Fraser McConnell’s hopes of a first rallycross win in a Supercar were ended by a driveshaft failure of the penultimate round of RallyX Nordic at Nysum.
DirtFish-backed driver McConnell had made a fantastic start to the Supercar final, passing Ben-Philip Gundersen at the inside of the first turn and then disposing of Ulrik Linnemann around the outside of turn two.
But contact during the pass on Linnemann broke the front driveshaft on his Ford Fiesta, pitching him into a spin from which he retired.
“At the apex of turn two, right before the entry, I had some contact with Linnemann, and that was just enough to break the driveshaft and put it into two-wheel drive,” McConnell told DirtFish.
“It went to rear-wheel-drive and coming over the crest with 600bhp going through the rear wheels isn’t so easy to control!
“So that sent me off the track and my spotter just told me to park it because it was broken.”
With previous points leader Johan Kristoffersson skipping the last two rounds of the RX Nordic season, Olsbergs MSE duo Oliver Eriksson and McConnell went into the final weekend of the season nine points apart as the main title contenders.
Unlike Eriksson, who has years of experience in the Nordic series and has driven Supercars in various series since 2017, this was McConnell’s first time at Nysum, and his third event in a Supercar.
Rainfall on Saturday morning left the track wet during most of qualifying, something McConnell felt had helped narrow the experience gap to his Olsbergs stablemate.
“There’s only one way you can drive it in the wet; just rotate around the corners as neat as you can,” explained McConnell.
“But when it’s a fast track like this, we’re going 185km/h [115mph] down the straight, so to nail that braking on gravel is difficult.
“You can easily lose up to a second, if not more, under braking at this track.
“So to have it on the wet and everyone is braking cautiously, that gives me more time to adjust to the new track.”
Though Eriksson was a clear pre-event favourite for the title, McConnell still felt he had a good chance to battle for the Supercar title going into this weekend, though that target has become more difficult to reach after his retirement from the final on Saturday.
“We were only nine points off Oliver in the championship standings and I had the belief in myself that I could and still can challenge for the win in the championship,” said McConnell.
“Anything can happen. He has a decent amount of points lead on me now but second in a Supercar championship isn’t too bad.”
McConnell’s original 2020 plan involved a run at the RX2 title, which was originally set to feature on the support bill of World RX.
Now RX2 is taking place as a winner-takes-all shootout at Nysum, with the top scorer winning a prize drive in the new eRX2 series which replaces RX2 next year, McConnell could only do one category or the other and elected to stick with Supercar.
“Everything is switching to electric eventually – well, hopefully – and those cars will for sure be faster.
“Honing my skills as a driver [and] becoming more diverse with the beast of a Supercar has definitely improved my driving this year.
“It’s hard to pass up a Supercar drive when you’re given the option between the two.”
McConnell is 19 points behind Eriksson with 30 available on Sunday, while he needs to score 15 points on Sunday to surpass Kristoffersson for second in the standings.