Mon 21 Aug 2023

Baumanis bookends season with wins on Marklund’s big day

Jānis Baumanis ended the 2023 Euro RX1 campaign in the same way he began it – on the top step of the podium – as Anton Marklund clinched the crown at Germany’s Estering despite not reaching the final...

Jānis Baumanis ended the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship campaign in the same way he began it – on the top step of the podium – as Anton Marklund clinched the Euro RX1 crown at Germany’s Estering yesterday despite not reaching the final.

Defending champion Marklund needed just four points in Germany to assure himself of the trophy, and he duly sealed the deal by topping the ranking at the end of the heats. The SET Promotion star then found himself in the wars in the semi-final, with contact pitching him into the barriers and out of the race at the first corner – but with the main job by then already done, it ultimately mattered little.

“We knew it would be difficult coming into this season with a ten-year-old car,” he reflected. “Of course we had some small upgrades to the gearbox, but apart from that it’s the same since Ken Block was driving it in 2013-14.

“It was a late decision to enter the championship again, and as the champion, you are the one that everybody wants to beat, but we have a very experienced team and we did our best to stay out of trouble. In the end, our consistency and patience paid off. I’m very pleased.”

Baumanis became the only two-time winner in Euro RX1 in 2023 by bookending his season with victories to cement the championship runner-up spoils, just six points adrift of Marklund. Behind the wheel of his ex-Hansen Motorsport Peugeot 208, the RX Team Latvia ace was on fine form all weekend, placing second in the intermediate classification and dominating both his semi-final and the final.

He was chased home by reigning British Rallycross Champion Patrick O’Donovan and Enzo Ide, who similarly followed Baumanis in the overall standings – with the rising British racer pipping his Belgian rival to third in the championship on countback.

Home hero René Münnich wound up just shy of the podium in fourth – setting the pace in heat three along the way – with fellow seasoned campaigner Tamás Kárai finishing fifth. Peter Hedström – a front-runner throughout on his series return – challenged for the lead at the start of the final, only for light contact to damage the intercooler in his Hyundai i20’s engine, restricting him to sixth at the chequered flag.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM