Tue 25 Jul 2023

Sjökvist: The pressure is on them, not me!

Isak Sjökvist has shrugged off the disappointment of failing to reach the final for the first time in RX2e at Lydden Hill, warning his rivals that he is relishing the challenge of being the hunter rather than the hunted...

Following victory in Hell and third place on home soil at Höljes, Sjökvist arrived in Britain holding a five-point lead at the summit of the standings in the single-make FIA World Rallycross Championship feeder series.

After lapping third-fastest in qualifying practice, a mistake in the joker in heat one dropped the #YellowSquad star behind Team E duo Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Nils Andersson on the track, but he bounced back with the fourth-best time in wet conditions in heat two.

The next day, he found his charge thwarted by ‘Magic Weekend’ winner Ole Henry Steinsholt, and he similarly spent much of heat four staring at the Norwegian’s rear bumper, before finding a way past late on to go third-quickest in the session.

That left Sjökvist fifth in the intermediate classification, but from third on the grid in the first semi-final, he spied an opportunity on the opening tour to dive up the inside of Viktor Vranckx, who had himself tried his luck around the outside of Tommi Hallman.

Contact ensued, and while the Swede came out ahead of Vranckx in second, it was soon apparent that all was not well with his car and he duly pulled off a lap later with broken rear suspension. The misfortune has dropped him to third position in the chase for the coveted crown, albeit only a single point adrift of the lead with two rounds remaining on the calendar – and he makes it clear that he will not go down without a fight.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result we expected,” Sjökvist acknowledged. “We had good pace and we put everything into it, but it was not to be. I tried to cut inside Viktor [Vranckx] in the semi-final, but with water on the track, it got really slippery for everyone and we clashed side-to-side in what we must call a racing incident.

“It wasn’t a hard hit, but I felt straightaway that something was bent at the rear. I was able to complete the first lap but then it became clear that it would be better to pull off and save the car.

“We’re still in a strong position in the championship and there is a long way to go this season, with everything to play for – nothing is decided yet. We need to get our horns out in the next races, and I’m going to hunt Nils [Andersson] and Viktor as much as I can! The pressure is on them, not me...”

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