Tue 22 Aug 2023

Best in Buxtehude: Cooper Tires’ ‘Racers of the Weekend’ from Germany

Titles were decided in RX2e and Euro RX in Germany, with spectacular action across the board. But who excelled most at the Estering to come away with the coveted Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ awards..?

Titles were decided in the FIA RX2e Championship and FIA European Rallycross Championship at World RX of Germany (19-20 August), with spectacular action across the board. But who excelled most at the Estering to come away with the coveted Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Weekend’ awards from the Buxtehude-based track..?

RX2e: Nils Andersson

Three drivers entered the RX2e season finale covered by just five points in the chase for the crown. As championship leader, Nils Andersson was arguably the favourite amongst the trio, but he nonetheless needed to keep his cool in the high-pressure situation and get the job done. Not only that, but the Team E ace arrived in Germany still searching for his first career victory in the all-electric single-make series.

Andersson was not always the quickest of the title protagonists in Buxtehude, but nor did he need to be. The Swede – a protégé of multiple FIA World Rallycross Champion, Johan Kristoffersson – kept countryman Isak Sjökvist firmly in his sights throughout the heat races to place third in the intermediate classification, and then seized his opportunity to steal through into second when his #YellowSquad rival tried unsuccessfully to hang on around the outside of the first corner in the final.

From there, Andersson shadowed weekend pace-setter Tommi Hallman right the way to the flag. He arguably had the speed to challenge the Finn, but he knew he didn’t need to, as the runner-up spot was more than sufficient to seal the deal. The maturity of his performance suggests he has a bright future in the sport indeed.

Euro RX1: Jānis Baumanis

Jānis Baumanis has been a front-runner in the FIA European Rallycross Championship for many years, and this unquestionably was one of his finest. Arriving at the Estering knowing that only a minor miracle would keep his title hopes alive – at 20 points adrift of Anton Marklund in the drivers’ standings – he instead focussed on ending his campaign in the same way that he had begun it at Nyirád back in April... on the top step of the rostrum.

Never lower than third during the heats, the RX Team Latvia ace secured second position in the intermediate classification and then proceeded to dominate both his semi-final and the all-important final. It was a peerless performance that deservedly earned Baumanis a second success of the season – as the only driver to triumph more than once in Euro RX1 in 2023 – leaving him just six points shy of title glory when the chequered flag fell.

Euro RX3: David Bouet

David Bouet showed promise when he made his Euro RX3 debut in Hungary earlier this year, but he found himself obliged to skip rounds three and four in Norway and Sweden, seemingly halting his momentum. The Frenchman returned for Germany in an expanded two-car line-up at RX Evolution – joined by fellow former French Junior Rallycross Champion, Dylan Dufas in a second Renault Clio – and it would prove to be a milestone weekend.

Fifth overall following the heats – having won two of his four races – Bouet was caught up in contact at the start of the semi-final that pushed Espen Isaksætre straight on. While the Caen native went on to take the chequered flag first, he was subsequently penalised 12 seconds for the collision. That dropped him out of the final, until a mechanical issue for Martin Kjær presented him with a second chance. He did not waste it.

From the back of the grid, the 29-year-old took advantage of dramas ahead to climb to third behind Duval, and the pair’s podium double became a popular one-two when on-the-road winner Jens Hvaal was disqualified on technical grounds. As RX Evolution eyes a return to Euro RX3 in 2024, the team has certainly laid down a marker...

Andersson, Baumanis and Bouet have each been rewarded with a free set of Cooper Tires for their performances in Belgium.

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