Winner of the final round of the 2023 RallyX Championship in the Open 2WD class, Emil Öhman proved that he had lost none of his speed last September at Höljes. However, the Swedish driver is not yet convinced by the idea of a full-time return to Rallycross.
After a career as a professional driver in the United States and no less than two world titles for a total of three Swedish Snowmobile championship titles, Emil Öhman has been living a happy reconversion to Rallycross since 2014.
Fifth in the FIA European Supercar Championship in 2014 at the wheel of a Citroën DS3 ex-Hansen Motorsport, Emil Öhman has since returned to much more rustic but equally spectacular cars with this Volvo S40, which he took it upon himself to triumph last September at Höljes, winning ahead of Adam Öhman and Linus Holmlund.
Not bad for a driver who only takes part in a handful of races each year. Starting with the famous Norrlandsveckan, which takes place for a week every summer on the circuits of Piteå, Kalix and Skellefteå.
And while Emil has won this competition twice in 2019 and 2022, before taking third place in 2023 behind Adam Öhman and Urban Bergström, his track record in RallyX is much more limited. And with good reason…
“This year, Höljes was only my second experience of the RallyX championship. Before that, I’d just done a race at Arvika in 2021”, recalls Emil.
A first race which the Volvo S40 driver finished on the second step of the podium in August 2021 right behind Simon Tiger. Nevertheless, the Höljes stage was Emil Öhman’s first success at this level of racing.
“I didn’t feel at 100% of my potential behind the wheel at the start of the weekend. I’m not sure why. A month earlier, when I competed on the Norrlandsveckan, I was very fast, but at Höljes, I had the feeling I’d lost my grip a bit. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of the semi-finals and final to find the small adjustments I needed to go for victory”, emphasizes the winner of the final round of the 2023 season.
While his younger brother Adam makes no secret of his desire to get involved in the RallyX championship from 2024 onwards, this is far less the case for Emil.
“Participating in this championship would be a great idea. What’s more, the cars we have in Open 2WD are the most extreme we can find in a two-wheel-drive category, since we even manage to set times similar to those in four-wheel-drive. Nevertheless, even if RallyX is a very tempting option, I’m not forgetting that I drove professionally for 17 years in Snowmobile, and, if I decided to stop my career, it was for a good reason”, Emil points out.
“Since then, I’ve only taken part in races on an occasional basis, giving priority each year to the Norrlandsveckan and the Swedish championship final. To tell the truth, I don’t really see myself making a full-time comeback in Rallycross or anywhere else. My wish is just to continue taking part in the events I’ve mentioned.”
“Although my brother Adam seems to be motivated by the idea of joining RallyX, the context is different for me. I have a family now, and I want to devote as much of my free time as possible to them. Of course, there are plenty of drivers who continue to race full-time and have a family at the same time, but I think I gave enough of myself when I was competing in Snowmobile. To be honest, I’m thinking more about putting my two children behind the wheel now. They’re only 5 and 7, so we’ve still got time, but I have to admit I’d love to see them try their hand at motorsport in the near future.”
From now on, Emil Öhman sees his investment in Rallycross purely as “fun”. Unless, of course, his younger brother Adam manages to persuade the former two-time Snowmobile World Champion to return to the sport until he passes the torch to the next generation of the Öhman family.