ERIKSSON STAYS ON TOP AFTER HÖLJES 'ROLLERCOASTER RIDE'
Oliver Eriksson admitted he was lucky and unlucky in equal measure on home turf in Sweden last weekend (29 June – 1 July), as he overcame a double dose of misfortune to retain the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires championship lead heading into the mid-summer break.
Eriksson arrived at Höljes holding a nine-point advantage at the top of the title table, following victory at Silverstone and the runner-up spot in Hell. The Olsbergs MSE star was once again firmly in the mix throughout the qualifying stages, and recovered well from first corner contact that delayed him in Q2 to battle back to fourth in the Intermediate Classification – in so doing earning himself a front row start for the second of the semi-finals.
From there, the 19-year-old blasted past pole-sitter Christian Brooks away from the lights and went on to withstand the threat posed by Henrik Krogstad to line up alongside OMSE team-mate Guillaume De Ridder in the all-important final. Eriksson shadowed the Belgian until darting for the joker on lap four of the six-lap contest, but just moments later, he dramatically slowed when his car got stuck in gear, causing him to fall to the back of the pack.
The Swede successfully resolved the issue and benefitted from a last corner clash just ahead to opportunistically steal fourth position at the chequered flag, meaning he will enter the second half of the season – beginning at Trois-Rivières in Canada on 4/5 August – still at the summit of the standings, albeit now by a reduced margin of six points ahead of new second-placed man De Ridder. He acknowledged that it had been an eventful few laps.
“It was certainly intense!” Eriksson reflected. “We were unlucky and lucky all in the same race. I got a decent start in the final; I knew Krogstad was coming up on the outside, but Guillaume and I were able to block him off while leaving each other enough room, so that all went to plan.
“I was determined to beat Guillaume and opted to take an earlier joker to try to get the undercut. I felt like I had a chance, but coming out of the Velodrome on lap four, the gear lever stuck. By the time I’d figured out what the problem was, everyone had gone past me.
“Then there was obviously the last corner carnage, which I fortunately managed to dodge and the extra points I gained there could prove to be very important come season’s end. To go from battling for the win to last place to almost finishing on the podium – all in the space of barely two laps – was a pretty crazy rollercoaster ride, but that’s Höljes!”