The opening round of the 2020 FIA European Rallycross Championship finally gets underway this weekend at Höljes.
This season a new champion will be crowned after the three events as reigning champion Robin Larsson has moved back to the FIA World Rallycross Championship so it is all to play for this year.
2019 runner-up Jean-Baptiste Dubourg is one of the drivers that could be set for a strong season. He was the one of the three drivers that won a event last year when he took the top step of the podium at the season-finale in Riga where Larsson was entered in the World RX field and didn’t compete.
Joining Jean-Baptiste this weekend for the same team will be his brother Andrea Dubourg. Last season he finished fourth in the championship and claimed his only podium beside his brother at Riga.
Thomas Bryntesson was challenging Larsson for a win last year and he will be entering his second full-season with his own team. Bryntesson finished third in the championship and won the first-ever stand-alone Euro RX event since the 2014 format was introduced at Estering in Germany.
Bryntesson has already driven at Höljes earlier this summer at the All-Star ‘Magic Weekend’ where he almost ended up rolling his car, but be sure to expect some fine performance by the Swede, who races under Norwegian license.
The are two drivers that are graduating from RX2 to Euro RX this season – double RX2 International Series champion Oliver Eriksson and RallyX Nordic’s Supercar Lites champion Ben-Philip Gundersen.
Eriksson has previously won at Höljes in RallyX Nordic and also stood on the podium earlier this summer at the All-Star ‘Magic Weekend’. He could be one of the challengers for a win this weekend and has vast knowledge of the track.
Gundersen made his Supercar debut earlier this summer in RallyX Nordic and showed he was quick from the very start before some bad luck saw him collide with other drivers as well as then suffering mechanical issues.
Sondre Evjen will be driving the same car that double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson used earlier this year in the RallyX Nordic series this weekend and could be another potential winner.
Other drivers that have raced at Höljes earlier this summer is Hedströms Motorsport new signing, 2017 WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand where he teams up with team boss Peter Hedström. Tidemand made his rallycross comeback last season, where he made the final out of all rounds he entered in the European championship.
This year sees a new car for Tidemand, and despite some early problems he believes the car has now been developed to a point where he and his teammate can regularly compete at the front of what is set to be a very strong Euro RX field.
74-year-old 1999 Euro RX champion Per Eklund made his rallycross comeback at Höljes earlier this summer, where he entered the legends class and raced against some of the sport’s most legendary drivers.
Eklund continued his comeback journey by joining the Arvika round of RallyX Nordic, which is only 1 kilometre away from his house and now he is fired up to take on the Höljes track once more – he helped build it and also won at the first rallycross meeting to take place at the circuit.
95% paralyzed driver Mats Öhman also raced at Höljes earlier this year and he replaces Enzo Ide who can’t take part in the opening-round due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Rounding up the All-Star ‘Magic Weekend’ entrants that will join the Euro RX field this weekend are two debutants, Dan Öberg from Sweden and the Norwegian rallycross star Frank Valle.
There are three former Euro RX Touring Car drivers that are also making their Supercar debut this weekend, Norwegians Sivert Svardal, David Nordgård and the Dane Tobias Darbaak.
Svardal was on route to clinch the last-ever Touring Car title at Höljes in 2018 but due to a stewards decision made post-race, the title went to the Belgian Steven Volders.
There are a total of 21 drivers registered for the Supercar category, but only 16 of them are confirmed to take part due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions around Europe.
Projekt E Makes its Debut
This weekend sees the first-ever Projekt E event to take place and has been designed as the first step to electrify the World RX series in the future.
The Head Hooningan in Chief, American YouTube star and an all-around tyre slayer, the legend Ken Block is returning to the rallycross scene after only competing in the sport once last season. Block used to be a regular driver in the World RX with his own team before withdrawing from the championship.
Block has a secret love affair for electric powered cars and he will for sure try and set quick laps with the Ford Fiesta ERX, that is powered by a three motor drive train developed by series founder STARD.
Competing against Block in Sweden is Nathalie Barrett and Austrian rally legend Hermann Neubauer, with all three competing in Ford Fiesta ERXs.
WRC2 regular Mads Østberg was set to make his debut in rallycross this weekend but now won’t take part in the brand new Citroën C3 ERX due to a delay in the car being ready for round one and is instead set to compete in the next round of the year at Riga.
All the action from the championships are to be broadcast for free on the FIA World Rallycross Championship Facebook page and YouTube channel, depending on location of the viewer.
The Checkered Flag will have full coverage from both the Euro RX and Projekt E series’ this weekend, with daily updates from each day of action.