- Swedish teenagers both reach rostrum over course of high-profile weekend
- Reiersen enjoys positive start to title bid in 40-strong CrossCar class
- Gustafsson denied shot at double CrossCar Junior victory by semi-final stall
JC Raceteknik Juniorteam duo Isak Reiersen and Alex Gustafsson both reached the rostrum over the course of the ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend (2-5 July) – the first major international rallycross event of 2020 – as the team’s youngest members made an encouraging start to the new RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires campaign.
Having finished third in the series’ CrossCar category last year, Reiersen returned this season with his sights set on title glory, and he was a front-runner from the outset at Höljes. Fifth-quickest in Q1 and Q2 on Thursday, the 16-year-old topped the timesheets in Q3 to line up second in the intermediate standings amongst the 40 high-calibre protagonists. From there, he took the chequered flag first in his semi-final, but a last corner error restricted him to third position in the final.
In round two, Reiersen flew under the radar somewhat until Q4, before proceeding to win his semi-final at a canter in the increasingly treacherous conditions. The Swedish teenager – three times a national Crosskart champion – looked to be on-course for victory in the final, but he was ultimately forced to settle for the runner-up spoils, seeing him leave Höljes placed second in the standings, just two points shy of the top of the table.
“It was a good weekend, with a lot of positives in both rounds,” Reiersen reflected. “That was exactly the goal, and second in the championship looks promising for the rest of the season.
“The competition in the CrossCar class is fierce, and you have to be on the limit all the time. In the first round, we were solid in qualifying and the semi-final, and I finished third in the final even with a mistake. In round two, I struggled in qualifying with bad starts and traffic, but when the rain came, I made a quick change and got help from Joel [Christoffersson – Team Principal] and other drivers. I had not driven much in the wet before, so it was a good lesson and now I feel ready for the rest of the RallyX Nordic season.”
For Gustafsson, the event marked a maiden appearance in the popular series, but the Swede was immediately a leading contender as he comfortably set the pace in Wednesday evening’s free practice sessions in the new-for-2020 CrossCar Junior category. A coming-together with Frida Enholm in Q1 subsequently set the tone for a difficult run through the qualifying stages, and the 13-year-old could manage no better than ninth in the intermediate standings – but from there on, he flew.
After dominating Thursday’s semi-final and final – pulling off an ultra-brave move on Erik Andersson in the latter and surviving a last corner lapse that almost sent him spearing off the circuit – Gustafsson won three of the four qualifiers at the weekend to secure TQ honours, but a stall at the start of the semi-final meant there would be no double victory. He will head next to his home track of Arvika sitting fourth in the championship chase, four points adrift of the leader.
“The season started very well for me, and it feels great to be the first to take a win in RallyX Nordic’s new CrossCar Junior class,” enthused the Gunnarskog native. “I gained self-confidence after the victory, and took that good feeling into the second round, which started very well and I was the fastest from free practice through to Q3. We tried to keep a dry set-up in Q4, but the rain came sooner than we thought it would. That was difficult, but I was still second-fastest.
“I was on pole position for my semi-final, but when I released the clutch, the engine died. I tried to fight back, but the visibility was poor and I couldn’t attack fully. It was really a shame, but these things happen. I’m just behind the championship leader and I’m going to fight for the title this season. I want to thank the team for a fantastic weekend, and RallyX Nordic and Finnskoga MK for delivering an incredibly good event.”