JC Raceteknik set for closed-doors Höljes RallyX Nordic opener with six drivers
The first rallycross event of 2020 will take place at Höljes and Swedish team JC Raceteknik will start with three Supercar drivers, one driver in Supercar Lites and two Junior racers in Crosscar and Crosscar Junior.
Earlier this year JC Raceteknik announced that it will run a two-car team in the FIA World Rallycross Championship under the KYB Team JC banner for Swede Robin Larsson and Latvian Janis Baumanis, along with a two-car effort in the European Championship for Norwegian Ben-Philip Gundersen and Belgian Enzo Ide.
But first, the Kil-based team will get the already postponed season underway by competing in all four classes of RallyX Nordic at Höljes. ‘The Magic Weekend’ is one of the most famous rallycross events in the world, and the weekend of the Swedish World RX round every year. But, the circumstances around the global pandemic this year have meant the World RX round is postponed, and RallyX Nordic will instead hold two rounds on the July 2-5 weekend, with the event held behind closed doors and broadcast online.
Three of the team's Audi S1 EKS Supercars will be driven by Mats Öhman, Enzo Ide and Ben-Philip Gundersen. While Öhman is an experienced campaigner, Ide switched from circuit racing to rallycross last season and for Gundersen, Höljes will make his Supercar debut.
Jimmie Walfridson remains with JC Raceteknik for a third season and will race in Supercar Lites, while rising stars Isak Reiersen (16) and Alex Gustafsson (13) will fly the Junior Team flag in Crosscar and Crosscar Junior respectively.
Joel Christoffersson, Team Principal:
“It feels great to finally get the season going. It's been a long time since we were preparing the cars for racing to begin. Of course it will be different to not compete in front of a crowd, but we are happy that we will be able to give back to our sponsors and rallycross fans. Although they may not be able to experience it at the circuit, I hope as many people as possible sit down in front of the TV and cheer on us. Like many companies, Finnskoga MK in Höljes is a club struggling through this crisis, and we would like to see as many people as possible support them by buying online tickets for the live broadcast.
I’ve heard that many good drivers will race, so it will be big challenge. Mats did his first season in the Audi last year, and over the winter we have continued to develop and customise his car. During testing, Ben-Philip has shown that he has the speed for Supercar, and since he has raced so much in rallycross before, there should be no problems there. Enzo has done a really good job in testing, but is still a rallycross rookie. It's good for him to get two extra races and be a little more prepared for when the European Championship starts. Jimmie had good pace last year and we will continue to build from there. We also have the entire junior team with us for Höljes, where the focus will be on consistency and a good performance for both Isaac and Alex.”
Supercar: Mats Öhman (SWE):
“It will be so much fun to start racing again, especially this year when for a while it looked like there would be no rallycross at all. To compete in Höljes on the first weekend in July with no audience in attendance, nobody has ever experienced that. But when the world is up and down, it will be fun to compete, and the spectators can follow by other ways. I hope as many people as possible choose to watch the broadcasts. It looks like there will be a lot of good drivers, so it will be a tough event. We have continued to develop the car for me and tested it recently. Throughout my career I have struggled to construct a perfect system for the starts, but now we have a whole new system in place. There is little left to do before the car is perfect, but the guys at JC Raceteknik are good so it should work fine in Höljes.”
Supercar: Ben-Philip Gundersen (NOR):
“It’s great that the season is getting underway. It has been a very long break from competition, so I’m happy to be getting back on the start line again. That my Supercar debut will be at Höljes is incredibly exciting. It’s all very new, but also a really fun car to drive. JC Raceteknik is a very serious and good team, so I look forward to starting my career in Supercar with them. The goal will be to set good times and of course make the finals. There are many good drivers and cars, so it will be exciting to see how I stand against them."
Supercar: Enzo Ide (BEL):
“It's been over a year since my last race, so it feels good to be getting back on the track. Of course, it will different to compete without a crowd, but being able to drive behind closed doors is good because everyone's health is obviously the most important thing. Of all the tracks I have tested on, Höljes is my favourite, it’s a real rallycross circuit and I look forward to my debut there. Since I’ve only done one rallycross event before, I will aim to learn as much as possible. Many professional drivers will compete, so I will try to watch and learn from them. I have a good feeling for getting started with JC Raceteknik. It's a strong team with reliable service, something that is important to keep my head cool."
Supercar Lites: Jimmie Walfridson (SWE):
“The plan has always been to do the full RallyX Nordic and Swedish Championship season with JC Raceteknik this year, but for safety reasons the season has not been able to start yet. That’s why it feels extra fun to be able to do an event, especially at Höljes in July. It will feel very strange to drive without an audience, the crowd there is something really extra special. At the same time, it's really fun to be getting started again and also be able to invite the audience to something, remotely, during these times. My development trajectory last year was good, although the season was very up and down too. This is the third season I'm racing in rallycross and I’m aiming to improve the end result in both series. For now, I’m taking things event by event, with the goal of qualifying for the finals.”
Crosscar: Isak Reiersen (SWE):
“I’ve done some tests with good lap times, so the driving definitely has a good base. I’ve worked for many months to get as fast as possible and during Covid-19 I have had more time to focus on training, so I look forward to seeing the results of that. Of course the goal is to win and at the same time to have developed from last year. And, to show that all the preparation has paid off, both now and for the future. In these times a lot is about human health and corporate survival, so it’s not easy to put together a programme. But health must always come first. Now I look forward to the season premiere.”
Crosscar Junior: Alex Gustafsson (SWE):
“To race is just the best thing I know, so I'm really looking forward to Höljes. We tested there last weekend, it felt good and I have some small things to work on. Last year I drove in Xtreme Junior in FinRX, so it will be a big step to move to RallyX Nordic, an international series. It will be a special feeling to compete at the same time as the great talents in all of the classes in RallyX Nordic. In Crosscar Junior, I think it will be tough competition, and I’m looking forward to it. It also feels good that JC Raceteknik will start with so many cars in the event. It will be a great entry list, and I wish everyone the best of luck.”