Isak Sjökvist reflects on his 2023 season with #YellowSquad
After a dramatic season, claiming yet another runner-up spot in the RX2e championship, we caught up with #YellowSquad star Isak Sjökvist as he reflects on an amazing first year with the team.
#YellowSquad: You finished a strong second in the 2022 RX2e season. How were you feeling coming into 2023?
Isak Sjökvist: After a strong end to the 2022 season with my win in Barcelona, it felt like a dream come true even to get the question from the Hansen family if I had the interest to join their junior team – aka #Yellowsquad.
I honestly felt that I was floating on the clouds as it was a huge milestone reached in my career. Even if the decision came at a late time because of several circumstances, it was a chance I could not miss. I saw this opportunity in the right direction, and I was eager to put down all the hard work and tried the best I could, together with this super team!
#YS: You had a perfect start to the campaign with that win in Norway. Talk us through that weekend.
Isak: Hell, Norway, was some extraordinary stuff. You know, drivers sometimes describe that feeling of being right in the zone and I was just that throughout the whole weekend. I felt untouchable to be honest. Then to win the first race of the season was absolutely the icing on the cake.
#YS: After a difficult Qualifying in Höljes, you managed to get on the podium once again with third place. How much did mental strength come into play for you this season?
Isak: I think I have ever felt as exhausted mentally after race weekends as I did this year, especially after Rounds 3 and 4. I was surprised by how much power I had whenever I needed to push my mental boundaries. I would say that mental strength always plays a big role in our sport, but this season really tested me in many different ways.
#YS: Lydden Hill and Mettet didn’t reflect the form you were in this year, but you pushed hard to stay in the championship fight. How was the support from the #YellowSquad team during those tougher weekends, and the whole season?
Isak: Without this incredible team and its members, this year’s result would just have been a dream. What we achieved this year just shows how talented and capable this group of people is. They sacrificed all they could and really showed that everything is possible, you just need to believe it!
#YS: You had the opportunity to work with both Catie Munnings and Molly Taylor this year. How was it having them in the team and were you able to help each other to progress?
Isak: It was a pleasure to be working together with these two incredible great drivers and I believe that we helped each other to push our own boundaries in every possible way. I think we shared our experiences in the best way and gave ourselves new tools to work with to increase our driving skills. I would really like to have them both in the team again as they both brought something special and were one of the best teammates I’ve had.
#YS: You went out swinging with another third-place finish in the final round at Estering, having out-qualified your closest rivals. What was going through your head in that Final?
Isak: The Final at Estering is a bit of a blur to be honest. The first start felt horrible, so it was a bit of a relief to get the restart, even if one driver missed out on the Final.
The second start felt much better and when I saw my chance to overtake [Tommi] Hallman in the first corner everything went in slow motion. It was much more slippery than in the Semi-Finals and that made the move not the most efficient one I’ve made. Then, the rest of the Final was like a hard workout where you push yourself to the red zone limit. Devastated was just the beginning of the emotions I felt after the Final.
#YS: What have you learnt from the 2023 season that you’ll be taking into 2024?
Isak: Now a time afterwards, I feel that I actually did everything I could in Estering and I’m pleased to feel that it was “here” were I become a real rallycross driver. For sure, second place is the first loser, but I see this as the best result possible when you look at the bigger picture. This season had its ups and lows for sure, but I’ve reconciled with that and I’m excited to do everything I can for an ever better result in the future.