The VW-Marklund Motorsport team endured a weekend where the pendulum swung both ways for all three of its drivers in the German round of the World Rallycross Championship at Estering and location to the teams second home event.
Whilst Topi Heikkinen was competitive enough to progress through the Heat Stages to qualify for Semi-Final Two and make it to 5th place in the Final, Anton Marklund and guest driver Ronny C. Rock suffered harder times, both drivers being hampered by contact in the heat stages and then the wet weather conditions on Sunday, meaning both drivers would go no further.
Team Boss Jan Marklund summed up the teams fortunes from the weekend, “It was a tough and colourful race weekend as we expected,” said team principal Jan Marklund. “We had some bad luck with the weather, which definitely was the decisive thing for Anton and Ronny in their efforts to reach the semi-final. Topi had a solid race weekend, reaching the final and regaining second in the standings. Anton had bad luck this weekend, which affected his results strongly. Because of that he drops from fifth to sixth in the championship standings. But we all know his capabilities and with our car he can come back in the next race. We gained some valuable points from Ford in the teams’ championship and now we have to keep up the hard work in the drivers’ championship. Petter Solberg’s lead is quite big at the moment but we haven’t given up yet.”
Heikkinen was happy with his performance from the weekend but is aware of the challenge ahead, “It’s good to be second but, on the other hand, Petter was able to extend his lead, which is not good for me and our team. I’m happy that our pace and speed is back after a difficult race in France. It was all going well until the last heat when my engine stalled immediately due to new engine software and it cost me a lot of time. That dropped me from sixth to eighth after the heats and put me on the second row and the outside lane in the semis. The car was working perfectly and I had a good feeling but the track is so narrow that it’s almost impossible to overtake. I saved my ‘joker’ lap for the second to last lap and felt that I was faster than Mattias Ekström in front of me. But unfortunately he took the ‘joker’ at the same time so I couldn’t pass him. So I ended up third and on the third row and on the outside for the final. Again my speed was there and I set the second-fastest lap time but it was not possible to gain any more places.”
Marklund was disappointed at not making it through to the Semi-Final stages, “After three heats I was looking good for the semi-finals but I knew that in order to advance I had to make a good time in the last heat,” explained 21-year-old Swede Anton Marklund. “The places from 10 to 18 were so close in the points that anyone could reach the semis from that group. But when I was standing on the grid it started to rain and it rained through the whole heat. And like a bad joke, immediately after my race the rain stopped. Even though I won my heat the time wasn’t enough to reach the semi-final. Of course I’m really disappointed but good luck wasn’t on my side this weekend.”
The team now regroups to close the 10 point gap in the Teams Championship to leaders Ford OlsbergsMSE as the series moves to Franciacorta in Italy this weekend for Round Ten of the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship.