The first round of the 2020 FIA European Rallycross Championship at Höljes in Sweden was dominated by the double RX2 International Series champion Oliver Eriksson who took the win on his debut.
Eriksson won the 2018 and the 2019 titles in the RX2 and was given a prize drive to enter in this year’s Euro RX. Eriksson has always had some up and downs at Höljes but this time luck was on his side as he dominated the qualifying by taking three session wins in a row to become the first top qualifier of the season.
Starting from pole position in the semi-final 1 he took his grid slot alongside another former RX2 driver, Sondre Evjen, on the front row. The 2019 RallyX Nordic Supercar Lites champion and runner-up in the RX2 last year Ben-Philip Gundersen has also graduated from the series to enter the Euro RX, Gundersen shared the second row with the team mate Mats Öhman, who is 95% paralyzed and only uses hand controls. Andrea Dubourg and Tobias Daarbak lined up on the last row.
As the lights went green it was Evjen who took the better start of them all but Eriksson was not far behind and he managed to sneak pass him on over the crest to take the lead that he needed. Later on the same lap Evjen made a costly mistake over the jump before the last corner but he managed to held off Andrea Dubourg, there could have been a penalty coming in for Evjen for the defence but on the following lap at the velodrome entrance the car broke so he had to retire from the semi-final.
Eriksson was leading the whole semi-final race and took the pole position in the final, Andrea Dubourg and Gundersen came across in second and third place respectively.
In the second semi-final it was Andrea’s brother Jean-Baptiste Dubourg who was on the pole position, he was the only driver beside Eriksson to win a session this weekend, he lined up alongside Peter Hedström. On the second row Hedström’s team mate the 2017 WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand was with Tamas Karai and on the last row was shared by Mandie August and Ales Fucik who was promoted into the semi-final due to Thomas Bryntesson missing out with a technical failure.
JB Dubourg had a great start when the lights went green but he had Hedström, Tidemand and Fucik side-by-side as they headed into turn one; It was bad luck for Karai who stalled on the start-line. JB Dubourg took an early lead that he held on to the finish to book himself the front row in the final alongside Eriksson, Hedström and Tidemand followed up with a second and third place.
First Euro RX Final of 2020
The first final of the 2020 Euro RX season was all to play for with six strong drivers that could take the win. Eriksson and JB Dubourg lined up on the front row, Andrea Dubourg and Hedström on the second row and the last row was shared by Tidemand and Gundersen.
When the lights went green it was tight between Eriksson and JB Dubourg off of the start-line, it looked like JB Dubourg could go around-the-outside but Eriksson was hit hard in the rear by Hedström that lead to Eriksson running wide and collecting JB Dubourg, with both running wide in to the gravel trap but somehow Eriksson found traction and took the lead after the second turn.
Hedström and Gundersen jokered early which meant he could catch up quickly to the pack on the following laps, JB Dubourg seemed to have broken his car when he hit a bump at the finish-line section that sent him sideways and while he had to pull out from fighting for the podium he managed to keep going until the end. Tidemand had a high speed spin when he came on the downhill right-hander before the jump but managed to recover.
Eriksson and Andrea Dubourg jokered on the last lap but Hedström wasn’t far away from making a pass on Andrea Dubourg. Eriksson saw the chequered flag and took victory on home-soil, followed by Andrea Dubourg in second and Hedström in third. Gundersen ended up with a well-deserved fourth, JB Dubourg survived with a fifth place and Tidemand took a bittersweet sixth place.
The next round of the 2020 Euro RX takes place at the Bikernieki Trase at Riga in Latvia in three weeks time on 18/19 September.