Driver

MARKLUND TO THE TOP AS EURO RX BATTLE HEATS UP

As Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb romped to victory in the World RX of Belgium at Mettet last weekend, Sweden’s Anton Marklund won the second round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar.

Norway’s Ben-Philip Gundersen won the RX2 International Series season-opener and Sweden’s Fredrick Salsten claimed first blood in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for TouringCar.

Reigning RX2 Champion Cyril Raymond dominated qualifying in Euro RX Supercar, quickest in three of the four qualifiers to be TQ (Top Qualifier) in the Intermediate Classification driving a Peugeot 208 WRX. 

The Frenchman, making his first appearance of the season, went on to win semi-final one as Championship leader Reinis Nitiss won semi-final two to start on the front row of the final.

But, at the start of the final it was reigning Champion Anton Marklund who jumped into the lead from the second row, as Nitiss was hampered by a problem and Raymond made a slow getaway. Fifth on the first lap, Nitiss used an early joker to climb up to second by the finish but couldn’t overhaul Marklund. Raymond battled back to third on his debut in the class.

In his first season in Supercar, Denmark’s Ulrik Linnemann moved up to third in the points with another fifth place finish, multiple Swedish Rallycross Champion Peter Hedstrom finishing just ahead of the Dane in a similar Volkswagen Polo in fourth. Former TouringCar front-runner Anders Braten was spun at the first corner but recovered to finish sixth in an Eklund Motorsport Volkswagen Beetle.

Third at round one, France’s Jean-Baptiste Dubourg just missed a place in the semi-finals and for the second event in a row, 2017 Euro RX runner-up Thomas Bryntesson didn’t make the final after he was spun at the first corner of semi-final two.

Former Euro RX TouringCar Champion Ben-Philip Gundersen got his first full season in the RX2 International Series off to the best possible start by scoring victory in round one. 

The Norwegian driver survived a dramatic first corner, where pole position starter Vasily Gryazin was forced out after contact with Finland’s Jami Kalliomaki. Kalliomaki led for the first two laps on his debut but spun out of the running with a broken driveshaft and was later disqualified for the turn one incident. 

His exit allowed Gundersen to take his joker on lap three and control the race from the front, scoring victory ahead of JC Raceteknik team mates Sondre Evjen and Henrik Krogstad. Category front-runner Oliver Eriksson and Guillaume De Ridder went out in the semi-finals. 

In the first round of the Euro RX TouringCar Championship, former Champion Fredrik Salsten beat Belgium’s Steve Volders to the finish line, Volders having been TQ in the Intermediate Classification. Sweden’s Daniel Lundh completed the podium.

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