World RX (Round 2): Gustav Bergström
For a rookie at World Championship level, Gustav Bergström impressed with his pace in the 2022 season curtain-raiser in Hell – and he stepped it up another notch again in Rīga. Not only did he unleash the kind of raw speed to trouble the likes of experienced hands Timmy Hansen and Niclas Grönholm, but his lightning-fast launches were one of the highlights of the day on Saturday and helped to propel the Swede into the final in only his second start at the international pinnacle of the discipline.
KMS team-mate Johan Kristoffersson even went so far as to say that he ‘recognised himself’ in his 19-year-old countryman. A star is born...
World RX (Round 3): Johan Kristoffersson
Arguably, Johan Kristoffersson should not have won either of the rounds in Rīga. On both occasions, the Swede exited Turn One in the final staring at the back end of a Peugeot 208 RX1e. On both occasions, when the chequered flag fell, it was the Volkswagen RX1e ahead.
We have frequently seen Kristoffersson leading – and winning – from the front, but in Latvia last weekend, he had to do it the hard way. He had just one lap to make the difference – and characteristically of the four-time world champion, that was all he needed. It was another virtuoso performance – and last Sunday, it yielded an astonishing 30th career triumph.
RX2e: Patrick O’Donovan
Ever since the inception of the FIA RX2e Championship, Patrick O’Donovan has been threatening this kind of performance. The young British star’s bravery has never been in question, and on his day, his pace is a match for anybody else out there – but until Rīga, those two elements had not come together at the same time.
Isak Sjökvist might have looked odds-on for victory in the Latvian capital after leading the way throughout the heats, but the plucky O’Donovan had other ideas. From second on the grid for the all-important final, the 18-year-old produced a spectacular manoeuvre at the start to fight his way to the front – and despite subsequently finding himself under intense pressure from Sjökvist, championship leader Viktor Vranckx and home hero Roberts Vitols, he never once faltered, calmly holding his nerve to secure a stunning maiden victory.
Euro RX1: Sondre Evjen
Sondre Evjen has always had a close affinity with the Bikernieki circuit. It was the scene of his first RX Lites win in 2016, and his first European podium four years later. Last Sunday, he added to that list with his breakthrough Euro RX1 triumph following a sensational scrap with championship leader Anton Marklund in what was indisputably one of the most exciting races of the weekend.
As usual, Evjen was a factor from the outset in Rīga, and on a sodden track surface, he boldly battled his way ahead of Marklund when the lights went out at the beginning of the final. Soaking up sustained pressure from the Swede, the JC Raceteknik star looked to have conceded the advantage as he exited the joker and Marklund swept past heading onto the last lap, only to reclaim it into Turn One and then almost lose it again a few corners later. It was a crowd-pleasing duel between two drivers at the very top of their game – and one that resulted in a thoroughly well-deserved maiden victory.