Fri 18 Aug 2023

Title contenders ready for high-stakes finale in Germany

The FIA RX2e Championship is set for a high-stakes Swedish showdown at Germany’s Estering this weekend, as Nils Andersson, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Isak Sjökvist go toe-to-toe for title glory...

The FIA RX2e Championship is set for a high-stakes Swedish showdown at Germany’s Estering this weekend (19-20 August), as Nils Andersson, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Isak Sjökvist prepare to go toe-to-toe for title glory in the FIA World Rallycross Championship feeder series.

Just five points cover the pace-setting trio at the summit of the standings following the opening four rounds of the 2023 campaign. Andersson currently leads the way, but despite showing strong speed this year, the Team E ace is surprisingly still chasing the first win of his RX2e career. Should he finally break his duck this weekend, the championship will be his.

“I’m feeling really excited,” the 23-year-old revealed. “It will be a fun weekend, with everything to play for until Sunday afternoon. There are a lot of races to get through to be champion, and it will be important to take every session one at a time and not think too much about the bigger picture – it’s all about micro-steps.  

“We’ve only been on the podium once this season, but we’ve had the pace at every event. The margins are next-to-nothing and it’s going to be a tough fight. It will be the first one of us that crosses the finish line on Sunday, I would say, that takes the title.”

Andersson’s closest competitor in the chase for the crown is Team E stablemate Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who might be short on rallycross experience compared to her two countrymen, but who catapulted herself firmly into contention with a superb second place to guesting multiple world champion Johan Kristoffersson last time out in Belgium.

“First of all, I’m just happy to be here,” the Karlstad native enthused. “I only initially signed up for the first three rounds and I didn’t expect to be fighting for the top positions like this when I came into RX2e, but we made it to Belgium and after that, I needed to find a way to come to Germany as well, to at least give myself the chance.

“In the end, to win a championship, it’s all the small things you need to learn and I’ve already learnt so much this season. Pretty much every track has been new to me, and this one looks to be quite drift-style, which will be a challenge, but that’s why I’m here – I want to stay in rallycross for the long haul. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this sport, it’s that anything can happen...”

As team-mates and rivals, Andersson and Åhlin-Kottulinsky have promised to race hard while showing each other respect on-track, but third-placed Sjökvist, by his own admission, has ‘nothing to lose’. The #YellowSquad star came out of the blocks with victory in the Hell curtain-raiser back in June, and he is targeting a return to the top of the table this weekend.

“The standings show just how competitive this field is,” he reflected. “It’s all about consistency. We had a tricky middle part of the season, breaking the car at Lydden Hill and then struggling at Mettet, where nothing really clicked, but there are plenty of points still to play for.

“I’ve got the biggest task out of the three of us, but I’m humble about the challenge ahead. Nils and Mikaela are really quick, so I will need to pull out all the stops and put up a great fight. We’ve done everything we can in preparation and the team always delivers 110 per cent, so now, it’s up to me. Sometimes, it’s easier to be the hunter rather than the hunted, and I have nothing to lose this weekend. I have a big chance here to make my dreams come true...”

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Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM