The 2023 season of the RallyX Nordic championship saw a more than intense battle between Viktor Johansson and Simon Tiger in the Open 2WD category. Title holder Viktor Johansson gave his all to defend his crown, and although the final result didn’t go in his favor, it’s with a certain pride that the Älvsbyn driver analyzes his 2023 campaign.
As expected, the duel between Simon Tiger and Viktor Johansson lived up to all its promises. Winner in 2021 before relinquishing his place on the highest step of the final podium to Johansson in 2022, Simon Tiger scored two victories this year, for a total of three podiums, while the driver of the hybrid-powered Mercedes 190e managed to demonstrate obvious consistency, with two victories and five podiums.
Nevertheless, it was Simon Tiger who came out on top in this breathless battle for a second title in three years.
It has to be said that Viktor Johansson didn’t have the success he had hoped for in the final race at Höljes at the beginning of September. With his engine broken in free practice, it was his hybrid system that enabled him to compete in the first two qualifying heats using his electric motor.
As soon as Q2 was over on the evening of the first day of racing, Viktor Johansson managed to get his hands on a replacement engine, found a few hundred kilometers from Höljes. A last-chance operation that took a whole night’s work to fit this makeshift engine back into the Mercedes.
The Älvsbyn-based driver was able to qualify for the semi-finals, but elimination at this stage of the race was enough to tip the balance in Simon Tiger’s favor.
Not that Viktor Johansson was in the least bit frustrated, convinced that he had given it his all.
“What’s certain is that we gave it our all right up to the end,” says Viktor.
“The rest is simply part of the game in Rallycross. We know that anything can happen. Obviously, a broken engine in the first free practice session during the last race of the championship wasn’t an ideal situation, but there wasn’t much we could do about it.”
“Whether it was me or the team, we simply gave it everything we had. We can only be satisfied, and we have no reason to complain. Of course, we’d all like to arrive at the last race of a championship with a 25-point lead over our closest rival, but things don’t always work out the way we’d like them to,” says Viktor, before continuing:
“If you look at the championship as a whole, I think I’ve had a very good season, with lots of podiums, wins and second places. I think we can be satisfied with the speed we’ve shown. Of course, we also had a few more complicated moments with technical problems that sometimes prevented us from qualifying for the semi-finals, as was the case in Kouvola in the middle of the season.”
“In Tierp, too, I had a big crash, and I’m more in favor of analyzing our season in its entirety. Even at Höljes, we never gave up. We couldn’t afford to give up without putting up a fight. We had to find a solution, and we did. I’m proud of the work done by our little team.”