Favourites back in business before Alvsbyn

Despite a difficult start for many of the favourites in the CrossCar category at Tierp, some of them used the second round of the championship at Kouvola to get back into the game.

Thomas Eek Murstad, runner-up in last season’s championship with two wins and five podiums, clearly did not have the success he had hoped for in Sweden in early May.

In fact, despite finishing second in the intermediate classification in Race 1 at Tierp, followed by a Top 5 finish the next day, the Norwegian failed to qualify for any of the finals.

Only sixth overall ahead of Kouvola, 22 points behind the leader, Thomas Eek Murstad bounced back in Finland with two podium finishes, including victory in Race 1.

The Norwegian was the weekend’s top performer, scoring 52 points out of a possible 60 in Kouvola. His performance moved him up to third in the standings, just 14 points behind Ronalds Baldins.

“I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better,” commented Thomas.

“To get my first win of the season felt really good. Even though I knew I had to score big points in Finland, I didn’t feel any pressure and I just stayed focused on what I had to do”.

Also struggling in Tierp was young Riku Huuhka, who managed to reverse the trend. Only 11th overall ahead of Kouvola, the Finn failed to secure his first podium finish on home soil, but scored important points by qualifying for the final on two consecutive occasions.

Back in seventh place overall, behind Joonatan Ylilammi, Romet Tsirna and Alexander Heum, the driver of the Speedcar Wonder chassis accomplished his mission perfectly.

“We had a bit of a difficult start to the season at Tierp, where we didn’t perform as well as we thought we would,” says Riku.

“At Kouvola things went much better, although a collision in the first corner of the final in Race 1 forced us to retire. As for the rest, I managed to score some important points for the future. Admittedly, I was under a bit of pressure in Kouvola, as it’s never easy to race in front of your home crowd, but I’m happy with my performance. Now we can concentrate on the next stage in Alvsbyn. Nobody knows this track, so we’ll have to wait and see. Above all, I’ll try to get some important points so that I can go to Nysum in better condititions. Nysum is my favourite track so I’ll be keen to put in a good performance there.”

Finally, Elias Svensson took it upon himself to dispel his doubts after a semi-final elimination in Race 1 in Kouvola. Despite a more than convincing start to the championship with a second place and a win at Tierp, the Swede took advantage of the final race of the Finnish event to become the first driver of the 2024 season to reach the milestone of two wins.

“During Race 1 in Kouvola we had gearbox problems and took the decision to change the engine in preparation for Race 2 to make sure we could perform. We’d already had the same problems at Tierp, so it’s a great relief to have taken our second win of the season,” says Elias.

Backed by former CrossCar junior champion Alex Gustafsson, Elias Svensson is only three points behind early season leader Ronalds Baldins.

“Alex was my spotter in Kouvola and I can’t deny that his experience helped me a lot. It was really good to be able to rely on such an experienced driver. He gave me some really good advice. Now we’re going to face a completely different challenge at Alvsbyn, which nobody knows. I have absolutely no idea what to expect, but it’s the same for all my rivals. We’ll all be on the same level, so it promises to be an exciting race.”