Eriksson crowned RallyX Nordic champion as team-mates race to rostrum in season finale

Eriksson crowned RallyX Nordic champion as team-mates race to rostrum in season finale

08.09.2020: • Swede finally adds RallyX Nordic Supercar title to his burgeoning CV • Team-mate McConnell reaches rostrum on breakthrough weekend • OMSE pair secure top two spots in championship standings

•    Swede finally adds RallyX Nordic Supercar title to his burgeoning CV


•    Team-mate McConnell reaches rostrum on breakthrough weekend

•    OMSE pair secure top two spots in championship standings

•    De Ridder and Kallio double up on podiums in Supercar Lites class

•    Östlund pays tribute to team spirit and repair effort after monster smash

Oliver Eriksson banished the memories of the past two RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires title-deciders last weekend (4-6 September), as the Swede sped to championship glory in the Supercar class at Nysum and his team-mates swelled Olsbergs MSE’s trophy haul.

Eriksson has been a front-runner at Supercar level in RallyX Nordic for the last three years, but the season finales have not been kind to him. In 2018, contact curtailed his challenge, while he was less than a lap from being crowned champion in 2019 when suspension failure sent him into the Tierp Arena barriers and shattered his dreams. This time around, he would not be denied.

Arriving at Nysum buoyed by a Johan Kristoffersson-challenging performance at Arvika a month earlier and a stellar victory on his FIA European Rallycross Championship debut at Höljes, the two-time RX2 International Series title-winner mastered Saturday’s mixed conditions to take a maximum points score. After topping the timesheets in Q1 and Q2, he then simply drove away from his pursuers in both the semi-final and final.

Already confirmed as champion by the end of Sunday’s qualifying rounds, Eriksson was on-course to sign off the season with a second consecutive triumph until he picked up a puncture that dropped him to third place at the chequered flag. In the grand scheme of things, however, it mattered little, as by that stage, the job was done.

“It’s about time, isn’t it!” the 21-year-old joked. “Heading to Nysum, the aim was clearly to bring the trophy home this year. We came so close last year and the year before only to suffer a lot of misfortune on the final weekend, but I tried to analyse what I could do better from those situations and everything just worked out this time.


“Saturday was probably the strangest day I’ve ever had in racing – it seemed like every time we left the paddock to head down to the pre-grid, it started to rain! Still, we came out of it pretty well all-in-all. Q2 and Q3 weren’t perfect, but we did enough to secure the TQ spot and then the semi-final and final went relatively smoothly.

“It feels great to be champion, but I think I’m jinxed – the last round never goes my way! With the puncture, the car was quite hard to handle but we still managed to bring it home for another podium finish. I’ve really got to hand it to the OMSE boys and girls – they’ve worked so hard all year and totally deserve this success. I really can’t thank them enough. This title is for each and every one of them.”

Eriksson’s misfortune in Sunday’s final was Fraser McConnell’s gain. Piloting a similar OMSE Ford Fiesta, the Jamaican looked to be his team-mate’s closest challenger on Saturday until contact pitched him off the track and out of contention, but he bounced back the following day by racing to second place and his maiden Supercar podium, in so doing grabbing the runner-up spot in the championship standings.

“We originally went into the first event at Höljes treating it as a one-off in preparation for the RX2 season, but reaching the final made us reassess,” the 21-year-old revealed. “We then went to Arvika with the mindset that if we did well again, we would continue on to Denmark and we obviously scored really good points there as well. To wind up second in the championship as part of a one-two for OMSE, I can’t really ask for much more.

“Oliver deserved to win because he’s driven incredibly all year – it was about time he got to add this title to his CV – and I was very happy to finish on the podium. We had the pace to achieve that at Arvika and on Saturday in Denmark too, so it was good to finally get the result for myself and my sponsors. It’s been a great season, and the whole OMSE team has been amazing and super-helpful in every respect. Big up to them all.”

Anders Michalak ended his first campaign in the Supercar category a commendable fifth in the points table. The Swede showed strong speed once again at Nysum, but as in the final at Arvika, Lady Luck was not on his side.

