TITLE DUELLISTS SET THE PACE ON OPENING DAY IN CANADA
Title protagonists Oliver Eriksson and Guillaume De Ridder resumed their season-long scrap for supremacy on the opening day of RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires action in Canada today (4 August), with the Swede narrowly gaining the upper hand to hold the overnight lead.
Eriksson enjoyed two clean runs to soar to the summit of the standings, on a day when several of his competitors came unstuck. De Ridder battled his way grittily through a bruising Q1 to set the early pace, but the Belgian found himself frustrated by traffic in Q2 and forced to concede the overall advantage to his Olsbergs MSE team-mate.
“I needed a confidence lift after missing out on the fastest time in Q1 by barely a tenth-of-a-second,” acknowledged Eriksson. “The key was to get a clean start and then focus on pulling away, and to end up quickest in Q2 by more than two seconds was just the boost I needed.”
JC Raceteknik’s Ben-Philip Gundersen produced a typically fast and feisty performance to place third in the classification heading into day two, with ‘home’ hero Conner Martell on fine form right behind in fourth.
Henrik Krogstad was the comeback kid, recovering from damage that slowed him in Q1 to go second-quickest in Q2 and in so doing vault up the table into fifth, ahead of the consistent Sondre Evjen in sixth.
Jami Kalliomäki showed well in seventh, despite losing time in a particularly lively Q2 race, with countryman and SET Promotion stablemate Sami-Matti Trogen close behind in eighth. Ninth place overnight is the third OMSE car of Cole Keatts, the American teenager enjoying his most competitive weekend in RX2 to-date, with Vasiliy Gryazin (Sports Racing Technologies) overcoming handbrake issues to round out the current top ten.
The remaining semi-final spots at present are occupied by Simon Syversen and Nathan Heathcote, the reigning British Rallycross Champion featuring further up the order on his Trois-Rivières bow until mechanical woes spelt a premature end to his Q2 challenge.
Just outside the top 12 are William Nilsson, Anders Michalak and Albert Llovera, all of whom will be determined to fired-up back on Sunday.
1. Oliver Eriksson SWE 95 points
2. Guillaume De Ridder BEL 90 points
3. Ben-Philip Gundersen NOR 81 points
4. Conner Martell USA 81 points
5. Henrik Krogstad NOR 77 points
6. Sondre Evjen NOR 75 points
7. Jami Kalliomäki FIN 71 points
8. Sami-Matti Trogen FIN 70 points
9. Cole Keatts USA 70 points
10. Vasiliy Gryazin LVA 70 points
11. Simon Syversen NOR 69 points
12. Nathan Heathcote GBR 66 points
13. William Nilsson SWE 65 points
14. Anders Michalak SWE 61 points
15. Albert Llovera AND 60 points