The first round of the 2009 Swedish Rallycross Championship got underway at the Svampabanan at Tomelilla on June 13 under very bad weather conditions for most of the day. Stig-Olov Walfridsson (Renault Clio Mk3) won Division 1.
The track at Tomelilla hosted a Division 1 event counting for the Swedish Rallycross Championship for the last time in 2004. Since that time several changes and improvements to the track were made. Already in 2005 the famous hill on the Svampabanan was completely gone. In preparation for this 2009 event some more changes were made in consultation with the member drivers of Tomelilla Motorklubb. The right turn downhill for example after the long first corner has been made much smoother. Instead of an almost 90 degrees right turn it is now converted to a more 45 degrees right turn allowing drivers to keep up more speed. Further down, the small jump section has been widened as the joker lap was moved from that area on the track to the last corner. Someone of the organizing club told us that from the right turn downhill on, at every section some minor or major changes were done.
The 2009 championship holds four events for Division 1 and 1A with Tomelilla, Höljes, Kalix and Götene. No Division 1A drivers came to Tomelilla while only four Division 1 cars passed scrutineering and were allowed to take part in this season's opener. Winner of the last Division 1 event at Tomelilla in 2004, Per Eklund (SAAB 9-3 SportSedan) was one of them. Stig-Olov Walfridsson (Renault Clio Mk3), Tony Croon (Ford Focus) and Mats Öhman (Ford Focus) completed the Division 1 starting list.
For Per Eklund is was a race against time to get a 'new' car ready to race for Tomelilla as his car was heavily damaged after the last round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in Austria when two other drivers crashed into the SAAB. "After we came home from Austria we decided to get the new car up and running. The car was already some time in the workshop but we never found the time to finish it but this week after the crash in Austria we were forced to do so", Eklund said on Saturday morning.
As Öhman and Croon were pulled out of the event very early, Division 1 at Tomelilla was down to a duel between Per Eklund and Stig-Olov Walfridsson. The public should be served with four duels, however only three duels took place. In the first heat Walfridsson made two times a jump start and was excluded. "I am used to the starting system in the European Championship", he said. "In the European Championship the red light is only flashed while here we need to wait until the green light is showen and i didn't pay attention to the different system in use here", Walfridsson continued. The first straight duel afterwards went to Eklund, the second to Walfridsson setting the fastest time of the day. The third and final duel of the day (i.e. the so-called 'A' final) went to Walfridsson.
15 June, 2009
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