Oliver Eriksson broke Olsbergs MSE’s victory luck in Nitro Rallycross, leading home brother and teammate Kevin Eriksson in the final of the seventh round of the Nitro Rallycross season at Circuit Trois-Rivières in Quebec.
Twice a top qualifier this season, the younger Eriksson dominated on Saturday, winning his opening heat before leading the final from the start, only dropping out of first when he took the joker on the third lap of six. Not even a broken driveshaft could derail his final, crossing the line 3.298s ahead of his teammate in what was a masterclass in ice driving from the pair.
Kevin Eriksson, who won the other first round heat, served as the perfect rear gunner in the final, saving his joker until the fifth lap to cover off points leader Robin Larsson and ensure he couldn’t spoil the OMSE party out in front.
Monster Energy RX Cartel driver Larsson’s third place was his sixth podium from seven starts in the 2022-23 season, while top qualifier Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Fraser McConnell had to settle for a distant fourth, an early joker strategy to avoid the pack and build time in clear air failing to pay off.
Reigning series champion Travis Pastrana finished fifth, dropping out of podium contention after multiple brushes with the banks in the final. One of those bumped the Vermont SportsCar driver into a spin that collected Andreas Bakkerud, who ended up eighth and last in the final, three laps down, behind Oliver Bennett and Conner Martell.
Ahead of the final, after the OMSE drivers won the first round of heats – Kevin Eriksson’s win in the second heat coming after a stunning round-the-outside move reminiscent of his World RX of Germany winning move in 2016 – Pastrana and Bakkerud shared the semifinal victories, with Larsson and McConnell also advancing from each respective race.
That left five-time World Rally Championship event winner Kris Meeke, Bennett, and Martell all scrapping in the LCQ, with only two of the three guaranteed a final spot from that race.
Martell made the best getaway, clearing the Xite Energy Racing teammates, but Meeke, reacting to a move by Bennett, soon sent the Brit and himself into the bank at turn one, spinning Martell in the process. The race was red flagged with Meeke retiring with crash damage and Martell taking a routine win on the restart to secure a better starting position in the final.
With no NRX NEXT or Nitro Side-by-Sides this weekend, support action came in the form of Canadian rally 4WD and 2WD racing classes, as well as Canadian Side-by-Sides, with all three categories holding two full rounds over the course of the weekend. Jerome Mailloux won both Rally 4WD finals, with Martin Langlois also doubling up in the 2WD class, while Greg Michaud and Mark Meyer shared the spoils in SxS.