Fri 02 Jun 2023

Marklund hoping to ‘get the old lady properly singing’ in Portugal

For Anton Marklund, the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser in Hungary five weeks ago did not go entirely to plan, but the defending champion is hopeful of converting his Ford Fiesta’s palpable potential into the top step of the podium in Portugal this weekend (3-4 June).

For Anton Marklund, the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship curtain-raiser in Hungary five weeks ago did not go entirely to plan, but the defending champion is hopeful of converting his Ford Fiesta’s palpable potential into the top step of the podium in Portugal this weekend (3-4 June).

Marklund headed to Nyirád unsure of his prospects, with the Fiesta – notwithstanding a raft of recent updates by the SET Promotion squad – being significantly older than many of its rivals in the fiercely-disputed, 19-strong Euro RX1 field.

He need not have worried. By the end of the second free practice session, the Swede was the best part of four tenths-of-a-second quicker than anybody else, and he won the opening heat at a canter. He defied the ever-improving track conditions to punch in a competitive fifth-fastest time early on in heat two, but then, disaster struck.

After finding himself tagged into a half-spin on the exit of Turn One in heat three, Marklund was collected broadside by an unsighted Sivert Svardal. The damage was enough to rule him out of heat four, but a herculean effort by the SET Promotion crew got him back on-track in time for the semi-finals, for which he had narrowly qualified by dint of his earlier results.

From there, the 30-year-old dug deep to haul himself into the final, going on to take the chequered flag second to seal the runner-up spoils. He is hoping for a cleaner run at Montalegre, where he clinched his third career crown last September – albeit following another less-than-straightforward weekend...

“We went to Hungary with the mission to win but we lost, so now we need to work even harder,” Marklund reflected. “I think there are a lot of potential race-winners in Euro RX1 this year, so it will be very tough and there will be a lot of action. The others certainly aren’t going to make my life easy, so let’s try to get the old lady properly singing in Portugal...”

“If you look at the pace we had at Nyirád, it was quite a promising weekend,” added SET Promotion Team Manager, Aleksi Koskinen. “Every time we were on-track we were quick and, in that way, going from a bare chassis three weeks before Hungary to setting very good lap times was very good. Portugal can be good too; Anton likes the track and I think the Fiesta can be good here, so we’re looking forward to it!”

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM