The World Rallycross Championship-supporting RX2 series may have been relegated to a single weekend event this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but success in rallycross’s second tier in 2020 carried no less weight.
In clinching the RX2 title – and with it the RallyX Nordic Lites crown – Henrik Krogstad joins an elite club of champions at Lites level, and it will surely be the stepping stone for even greater things further down the line.
Here we take a look back at previous Lites champions to give a peek at what could be next for Krogstad.
2014: Kevin Eriksson
Kevin Eriksson wasn’t the very first Lites champion (we’ll get to that later), but he was the first to win what is now RX2.
One of just two drivers to see out the full 2014 season, that proved to be a huge benefit for him as second placed Kevin Hansen – who missed the opening two rounds – arguably had a better year, and Eriksson’s first win didn’t arrive until round four in Sweden.
Since then, Eriksson has had a solid career racing Supercars. He won the 2016 World RX of Germany with a now-legendary around-the-outside pass of almost the entire grid near the end of the first of his three full World RX campaigns. He also made a one-off appearance in Global Rallycross driving a Honda Civic Coupe in Atlantic City in 2016.
He hasn’t raced full-time since 2018 however; his most recent outing coming in the 2019 TitansRX finale at Estering where he qualified for the final twice across both days, finishing on the podium in the second.
2015: Kevin Hansen
After a solid debut Lites season in 2014, Kevin Hansen returned for a full assault in 2015. He only won once, but finished on the podium in every single round. That consistency proved key to him beating Thomas Bryntesson, who missed the final in the season finale.
Nowadays Kevin Hansen is one of the world’s top rallycross drivers. A race winner in World RX, he also won the inaugural TitansRX series in 2019, as well as emulating his World Champion brother by winning the Nitro Rallycross competition at the Nitro World Games in Utah at his very first attempt.
He’s also somewhat unique among the drivers on this list, being the only driver to run his own Lites team right now, and the only driver to win RX2 as both a driver and a team boss. It was his YellowSquad outfit that took Krogstad to this year’s title.
2016 & ’17: Cyril Raymond
Frenchman Cyril Raymond was not only the first Lites Champion in Europe to not hail from Scandinavia, but he was also the first double champion. He pulled off the feat in fine fashion too, winning twice in 2016, before winning all but one race in 2017 – the first year of the RX2 designation.
While winning in Europe, Raymond also clinched the 2017 GRC Lites title, winning six from 12 rounds to beat chief rival Christian Brooks by almost 100 points.
More recently Raymond contested the 2019 World RX season for GC Kompetition in a Renault Clio R.S. RX, but was unable to replicate his Lites form in the main game. He’s since expressed an interest in competing in European Rallycross or Projekt E but so far in 2020 he’s remained on the sidelines.
2018 & ’19: Oliver Eriksson
The second double champion and the second to hail from the Eriksson dynasty, which of course is also responsible for the production of the SuperCar Lites machine through the family’s Olsbergs MSE team, is Oliver Eriksson.
Eriksson’s back-to-back RX2 titles came after he won the equivalent GRC Lites title in 2015, where he beat Austin Cindric, now a NASCAR race-winner, to the top spot. In 2018 he diced with Guillaume De Ridder – who returned to RX2 last weekend after a year in World RX – while in 2019 he bettered Ben-Philip Gundersen over the course of the year.
Alongside Lites, Eriksson has been a regular in Supercars for quite some time. He ran the full 2017 GRC season for the factory-backed Olsbergs Honda team, taking a best result of fourth at Lucas Oil Raceway. He’s also competed in the top level of RallyX Nordic, narrowly missing out on last year’s title but making up for it last weekend to take the 2020 crown. He also currently leads the European Rallycross standings after one round.
But he hasn’t totally left Lites behind as Eriksson is serving as the test driver for the new eRX2 series, which will replace RX2 on the World RX bill in 2021.
While the 2015 and 2017 US champions Eriksson and Raymond also won at Lites level in Europe, the tier has nurtured a number of rising stars stateside too.
In 2013 RX Lites made its debut as a support category for GRC and that year Joni Wiman took a clean sweep of six wins to beat Olsbergs team-mate Sebastian Eriksson to the title. Strangely, when he followed that up with the Supercars title the next year he didn’t win a single round. He remained in GRC for a further two seasons, and has since made cameo appearances in World RX and Americas Rallycross, but hasn’t ran a full season since 2016.
Wiman’s successor Mitchell deJong came close to emulating him in 2014, winning all but two races and finishing second in those two. He had to wait until 2016 to make his debut in GRC’s top tier after his 2015 deal fell through, competing in the final two rounds of the season. He returned for a full season in 2017, and has since gone on to become one of the world’s best sim racers.
Cabot Bigham only won twice during the 2016 GRC Lites season, but the second of those victories came in the season finale, and was enough to beat Oliver Eriksson to the title – and give Dreyer & Reinbold Racing its first rallycross title, breaking Olsbergs’ stranglehold on Lites in the US.
After a tough first Supercar season with Bryan Herta Rallysport in 2017, Bigham dropped back to Lites for the 2018 Americas Rallycross season, before returning to Supercars in 2019 with Andretti Autosport. He claimed a popular first top-level podium in Trois-Rivières during that season.
DirtFish driver Conner Martell was the 2018 Lites champion in America, winning the first ARX2 title after a fantastic season-long battle with Brooks. He also beat Alex Keyes, who, after a slow start, won twice at the end of the season.
Martell raced in RX2 in 2018 too but returned to ARX2 with DRR for a partial schedule in 2019. He’s also dovetailed his racing with the odd rally outing with Vermont SportsCar.
The final US Lites champion was another DirtFish driver, Fraser McConnell. After impressing during his debut season in 2018, McConnell won five from nine races to comfortably beat Cole Keatts to the title. Since then he’s gone on to compete in RallyX Nordic’s Supercar championship, where he went into last weekend’s season finale with a shot at the title but fell short.