With a four month delay the FIA World Rallycross World Championship has started into the season. The motorsport fans on the screens enjoyed a double header on the traditional RX track in Höljes, Sweden. And it was a tough one!
As every year, the teams showed up well prepared – despite the corona crisis. And every year it’s the same picture: As long as the season hasn’t started, you don’t really know where you stand. Above all: how fast is the car compared to the competition. In the case of GCK BILSTEIN, one thing was soon clear: the performance of the Renault Mégane RS RX is absolutely amazing.
Anton Marklund impressed the fans and his competitors in the qualifying rounds of the first event on Saturday. The Swede won every (!) of his three qualifying races and thus set the first big exclamation mark of the season: You have to have an eye on GCK BILSTEIN this year!
Following a torrential downpour, the final saw fierce race action with Marklund managing to race his way from row 3 into P3 into the first corner, a position he managed to retain to cross the finish line in 3rd. On P1 and P2: The World Champions from 2016 to 2018, Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström in their ex-works-cars. Unfortunately Anton received a post-race time penalty by the stewards and dropped into 5th overall.
Anton Marklund: “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. 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.”
And Sunday began as expected. At his home race Anton took P2 in the first qualifying race despite a puncture. This was followed by another victory in the second qualifying race of the day and a fifth place after a hard fight and a lot of traffic in the third and final qualifying race.
Engine problems and the decision not to go into the joker lap until the second lap cost Anton a lot of time. Too much time. Anton could not qualify for the final and had to settle for seventh place overall.
“Unfortunately, we missed out on the final today”, says Anton. “The first two corners weren’t great and we lost some time, plus some engine issues had us running low on power and then of course carnage ensued. The Mégane is certainly carrying its battle scars today but I cannot wait to go to Finland. The pace we’ve shown this entire weekend, especially on the loose surface, is really competitive and Finland should have pretty slippery surface also, so I can’t wait to show you what we can do there.”