Sjökvist maintains RX2e series lead with home podium at Höljes
Racing in the home round of the FIA RX2e series for both the team and himself, #YellowSquad driver Isak Sjökvist claimed a second successive podium to maintain his points lead.
It was a challenging weekend for the entire single-specification field at one of the discipline’s halo events, the ‘Magic Weekend’ at Höljes, regarded as one of the jewels in the crown of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Second fastest in Heat 1, Sjökvist thereafter battled in traffic, received contact from other cars, and struggled to find clear air. Regardless, he qualified fourth in the Ranking stages, despite heavy rain changing the track conditions significantly for Sunday’s running.
Second in semi-final two elevated Sjökvist to the final, and in a hectic encounter, in which he lay fifth at one stage and was in the thick of the action, the Swede survived final-lap drama to finish third, and maintain the same gap at the head of the points’ table that he had coming into the event.
In the sister RX2e machine from #YellowSquad, Catie Munnings made her second career start at Höljes, and like team-mate Sjökvist spent much of her weekend starting on the outside of the grid. She impressed with a stunning around-the-outside move to climb the order during those qualifying races and consistently improved throughout the weekend in the most difficult conditions, but just missed out on a place in the final.
The third round of RX2e will take place as part of the British FIA World Rallycross Championship event at Lydden Hill on July 22-23.
Isak Sjökvist said: “I had a bit of bad luck in the qualifying heats, then managed to get a P2 in the semi-finals and in the final it was mud everywhere and a bit of chaos. I had a really great run in the final and got a bit held up by other drivers on track. We were P5 for a few moments and there was some contact, but we made it to the podium. I’m satisfied with the result, it’s the best result we could get from this weekend I think. I struggled a bit with my self-confidence but we go to the next race at Lydden Hill with two podiums in our pocket already this season.”
Catie Munnings said: “I had a really challenging weekend at Höljes. We had a full dry, hot tarmac day on Saturday, then Sunday was full wet, but I really enjoyed the experience and there was a lot of good racing through the heats. I was happy to take another heat race win but unfortunately, we missed out on the final. When we took the joker we had the gap to be in the top three, but got stuck in some traffic and couldn’t get through. I ended up P5 after a spin, so it wasn’t the best semi-final but I’m very happy to have experienced such a technical track in the wet and the dry.”
Eric Färén said: It was a tricky weekend with different conditions over the two days. We found ourselves on the outside of the grid a lot, but both drivers made good starts generally and were sometimes able to get ahead, but also got forced wide into the gravel on other occasions. Catie made an amazing move around the outside, and both drivers did really well in every condition. Our pace was good, Isak battled his way through a difficult second day to get onto the podium and maintain the same advantage in the points he had coming here, which will be important in the coming races. I’m proud of our drivers and the whole team, it is a pleasure to work with these great people.