The GCK Bilstein driver Anton Marklund was the best driver out of the five GCK managed drivers at the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship season-opener held at Höljes today – where he reached the final to take a bittersweet fifth place.
The season kicked off behind closed doors with the first round of the season after the eight month long wait caused by the COVID-19 lockdowns. For this season the GCK squad will run five cars split into three teams, where Marklund is the stand-alone driver in the GCK Bilstein.
Marklund pulled off a fantastic performance, managing to be within the top five fastest times in all the three qualifying sessions of the day, putting himself in third place in the overall standings as they headed for the semi-final.
But not everything went smooth for Marklund, on lap 3 in the last qualifying the Renault Mégane R.S RX car started to having some issues with the rear-end and on the jump before the last corner in the final lap, the suspension collapsed for him which lead to the car bouncing around the corner, despite the issues he managed to keep the lead to cross the finish line in first.
In the semi-final, Marklund had to fight hard after being involved in a turn one contact and later in the race when Robin Larsson merged from the joker lap; they made contact which forced Marklund to hit a grass bank on the outside and later on the same lap Larsson tried to pass on the inside at the velodrome which Marklund managed to defend
Marklund then later lost out in the downhill section as Larsson found the better traction so Marklund crossed the finish line in fourth place but the day wasn’t over quite yet as Larsson received a 3 second penalty from the stewards, leading Marklund to qualify for the final on the back row.
Following a brief but heavy rain shower before the start of the final, the team had to quickly change over to wet tyres in the pre-grid. As the lights went green Marklund stormed away heading to the first turn where he had some contact which made him run wide over the crest and had to break late that lead to crashing into Timmy Hansen who span out at the joker lap entrance.
Marklund crossed over the finish line in third place to claim to what they was thinking to be a first trophy of the season, but here the stewards stepped in again and gave Marklund a penalty for hitting Hansen that led to Timo Scheider getting promoted to third and Marklund had to settle for a fifth place.
“I’m really really happy with the weekend overall because the work that GCK and Bilstein have put in over the weekend is really paying off. We can see the pace is very good, all the way from Free Practice 2 to the very ends, so I’m really proud of all the work they’ve done.” Marklund said.
“Of course, it was a bit of a roller coaster towards the end of the day but I have to say that I’m just really happy with our performance today and I’m not too worried – I think we have a good shot at taking home some trophies tomorrow instead.”,
The second round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship continues at Höljes tomorrow with a similar format as today due to it’s a double-header weekend.