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  • Euro RX1 Press Release

Euro RX1 Season Review: SET Promotion’s super Swede speeds to fourth career crown

Anton Marklund made it back-to-back title triumphs in Euro RX1 in 2023, but the manner in which he did so could scarcely have been more different to 12 months earlier...

Anton Marklund made it back-to-back title triumphs in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top tier in 2023, but the manner in which he did so could scarcely have been more different to 12 months earlier.

Whereas in 2022, it had been relatively plain sailing for the Swede – with three victories from six outings and no finish lower than fourth propelling him to a third European crown as he wrapped proceedings up before the final round – this year, it seemed everything was determined to conspire against him.

To begin with, he did not set foot inside his car – a heavily updated Ford Fiesta originally built back in 2013 – until shortly before the season got underway, and after fairly blitzing his rivals in heat one at Nyirád, he then found himself turned around at the start of heat two and ploughed into by an unsighted Sivert Svardal. Following a herculean repair job by the skilled SET Promotion mechanics, he narrowly scraped through into the semi-finals – going on to finish second.

The potential of the driver-car-team combo was clear to see, but Lady Luck continued to stubbornly refuse to smile upon Marklund. At Montalegre, an issue left him stranded on the start-line; in Hell, he repeatedly crossed swords with Patrick O’Donovan; and on home soil at Höljes, his windscreen wipers packed up in the final, keeping him off the podium in the wet conditions.

The 30-year-old had to wait until Mettet in August to tally his first win of the season – and ninth of his career – but it coincided with a dismal weekend for his three chief rivals, none of whom reached the final. That allowed Marklund to seal the deal at the end of the heats at the Estering two weeks later – just as well really, as his ill-fortune returned in the semi-final, when he was turfed out of contention at the first corner. But by then, the job was already done...

Jānis Baumanis was again the Boliden native’s closest competitor, book-ending a characteristically strong campaign with triumphs in Hungary and Germany. That made him the only driver to win twice in Euro RX1 in 2023, but penalties that ruled him out of the final in Norway and Belgium likely cost the Latvian the coveted crown.

Marklund’s arch-nemesis O’Donovan was fast and feisty as he boldly took the fight to his more experienced adversaries. After notching up a brilliant breakthrough victory at Höljes’ ‘Magic Weekend’, the runner-up spoils in the Estering finale enabled the talented British teenager to pinch third in the standings from Enzo Ide at the last gasp.

Behind the wheel of his Audi S1, the Belgian was a force to be reckoned with throughout and artfully picked up the pieces when Baumanis and Marklund faltered in Portugal, cementing his second Montalegre success in as many seasons.

Tamás Kárai and René Münnich proved that age shall not weary as the evergreen duo – now 50 and 46 respectively – both reached the rostrum and continued to keep the series’ young guns on their toes.

The aforementioned Svardal was a hugely popular first-time winner in Hell, with the Norwegian similarly advancing to the final at Höljes and Mettet as he showed scintillating speed at every circuit, while Ulrik Linnemann rolled back the years with some vintage performances that deservedly yielded a brace of champagne celebrations.

Championship Standings

1. Anton Marklund  92 pts

2. Jānis Baumanis 86 pts

3. Patrick O’Donovan 76 pts

4. Enzo Ide 76 pts

5. Tamás Kárai 59 pts

6. René Münnich 53 pts


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