Sun 18 Jun 2023

Sjökvist wins as Åhlin-Kottulinsky stars in RX2e opener

Isak Sjökvist drew first blood in the battle for RX2e glory in Hell, as Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky starred with a podium finish on her debut...

Isak Sjökvist drew first blood in the battle for 2023 FIA RX2e Championship glory in Hell today (18 June), pipping countryman Nils Andersson to victory at World RX of Norway, as Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky starred with a podium finish on her series debut.

Competing for Hansen Motorsport junior outfit #YellowSquad, Sjökvist – last season’s runner-up in the all-electric, single-spec FIA World Rallycross Championship support series – dominated the opening two heats around the Lånkebanen circuit. He found himself delayed by a start-line accident not of his own making in heat three before having to give best to Andersson in heat four, but in his semi-final and the all-important final, the Swede was never headed.

“This feels amazing,” Sjökvist enthused. “I’m incredibly proud of our team. It’s a new level for me with #YellowSquad. Even if we have the Hansens behind us, we came here as a new team and we absolutely smashed it. My car was a rocket. There’s obviously still a long way to go, but it feels great to win the first round and it will be amazing to go to Höljes as championship leader.”

Andersson replicated his runner-up finish from Hell last year, with Team E stablemate Åhlin-Kottulinsky – competing in RX2e for the first time – impressing weekend-long, comfortably keeping pace with the series regulars and fully deserving her rostrum result.

Pablo Suárez took the chequered flag fourth in the final, ahead of reigning Extreme E Champion Cristina Gutiérrez – like Åhlin-Kottulinsky, making her maiden appearance in the field – and Filip Thorén, who hit the wall on the first lap.

Defending title-holder Viktor Vranckx endured a torrid start to the campaign, struggling to keep pace with Sjökvist and Andersson, retiring from heat three due to damage sustained in the aforementioned start-line shunt and then spinning out of second place in his semi-final.

Catie Munnings similarly saw her challenge end at the semi-final stage, but not before turning heads with her impressive raw pace. After winning her race in heat three, the British #YellowSquad driver showed speed to rival Andersson and Sjökvist in heat four, but her bid to advance to the final came undone when she clashed spectacularly with Ole Henry Steinsholt at the joker exit.

The 2023 RX2e campaign continues with round two at Höljes in Sweden on 1-2 July.

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