Wildcard Eriksson stuns WRX Sweden field to take home win at Holjes

Wildcard driver Sebastien Eriksson stunned the World Rallycross Championship's established order by claiming an emphatic home victory at Holjes

Wildcard Eriksson stuns WRX Sweden field to take home win at Holjes

The fastest time in the fourth and final qualifying session of the weekend elevated the Olsbergs MSE driver to second overall before he then won the first semi-final by passing Niclas Gronholm in the final corners to secure pole position for the final.

In the main event, Eriksson - in just his fourth WRX wildcard appearance - took the lead at the opening corner as a fast-starting Gronholm from the second row headed straight into the Turn 2 joker.

But Gronholm was forced wide on entry by Timmy Hansen, who slid up the inside of the Hyundai.

Running fourth on the opening lap, despite showing pace in the semi-final, Gronholm's challenge in the final was short-lived as he punctured his left-rear tyre on landing from the circuit's first jump on the second lap and dropped back down the order.

Punctures would prove decisive in the final reckoning and crucially cost Hansen.

His brother Kevin took his joker on the third tour from second on the grid and returned to the main circuit just behind his elder brother and the pair banged doors repeatedly after the joker merge in the semi-finals.

But, the positions swapped again at the end of the same lap when Timmy Hansen's Peugeot 208 suffered a front right puncture, causing to him run deep into the final turn and allowing brother Kevin to dive up the inside and chase down Eriksson.

On its first WRX outing of the season, the Olsbergs MSE team struggled with oil temperatures with its Ford Fiestas, meaning the pace dropped off in the latter half of the longer semi-final and final races.

While the Hansen brothers battled, Eriksson set the fastest lap of the day on the third tour and then took his joker on lap four to cover off Kevin Hansen behind.

Eriksson maintained track position but then had to defend in the final two laps.

Kevin Hansen made a bid to overtake in the final corner and pushed Eriksson's Fiesta sideways, but followed the winner over the line in second to take the points lead.

Eriksson had previously been denied victory on his debut at the same circuit in 2014, driving for the same Andreas Eriksson-owned, but a broken suspension handed the win to Mattias Ekstrom.

Reigning European champion Reinis Nitiss completed the podium and climbed from fifth to third by virtue of Timmy Hansen and Gronholm suffering from punctures.

Gronholm finished fourth on the road but was given a five-second penalty for a track limits infringement, handing the place to Abbring, while Timmy Hansen was fifth.

Despite qualifying top in the intermediate classification and leading the first semi-final, RX Cartel driver and title-contender Andreas Bakkerud dropped back on the second lap with a broken driveshaft and did not make the final.

Final result - 6 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastian Eriksson Olsbergs MSE Ford 4m26.658s
2 Kevin Hansen Team Hansen MJP Peugeot 0.338s
3 Reinis Nitiss GRX Set Hyundai 4.331s
4 Kevin Abbring ES Motorsport - Labas Gas Skoda 20.110s
5 Niclas Gronholm GRX Taneco Team Hyundai 21.522s
6 Timmy Hansen Team Hansen MJP Peugeot 45.860s

Drivers' championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Kevin Hansen 131
2 Timmy Hansen 125
3 Andreas Bakkerud 109
4 Niclas Gronholm 96
5 Janis Baumanis 89
6 Timur Timerzyanov 78
7 Liam Doran 76
8 Timo Scheider 64
9 Anton Marklund 63
10 Krisztian Szabo 55
11 Guerlain Chicherit 49
12 Cyril Raymond 45
13 Joni Wiman 39
14 Kevin Abbring 35
15 Sebastian Eriksson 29

Bakkerud holds overnight WRX Sweden lead as Timmy Hansen struggles

Previous article

Bakkerud holds overnight WRX Sweden lead as Timmy Hansen struggles

Next article

Ex-Formula 1 driver Perry McCarthy joins TitansRX field

Ex-Formula 1 driver Perry McCarthy joins TitansRX field
Load comments

About this article

Series World Rallycross
Drivers Kevin Eriksson
Author Hal Ridge
From Lebanon to cross-category world titles - a rally legend's top 10 Plus

From Lebanon to cross-category world titles - a rally legend's top 10

Petter Solberg has called time on his top-flight career after winning titles in two FIA world championships. Here, the 2003 rally and '14/15 rallycross king recalls his 10 best events - including the moment where all his success began

World Rallycross
Nov 7, 2019
How to make an F1 venue fit for World RX Plus

How to make an F1 venue fit for World RX

World Rallycross makes its first appearance at Silverstone this year as part of the 'Speedmachine' festival in May. We take a look at how the new rallycross track fared in its debut event

World Rallycross
Mar 22, 2018
Volkswagen hasn't disappeared completely Plus

Volkswagen hasn't disappeared completely

Volkswagen's abrupt departure from the World Rally Championship it was dominating was one of the winter's biggest shocks. Now 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg's World Rallycross team has VW support. What does that mean for World RX and what remains of Volkswagen Motorsport?

World Rallycross
Apr 3, 2017
Why rallycross is becoming irresistible Plus

Why rallycross is becoming irresistible

Sebastien Loeb started a new journey in his motorsport career last weekend, but he wasn't the only attraction in Portugal. DAVID EVANS examines why the World Rallycross product works so well

World Rallycross
Apr 21, 2016
How good is World Rallycross? Plus

How good is World Rallycross?

The entries are strong, the cars are powerful and it can teach the WRC a thing or two about promotion. But after visiting the Lydden Hill round, DAVID EVANS still has his doubts

World Rallycross
May 30, 2014
New rallycross golden age comes to Britain Plus

New rallycross golden age comes to Britain

The sport began at Lydden in the late 1960s and this weekend the new-look World Rallycross Championship will strut its stuff at the Kent venue. HAL RIDGE explains why it will be unmissable

World Rallycross
May 23, 2014
Solberg: why rallycross is my future Plus

Solberg: why rallycross is my future

PETTER SOLBERG had a rough first season back in rallycross, but that hasn't deterred him from signing up for the first year of its new era in 2014, as he explains in his AUTOSPORT column

World Rallycross
Oct 16, 2013
Solberg: back to school Plus

Solberg: back to school

Petter Solberg says that there's still lots to learn about running a successful rallycross campaign, but he's really enjoying getting back to his roots

World Rallycross
Apr 2, 2013