Thursday, 30 July 2020

Eriksson returns to defend hard-fought World RX Höljes crown – in a Honda.

Sebastian Eriksson, the defending race winner from the 2019 World RX of Sweden will return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship with his eyes firmly set on back to back victories in  Höljes.

The 27-year-old Swede had made only three starts at World RX level prior to his appearance at Höljes last summer, but in a high-caliber, 25-strong field, he was unbeatable from Q4 onwards. 
This year, he will return to the field in defense of that hard-fought triumph behind the wheel of Olsbergs MSE’s Honda Civic with which he claimed six podium finishes – including a race win – in GRC in 2016/17. 

As he prepares to return to the scene of his breakthrough World Championship achievement, it is clear that he has more silverware firmly in his sights.
"It felt like everything just went our way at Höljes last year. It was the race I wanted to win more than any other and the biggest result of my career, and it was nice to see the reaction of everybody in the paddock – that meant a lot," Eriksson said.
"I’m really excited to be going back again. Höljes is the most iconic rallycross track in the world, and this year, we get double the chances to win and double the fun. It’s the first time the World Championship has staged a double-header so the regular drivers might not be so used to that format, but I did a lot of it in GRC back in the day so hopefully, that might give me a little bit of an advantage."
Whilst the Ford Fiesta that Eriksson used to triumph in Höljes last year was in its development stage and suffered from overheating issues, he was able to keep a charging Kevin Hansen behind, but this year, the Swede will return in a machine that he is quite familiar with. 

The Swede is keen to see how the Honda Civic will perform at the World Championship level and admits that OMSE has been hard at work updating the car over the recent months. 

"It will be interesting to see how the Honda shapes up on the World Championship stage. It’s obviously a completely different shape and has different characteristics to the Fiesta, but in testing, we’ve achieved very similar lap times with the two cars," he said. "We’ve worked hard to update the Civic in recent months, which should make it a bit more competitive so I’m positive we can be up at the sharp end again – and how cool would it be to win back-to-back in two different cars?!"
"I might be the guy with the target on my back as the defending race winner, but I actually don’t feel under any pressure. For me, this is a one-off event so I can just go all-out. The drivers entered for the full season need to be a bit more conservative and think about the points situation, but for me, points don’t matter."

Eriksson is also aware of the challenge that awaits him in Höljes with an extremely competitive field filled with RX race winners and champions targeting victory at the season-opener and admits that he's ready for the fight.
"I haven’t seen the full entry list yet, but there’s no question that it’s going to be fiercely-contested – this is the pinnacle, after all," he adds. "Johan Kristoffersson is back in the game, we saw how quick Niclas Grönholm and Robin Larsson were at Höljes in RallyX Nordic earlier this month and then, of course, you’ve got the likes of the Hansen brothers and Andreas Bakkerud so it’s clearly going to be an extremely tough field – but I’m definitely up for the fight!"

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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