Monday | 05 Dec 2022

Euro RX1 Season Review: Once, twice, three times a champion

Anton Marklund produced a tour de force during the 2022 Euro RX1 campaign, as the Swede proved to be a cut above his adversaries season-long in his SET Promotion Hyundai i20 to add a third FIA European Rallycross Championship crown to his impressive career CV.

Anton Marklund produced a tour de force during the 2022 Euro RX1 campaign, as the Swede proved to be a cut above his adversaries season-long in his SET Promotion Hyundai i20 to add a third FIA European Rallycross Championship crown to his impressive career CV.

After dominating the Nyirád curtain-raiser with a clean sweep of fastest times, Marklund outpaced box office stars Johan Kristoffersson, Andreas Bakkerud and Oliver Solberg to similarly top the intermediate ranking next time out at Höljes – rallycross’ legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ – and made it two-from-two when on-the-road winner Solberg was disqualified from the final due to a technical infringement.

The 29-year-old then came off second-best in a physical start-line tussle with home hero Bakkerud in Hell, restricting him to a frustrated fourth position, before hassling first-time winner Sondre Evjen all the way to the chequered flag in the rain in Rīga to scoop the runner-up spoils.

At Montalegre a fortnight later, Marklund sealed the deal – although his weekend was far from a walk in the park, as a joker merge collision with main rival Jānis Baumanis in the heats and a messy start to the final left him needing to fight back.

With Baumanis only able to finish second, however, fourth place was sufficient for the Boliden native to lift the laurels a round early – and he celebrated in style in the Spa-Francorchamps season finale with a dominant performance to claim a third win of the campaign.

By his own admission, Baumanis took a little while to fully get to grips with his #YellowSquad Peugeot 208, but the Latvian was on balance Marklund’s closest competitor as he reached the rostrum on three occasions – even if turbo problems in Rīga scuppered his hopes of pulling off back-to-back triumphs at home.

Enzo Ide maintained his eye-catching upward trajectory in the discipline to place third overall, unleashing a scintillating turn-of-speed to secure second in Hungary and third in Latvia for EKS, prior to tallying his maiden rallycross victory in Portugal. Like Baumanis, the Belgian was prevented from challenging for glory in his home event – at Spa-Francorchamps in his case – by technical issues.

Behind the wheel of his family-run Volkswagen Polo, 2021 Cooper Tires ‘Rookie of the Year’ Sivert Svardal punched above his weight throughout as the Norwegian advanced to the final three times out of six en route to fourth in the points table, while experienced campaigner Ulrik Linnemann achieved a brace of popular podium finishes in his Ford Fiesta.

In addition to his Bikernieki breakthrough, JC Raceteknik ace Evjen picked up a trophy for second place in Hell, where Bakkerud thrilled the partisan fans with a 12th career Euro RX success as he spearheaded a Norwegian one-two.

The final championship table can be found here.