Euro RX: Anton Marklund wins Euro RX1 opener in Hungary | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

Euro RX: Anton Marklund wins Euro RX1 opener in Hungary

  • gb
22.05.22

Anton Marklund won the opening round of the 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship after a fast and faultless performance in the Euro RX1 curtain-raiser at Nyirád in Hungary, while Kobe Pauwels won an exciting Euro RX3 final in front of a capacity crowd.

Marklund set the pace in all three Heats around the ‘Red Cauldron’ – so called because of the distinctive colour of its gravel, having been built on the site of a former bauxite quarry – and went on to win his Progression race, Semi-Final and then the Final in his Hyundai i20

“I’m very happy to start the season in this way,” said the 29-year-old, who was making his maiden appearance with the SET Promotion team. “I love this track – it’s everything that a rallycross circuit should be – although everything got quite tight in the end as the grip level increased, and I wasn’t able to take as big a step forward as the others.

“I knew they were hunting us, and I really felt the pressure before the final. I was a bit angry after the Semi-Final because I knew my driving hadn’t been spot-on, so I said to myself, ‘now we make this happen!’ I pushed as hard as I could in the final – that was more-or-less everything we had to give. When I signed with SET Promotion, I was confident we had a good package so it’s a great feeling to prove that by winning here. It means a lot.”

Drawing upon all the knowledge and experience he gained driving alongside multiple world champion Johan Kristoffersson in World RX last year, Enzo Ide was Marklund’s closest rival throughout, as the ex-circuit racer underscored the huge improvements he is making by chasing the Swede home in the final.

Series returnee Ulrik Linnemann secured the third spot on the rostrum with a typically gritty performance. The Dane languished in 18thposition on Saturday night after a troubled opening day but raced up the order and was the architect of the launch of the weekend in his Semi-Final as he fired his Ford Fiesta all the way around the outside of his adversaries from fifth on the grid into the lead.

Jānis Baumanis had looked to be podium-bound on his maiden outing in #YellowSquad’s Peugeot 208 until a loss of power in the final dropped the Latvian to fourth, while Sivert Svardal’s hopes of picking up some silverware were scuppered when the reigning Cooper Tires ‘Rookie of the Year’ pulled off the circuit on lap two.

In Euro RX3, Pauwels – last year’s runner-up – entered the weekend as the favourite, but it was Škoda star Jan Černý who stole an early march by leading the way in the Heats, with the pair briefly clashing in the third of them when Turn One contact left the Volland Racing Audi momentarily in the barriers.

Pauwels and Černý continued their fierce duel throughout the weekend, but it was not until the very last lap of the very last race that the Belgian succeeded in turning the tables, overhauling his Czech rival almost within touching distance of the chequered flag.

“Unbelievable!” reflected an emotional Pauwels. “After the first and third Heats, things looked really difficult for us, but with the support of my team and my family, we made it work. It was never easy because the other guys were quick and I knew I only had one lap to make the difference, but from our pace in clean air earlier in the weekend, we knew we were faster. To win with so much pressure on like that is just amazing!”

The 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship will next visit the iconic Höljes circuit in Sweden (2/3 July), which will additionally play host to the opening round of the FIA RX2e Championship and the Official Launch of World RX’s new electric era.

 

FINAL RESULT: EURO RX1

1. Anton MARKLUND (SWE) SET Promotion 5 laps

2. Enzo IDE (BEL) EKS + 1.045s

3. Ulrik LINNEMANN (DNK) Linnemann Promotion + 8.620s

4. Jānis BAUMANIS (LVA) #YellowSquad + 51.827s

5. Sivert SVARDAL (NOR) Sivert Svardal + 4 laps

 

FINAL RESULT: EURO RX3

1. Kobe PAUWELS (BEL) Volland Racing 5 laps

2. Jan ČERNÝ (CZE) PAJR S.R.O + 0.568s

3. João RIBEIRO (PRT) João Ribeiro + 4.743s

4. Damian LITWINOWICZ (POL) Damian Litwinowicz + 5.661s

5. Per-Magne EGEBØ-SVARDAL (NOR) Per Magne Egebø-Svardal + 4 laps