In the Supercar Lites class, Guillaume De Ridder and Jesse Kallio were on fine form for OMSE in Denmark. Returning to action for the first time in nine months, the Belgian – who achieved a top three championship finish in RX2 in both 2017 and 2018 – came within a single point of clinching the series’ 2020 crown in a sensational comeback.

Belying his recent lack of seat time, De Ridder dominated the wet/dry opening day to establish a five-point advantage in the classification, but traffic in Sunday’s final saw the title slip agonisingly from his grasp.

Still racing with a fractured wrist sustained during contact at Arvika, Kallio was similarly well in the hunt, and third place for the Finn saw him join De Ridder in earning a test outing in the new FIA eRX2 Championship car. A double podium finish also secured the 21-year-old the runner-up spoils in the RallyX Nordic end-of-season standings.

“Coming here, I honestly didn’t expect to be so fast straightaway,” reflected De Ridder. “I hoped we would be in the mix, but to lead the way on Saturday was definitely a surprise. I knew it would be trickier in the dry, because the gaps are narrower and being on the outside of the grid for Q1 didn’t do us any favours. When you lose time early on in such a competitive field, it’s difficult to get it back again, however quick you are.

“I threw everything at it in the final, but starting from pole is such an advantage and Henrik [Krogstad] didn’t put a foot wrong – so congratulations to him. Ultimately, I just lost too much ground behind [Jimmie] Walfridson and that was that.

“It wasn’t quite enough in the end, but I have to be happy with the weekend overall. I was able to remind everybody that I’m still here and still fast, so it was mission accomplished in that respect, and it will be exciting to try out the eRX2 car. I’m a big believer that the future of the sport will be electric, so now I just need to find the money to race one, too...”

“It was my first time at Nysum, and it wasn’t easy trying to learn a new track with a fractured wrist – particularly with the weather changing so frequently,” mused Kallio. “I probably drove a bit too cautiously on Saturday, but we seemed to turn a corner in the final, which was a good confidence boost.

“Sunday was much better, and we had good speed all day. I had nothing to lose in the final so I just sent it round the outside at the start, and although it didn’t pay off, I had to try as my only chance to win the championship was to win the race. We managed to fight back to the podium again, though, and it’ll be cool to drive the eRX2 car – I’m looking forward to that.”


Linus Östlund was a fellow title contender heading into the weekend, sitting just two points shy of the top of the table. The Swede kept his challenge on-track with fourth place on Saturday before his world turned upside-down – quite literally – in Q2 on Sunday when a clash with stablemate Martin Enlund sent him into a spectacular barrel-roll upon exiting the joker.


In an inspirational display, the entire OMSE crew immediately set to work to fix the considerable damage, assisted by members of other teams. Their outstanding effort allowed Östlund to return to the circuit for Q3, in which he astonishingly posted the fifth-fastest time on his way to fourth in the overall RallyX Nordic rankings and sixth in RX2.

“What a weekend!” the 20-year-old acknowledged. “I’ve rolled a rallycross car before, but never as hard as that – it was certainly a bumpy ride! We have the best mechanics in the world at OMSE, though, and they did an incredible job on Sunday. I owe both them and everybody else that pitched in to help a huge ‘thank you’. This just goes to show that RallyX Nordic is one big family and the love and support I received following the accident means so much.”

Martin Enlund concluded his maiden season of Supercar Lites competition an excellent seventh in the RallyX Nordic standings, surviving the inadvertent contact with Östlund to post the second-quickest time in Q3 on Sunday and reaching the semi-final stage on both days.


Niklas Aneklev progressed through to the final for the second time as he continues to take giant strides forward after switching from two wheels to four last year, while Frenchman Grégory Fosse impressed on his RallyX Nordic and Supercar Lites debut, going seventh-fastest in tricky mixed conditions in Q1 on Saturday en route to the semi-finals.

Russell Atkins - photos RallyX Nordic


08.09.2020 / MaP

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