CrossCar Junior Season Review: Gustafsson’s Glory

  • JC Raceteknik Juniorteam ace wins twice on his way to clinching the crown
  • Carcontrol’s Erik Andersson pushes his countryman to final chequered flag
  • Rasmus Persson completes the top three at end of class’ inaugural season

RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires’ new-for-2020 CrossCar Junior class produced one of the closest title fights of the campaign, with the battle for glory going right the way down to the very last lap at Nysum in September.

In the opening round of Höljes’ ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend curtain-raiser, Alex Gustafsson recovered from a Q1 collision to dominate the final, pulling off an ultra-brave move on Erik Andersson to seize the lead and even surviving a last corner lapse that almost sent him spearing off the circuit. Compatriot Andersson held on to take the chequered flag second, and the pair’s rivalry would run season-long.

From the rear of the grid in Sunday’s final at Höljes, the Carcontrol rookie then squeezed spectacularly through the middle of his rivals at lights-out to snatch a lead he would never relinquish, only for a post-race track limits penalty to relegate him to third behind Raoul Dahlqvist – the Finn revelling in the treacherous conditions – and Rasmus Persson. Top Qualifier Gustafsson’s challenge ended when he was left on the line at the start of his semi-final.

At Arvika four weeks later, the JC Raceteknik Juniorteam ace was not to be denied again as he fought his way to the top step of the rostrum – although after winning two of the four qualifiers, the 14-year-old certainly gave himself some work to do in the final. Slow away from the lights, he had to overcome both Dahlqvist and Persson, but once he was in the lead, he simply checked out to vault from fourth to first in the championship table.

That set the scene for a tantalising title showdown in Denmark, with the leading five contenders blanketed by just ten points. Despite never having seen the track before – never having competed outside of Sweden, indeed – Andersson was in imperious form on the opening day, topping the times in all bar one of the qualifiers and dominating the final to throw down the gauntlet to his fellow championship protagonists by soaring to the summit of the standings.

He and Gustafsson then waged a nip-and-tuck duel for supremacy the following day, with Andersson looking to be on-course for the crown until a forceful move just a handful of corners from the final chequered flag of the season settled the matter in the younger Swede’s favour. His countryman duly concluded proceedings second in the standings, with Persson rounding out the top three.

 Final Championship Standings

  1. Alex GUSTAFSSON (SWE) 102 points  
  2. Erik ANDERSSON (SWE) 99 points  
  3. Rasmus PERSSON (SWE) 97 points   
  4. Raoul DAHLQVIST (FIN) 95 points 
  5. Lukas ANDERSSON (SWE) 90 points