The 2020 FIA European Rallycross Championship returned today in Riga, Latvia where drivers were greeted with a sunny but quite cold autumn day at the Bikernieki track.
The season has already reached its midway point with only three rounds this left this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and as they head to Latvia, it’s Oliver Eriksson who leads the championship after his brilliant performance in round one in Sweden.
The opening day in Latvia hasn’t however been great for Eriksson. He was the second quickest in the early morning free-practice session but as the first qualifying heat got underway he was involved in contact with Andréa Dubourg that led to Eriksson spinning at turn two.
Eriksson suffered broken left-rear suspension because of the contact, but did manage to bring the car over the finish line, although the frustrated driver wasn’t afraid to show his anger to Andréa when he lined up side-by-side after the race as they headed towards the paddock.
Andréa later received a five seconds penalty by the stewards for that incident in a collision that in could be potentially argued either away in terms of who was to blame.
In the second qualifying round, both lined-up in the same race once again and Eriksson was again involved in another turn two incident, this time with Ales Fucik, who drove into the right hand side of his car.
Andréa was constantly under pressure from Eriksson for the big part of the race but managed to hold on to cross the finish line in first, but Eriksson wasn’t too far away.
Sondre Evjen won the first qualifying session today after a great battle between him and Jean-Baptiste Dubourg, which also continued in the second heat.
Jean-Baptiste took the early lead in the qualifying but was constantly under pressure from Evjen, who was tempted to make a pass on the quite narrow and technical track.
On the third lap, Jean-Baptiste took the decision to go into the joker despite being in front and after Evjen did the same a lap later, the pair raced to the finish line side by side.
Jean-Baptiste won the second session of the day, but it was just a small margin between them (0.042 seconds) but by it’s Evjen who tops the intermediate standings ahead of day two tomorrow.
Thomas Bryntesson had technical issues once again, as like last time out in Sweden and stopped on the start line of the first qualifying heat. He did however go on to have a better run in Q2 and finished in fourth.
Peter Hedström was involved in contact in his race of the first qualifying session, which led to a body panel rubbing the rear-left tyre causing it to eventually go flat. He returned in Q2 to take fifth.
Hedström’s team mate Dan Öberg, who sits in instead of Pontus Tidemand for this weekend, had two retirements due to technical issues and it is most likely he will not make it through to the semi-final tomorrow as a result.
Of the 14 cars entered this weekend it is currently Öberg and Andri Oun who sits outside the semi-final cut off. Oun is debuting the all-new Ford Ka Sport+ Supercar, but he has struggled with the new car so far this weekend.
Intermediate points after Saturday
The second day of the 2020 Euro RX in Latvia starts early tomorrow morning and The Checkered Flag will keep you updated on everything from the weekend.
A live stream from Latvia can be again viewed on the FIA World Rallycross Championship social media pages on both Facebook and YouTube.