August 12, 2022

Anton Marklund went two out of two in the 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship at Höljes today (July 3), benefiting from a post-event disqualification for road winner Oliver Solberg to extend his advantage to the top of the ranking.

The build-up to the legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ may have been dedicated to the box office stars of the event – four-time FIA ​​World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson, reigning Euro RX1 title winner Andreas Bakkerud and Solberg, protagonist of the FIA ​​World Rally Championship – but he was championship leader Marklund who overtook them all throughout the elimination races to secure the top spot in the intermediate standings as the Swede proceeded in his usual calm, unflappable fashion and super fast.


From there, the winner from Nyirád dominated his progression run and was comfortably managing the pace in the first semi-final when a late puncture dropped him behind Bakkerud. As his compatriot Anders Michalak stalked him, he stubbornly clung to a place in the final by just a third of a second.

This meant that instead of starting the final race of the weekend from pole position, he started from the middle of the grid, coming out of turn two in second place behind Solberg. A first-lap wild card from Kristoffersson forced the Hedströms Motorsport driver into an immediate response, and as he rejoined the main track the pair made contact that sent the two sideways, forcing them to call on everything their famous car control to straighten up.

After a brief stint at the front of the pack, Marklund’s own joker dropped him to third place, but he had already received a healthy dose of luck when a puncture for Kristoffersson knocked the KMS ace out of the line. battle for the podium. Another late twist in the story then saw Bakkerud succumb to a failed suspension on the penultimate tour, lifting his SET Promotion rival to second, who would become first when Solberg was subsequently disqualified for a protection of non-compliant underbody on his Hyundai i20.


“Obviously you never want to win that way, and I’m really sorry for Oliver because he drove amazing all weekend,” Marklund said. “I know the heartbreak he is feeling at the moment, as I lost what would have been my first World RX victory in Norway in 2017 due to a technical infraction, but that’s how it is and the result is obviously very positive for the championship for us.

“To be second overall on Saturday was great enough, but then to go fastest in moto three and top the standings in such a strong field was fantastic – and it was great to see so many fans back.

“Here in Höljes there is always a lot of drama. I was hoping not to be hit, but in the semi-finals, I punctured and I had to fight to hold the last two laps. In the final I then completely overshot the jump on the first lap and after that the front of my car wasn’t quite as it should be. I couldn’t keep pace with Oliver, but I got lucky with the other guys who were in trouble and we ended up winning. Hopefully we can now capitalize on this momentum for the rest of the year.


Marklund’s second straight win this season saw him extend his margin at the top of the title table by four points to 18. Second place in the final went to Jean Baptiste ‘JB’ Dubourg, who really battled his Scandinavian opponents and – like the winner – survived a late puncture in the semi-finals. Despite failing to finish, Bakkerud placed third.

FIRST WINNERS SHINE IN SUPPORT SERIES

In Euro RX3, rising star Marius Solberg Hansen produced a sensational performance to defeat championship leader Kobe Pauwels for a wildly popular triumph in only his second outing in the series.

After pushing the winner from Nyirád hard during the heats, Solberg Hansen – who received the prestigious Petter Solberg Scholarship last year – dominated his progress race, withstood the threat of Damian Litwinowicz in the second semi-final and took then led the all-important flag-light final.


Pauwels – who felt he was lacking pace on opening day – came out fighting on Sunday and came close to winning two in as many rounds this season, but the second-placed spoils still allowed him more clearance in the pursuit of the coveted crown. The Belgian’s closest challenger now is João Ribeiro – who again reached the stand in third – as Jan Černý found himself spat into the gravel and knocked out at the start of his semi-final.

Under the tutelage of last year’s champion Guillaume De Ridder, Belgian prodigy Viktor Vranckx made a successful start to his FIA RX2e Championship career at Höljes. The teenager – still just 16 – set the pace all weekend and held off local hero Nils Andersson in the final for a dazzling debut success in the all-electric single-species series.

Isak Sjökvist made two Swedes on the podium in third, while Patrick O’Donovan – the driver who looked most likely to challenge Vranckx for first place – saw his bid end in the semi-finals when miscommunication left him caused the joker trick to be missed, excluding him from the final.