Fri 07 Jul 2023

Andersson was ‘almost touching the dream’

Having done everything right, Nils Andersson looked set to take his maiden RX2e victory at Höljes last Sunday, but then one small error dashed his ‘Magic Weekend’ dream...

Having done everything right, Nils Andersson looked set to take his maiden FIA RX2e Championship victory at Höljes last Sunday (2 July), but then one small error left him pointing in the wrong direction and dashed his ‘Magic Weekend’ dream...

After pushing Isak Sjökvist all the way in the Hell curtain-raiser a fortnight earlier, Andersson had just one goal heading to Höljes. A close fight with both his countryman and defending champion Viktor Vranckx in heat one yielded the third-fastest time, which the Team E ace replicated in heat two as he split his fellow title hopefuls.

Heat three proved to be a similar affair, with little to separate the crown-chasing trio, before the second-quickest run on a wet track in heat four on Sunday morning secured Andersson the same position in the intermediate classification behind Vranckx.

From pole position in his semi-final, the Arvika native confidently fended off Sjökvist for a lights-to-flag success, earning him a front row grid slot for the all-important final.

Andersson subsequently out-gunned pole-sitter Vranckx at the start, only to slide wide through Turn One and skate across the sand. That dropped him to third, but he made short work of displacing team-mate Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky going down the hill on the opening lap prior to setting his sights on Vranckx.

When the Belgian jokered on lap three to cover off Sjökvist, Andersson was released, and with Vranckx stuck behind the sister Team E car, the new leader was able to stretch his legs. After taking his own joker on the last lap, the Swede rejoined still at the head of the pack, but a mistake in the following corner saw him run wide and allowed Vranckx and Ole Henry Steinsholt to draw alongside.

Contact was all-but inevitable, and it was Andersson who came off worse, being sent into a spin that relegated him from first to fifth in the blink of an eye – costing him a breakthrough RX2e triumph as well as the championship lead.

“It’s so frustrating,” the 23-year-old rued. “I was almost touching the dream I had to win at Höljes in RX2e, but maybe that was a bit too much. I braked a bit too hard into the corner after exiting the joker and locked up both axles. I tried to use a bit of handbrake to rotate the car, but it was way too late and I skidded off all the way to the left of the corner.

“Viktor [Vranckx] came up on the inside, but the problem was Steinsholt then came up the inside of him. Viktor tried to let go and not push me wide, but Steinsholt just took me out.

“I feel really proud to have got to the front in such a competitive field, and I was really happy to show the pace we had for two-and-a-half laps at least – even if that makes it suck even more because I knew we had it. I learnt a lot from the weekend, and while the final result really hurts, hopefully I will be able to take something positive from it moving forward.”

The 2023 RX2e campaign continues with round three at Lydden Hill in the UK on 22-23 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