to second behind Belevskiy.
Gustav Bergström was third, ahead of Patrick O’Donovan while Per Eklund failed to finish.
Tommi Hallman became the first two-time winner of the NRX Next campaign, leading home Mattis Jansson and George Megennis.
Mattis Jansson led into turn one with Megennis looking up the inside but settling for third. Hallman jokered early in a bid to get by Jansson, who took the longer route on the penultimate lap.
The strategy looked to have failed, with Jansson staying ahead of Hallman, until he ran wide into turn one on the final lap. A spin at turn two compounded the loss, and collected Megennis giving Hallman a clear run to the flag.
Casper Jansson took second after jokering on the final lap, with Megennis hanging on for third.
Sebastian Enholm won the second CrossCar final of the weekend, going one better than his Saturday result. Jimmie Österberg and Pasi Penttinen completed the podium in that category.