The final round of the Swedish Rally Championship was quite a show, where the Champion proved his skill. Thomas RÃ¥dstrom had no problems in his Olsbergs Toyota Corolla WRC to keep his opponents behind him from the start to the beginning. Well, ...
The final round of the Swedish Rally Championship was quite a show, where the Champion proved his skill. Thomas Rådstrom had no problems in his Olsbergs Toyota Corolla WRC to keep his opponents behind him from the start to the beginning. Well, Andreas Eriksson, Ford Focus WRC, tried to disturb him at the very beginning at the Friday stages - tough dusty and loose gravel stages - but no, he never really succeeded in touching him. Rådstrom took his seventh consecutive Championship victory - this year. The reason why he didn't win all the eight rounds was that he didn't enter Bergslagsrallyt - the first round. He has been absolutely superior to all of his competitors this year.
Andreas Eriksson tried again the second day when there were faster, harder roads and at the end he seemed to get closer. But Rådstrom did not drive faster than he needed at any time and he had the entire rally in his hands. The difference at the end between these two drivers was 5,3 seconds - quite enough for Rådstrom - who in fact not even had to participate in the final. He was the champion already before the final.
At the finish there was a private plane waiting to transport Rådstrom to the rally cross Championship final that started the same day at Kinnekulle Ring. A busy man obviously.
Third was Mats Thorszelius in a Toyota Corolla WRC, 45 seconds behind and number four was Eddie Horbing in an identical Toyota - 1 minute and 10 seconds later than the winner.
Gold medal in group A 4WD category to Rådstrom, 70 pts, silver to veteran Mats Jonsson, Ford Escort, 47 pts, and bronze medal to young Mats Thorszelius, 46 pts.
The group N fight for the gold medal was expected to stand between Kenneth Backlund and Stig-Olov Walfridsson but that fight took an end at the very first stage. Walfridsson had to retire with a broken gearbox at that stage and thus Kenneth Backlund took the gold medal. By the way his sixth in the same class with the same make - Mitsubishi Lancer. Behind him was a very fast and promising young guy, Tobias Gustafsson, in a similar car, but he was 18 seconds after Backlund and third was Patric Carlsson who succeeded the be the Champion bronze medallist thanks to his third place.
In group A 2WD the fast JWRC driver PG Anderson in his Suzuki Ignis offered the most impressing drive. He was eighth overall and had no challenger at all in the class. Next to him was Leif Peterson driving a two-litre Golf Kit Car and he was distanced with more than one minute and a half. PG's usual opponent Jimmy Joge, Peugeot, could not reach the gold medal and Jimmy was not threatened from behind, so the team decided to enter him in a brand new Peugeot 206 RC in group N. But no success in that test. He had to retire with a broken drive shaft at the first day.
General results from Rejmerallyt, Norrkoping, Sweden, September 10-11 2004 : 1) Thomas Rådstrom, Toyota Corolla WRC, 49.31,2, 2) Andreas Eriksson, Ford Focus WRC, 49.36,5, 3) Mats Thorszelius, Toyota Corolla WRC, 50.17,0, 4) Eddie Horbing, Toyota Corolla WRC, 50.41,8, 5) Mats Jonsson, Ford Escort, 50.48,1, 6) Jari Saarinen, Ford Escort, 51.11,3, 7) Kenneth Backlund, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, 52.01,3 8) Tobias Gustafsson, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, 52.20,0 9) PG Anderson, Suzuki Ignis, 52.48,1, 10) Patric Carlsson, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII, 53.34,1.