Victory for Alex Gustafsson in Finland - three podiums for EKS JC
EKS JC claimed a victory and three podiums in the fifth and sixth rounds of RallyX Nordic in Oulu, Finland.
14-year-old Alex Gustafsson scored his third victory of the season in round six on Sunday in the Crosscar Junior category after claiming the top qualifier position and winning the first semi-final. Adding the result to his fourth-place finish on Saturday, reigning category champion Gustafsson is now second in the standings, just behind the series leader before the final round in Arvika.
In Supercar, Norwegian Sondre Evjen finished third on Saturday on the new circuit to the series, but was forced out of the race on Sunday with broken steering. Teammate Enzo Ide just missed out Saturday's final, but got revenge on Sunday and finished fourth. The pair hold third and fifth in the championship standings. Swede Isak Reiersen finished second on Saturday in the Crosscar category, but was involved in an incident at the start of the final on Sunday and three drivers were excluded, but he remains in title contention before the finale.
The seventh and final round of RallyX Nordic will take place in Arvika, Sweden on July 14-15.
Joel Christoffersson, EKS JC Team Principal:
“We came here with high hopes and a good feeling, and leave with three trophies and good points in the championship. We didn’t have the speed we wanted to start with on Saturday, both with the cars and drivers. We fought our way through the day, Enzo had problems with the clutch and unfortunately could not fight for a final place, while Sondre was luckier and managed to finish on the podium. In Crosscar we had to work hard on the track, and even though things improved, we were not completely satisfied. However, Isak and Alex got good results, so there was reward for the effort.
Sunday was better right from the start and even though we missed a little pace to Johan [Kristoffersson] and Niclas [Grönholm], we were up there fighting. Having both cars in the final was a great feeling. Enzo did well while Sondre unfortunately broke the car at a place that caught out many people. In Crosscar Junior, Alex was outstanding all day. After Saturday's final, the mechanics had to change the engine, they worked until 03.30am and did an absolutely fantastic job. So just being able to go complete the weekend was a great job from everyone. Isak drove really well on Sunday, but a crash in the final put an end to that. It is tight at the top of the table now, and will be exciting in Arvika for all of us.”
Alex Gustafsson (SWE), Crosscar Junior:
"The victory feels really good, it was really needed. Saturday was not really our day, and we struggled to set the top three times we wanted. I still managed to get into the final and set the fastest lap time on the way to good points. On Sunday we got out of bed on the right side and it feels really nice to have such a good day. We have been struggling with the starts for two years now, so to finally be able to get them together feels really good and to lead evert stage of the event was really good.
It’s good to have scored good points in the championship, and I have a good feeling before the final round. I look forward to finishing the season at my home circuit and will do everything I can to score maximum points. The goal is to have fun there and do the best we can. I must thank my mechanics for the incredibly good job they did in changing my engine in the middle of the night. And of course thanks to my partners and everyone around me who make this possible.”
Isak Reiersen (SWE), Crosscar:
"Saturday was a good day. We had a hard time getting the right setup for the track, but sorted it out in the end and got to both the starts and the track speed. A second place in the final was good and we scored important points. It was a difficult track, but I’m happy with the speed I had over the weekend. The changing weather on Sunday made things a bit tricky, but I made it to the final. The goal before the weekend was to maintain the championship lead but the incident in the final meant that wasn’t possible. It’s a shame it ended like it did, but it’s very close at the top with one round left. Thanks to EKS JC, my sponsors and everyone who helped me this weekend.”
Sondre Evjen (NOR), Supercar:
“OuluZone is a difficult track to learn, and it has been a pretty difficult weekend at times, so leaving with a podium place feels good. On Saturday we had a few issues, with my VBox system among other things, which meant that I couldn’t analyse what I was doing wrong. But I would say that we had some rhythm and managed to avoid trouble to finish on the podium. On Sunday we increased the pace and made good starts, but the local drivers were very fast and we had to fight hard to keep up. In the final, I hit a hole in the gravel that broke the suspension. I'm still happy with the weekend and the results. These were two educational events, and I take a lot with me to the final in Arvika "
Enzo Ide (BEL), Supercar:
“It was a new track for most of us, it's always fun to compete in new places and discover new circuits. I had my ups and downs this weekend, with some technical problems and then two-time penalties for hitting track markers. I was happy to finish fourth on Sunday, even though I had aimed for the podium. I’ve learned a lot and developed this weekend.
The lap times were generally good, but at the same time I have to work on the starts and my joker strategy. Those strategies are always a challenging game for everyone – you can lose a lot of time if you hesitate. The next event for me will be the World Championship in Spain, and a little test before that. I look forward to competing against the best in the world and keep pushing myself to be better. As always, I want to thank EKS JC who have done a fantastic job this weekend. I had some close battled on track, so they have had to work hard between races."