Mon 03 Jul 2023

Inspired Isaksætre ignites Euro RX3 title fight at Höljes

Espen Isaksætre has set up an intriguing end to the 2023 Euro RX3 campaign after registering his maiden victory on ‘home’ soil at Höljes.

Espen Isaksætre has set up an intriguing end to the 2023 Euro RX3 campaign after finally registering his maiden FIA European Rallycross Championship victory on ‘home’ soil at Höljes yesterday (2 July).

Isaksætre might be Norwegian, but hailing from Flisa, Höljes is very much his local circuit – and the ‘Magic Weekend’ is the event that all drivers truly aspire to win.

The Volland Racing star was the pace-setter from the outset in Sweden’s Värmland region, only narrowly missing out on a clean sweep of fastest times during the heats – although in the rain, the semi-final and final proved to be a touch less straightforward.

A scrappy semi-final saw Isaksætre lose out to team-mate João Ribeiro, demoting him to the second row of the grid for the all-important final. That, though, would turn out to be something of a blessing in disguise, as on the wet track surface, front row sitters João Ribeiro and Martin Kjær struggled for traction at the start and Isaksætre sliced neatly between them to immediately seize the initiative.

Despite briefly running off-track after landing from the jump later around the opening lap, he would thereafter never be threatened, going on to take the chequered flag more than three seconds clear of Damian Litwinowicz to cut the Pole’s championship lead to just five points, with one round left to run at Germany’s Estering next month (19-20 August).

“I can’t believe it,” the 29-year-old said afterwards, fighting back tears. “I live only an hour away from here and I’ve been coming to Höljes since I was a small kid. Thank you to my family, my sponsors and everybody who has helped me so much on this journey – we’ve been working so hard for this since I started racing 15 years ago. This is so special.”

Behind Litwinowicz, Jens Hvaal narrowly pipped Audi duo Ribeiro and Nils Volland to third place to seal his first rostrum result of the season, with the Portuguese ace left to rue a mid-distance spin that cost him the runner-up spoils. Kjær completed the final finishers in sixth.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM