Jesse Kallio looked to be on-course for Supercar Lites glory on Thursday, until a gearshift issue in Q3 and wheel bearing failure in the semi-final halted his charge in its tracks. Fast forward three days, and the Olsbergs MSE ace was not to be denied a second time. After again dominating Q1 and Q2, he enjoyed a change of fortunes in the semi-final as he benefitted from a joker lap merge collision between Marcus Höglund and Linus Östlund to grab pole position for the final.
From there, the Finn was never headed, and he was chased home by surprise package Mats Oskarsson, who was promoted to the last six following a track marker penalty for countryman Jimmie Walfridson.
Oskarsson was on fine form all weekend, consistently and energetically mixing it with his younger adversaries and playing a masterstroke with an early joker in the final. Hunting his rivals down, the Swede overhauled both Östlund and Henrik Krogstad when they jokered on the last lap to seal a brilliant second-place finish and match his best result in the series to-date.
Following a superb launch that saw him split the front row starters, Östlund – who produced an incredible save after being sideswiped by the unsighted Höglund in the semi-final – held on to finish third in his ‘backyard’, while Krogstad completed a positive weekend on his return to racing in fourth. The #YellowSquad ace pulled off a gutsy pass for the lead on Östlund in Q4, as he signalled that he will be a real force to be reckoned with over the coming months.
Championship leader Simon Olofsson was unable to replicate his Thursday victory as he had to settle for fifth place on Sunday, struggling for traction in the treacherous conditions, with STS RX team-mate Thomas Holmen following the Swede closely home in sixth. The Norwegian – who won at Höljes last year – was on punchy form, particularly in Q2 as he fought his way to the front of the field in an audience-pleasing performance.
Getting stronger as the weekend progressed, Martin Enlund sat an excellent fourth overall after Q3, but was sent into a spin by Olofsson when the round one winner inadvertently ran wide on the slippery track surface in Q4. He was subsequently delayed again on the opening lap of the semi-final, which was where his challenge ended.
Walfridson enjoyed a solid event and was unlucky not to reproduce his final appearance from Thursday, while #YellowSquad rookie Dan Skočdopole similarly missed the last six on this occasion, skating through the gravel at the start of Q3 and taking the chequered flag fourth in semi-final two.
Jesse Kallio said:
“This is payback for what happened on Thursday! It’s been a really up-and-down weekend. We’ve been quick throughout, which is encouraging, but the technical issues we suffered in round one were obviously frustrating. I also struggled with the starts, which meant I gave myself a bit too much work to do at times.
“The weather then threw a curve ball into the equation on Sunday, which was the first time I’ve ever driven a Supercar Lites car in fully wet conditions. It was really tricky out there, and whilst I was pushing hard, you have to be slightly cautious too when it’s like that. I got a bit lucky in the semi-final with the coming-together between Linus [Östlund] and Marcus [Höglund], but after Thursday, maybe I deserved some luck…
“This is a great way to start the season. It was a disappointing end to last year, so it’s nice to come out fighting and I think we’ve taken a decent step forward over the winter, which bodes well for the races to come.”
Supercar Lites Results
1. Jesse KALLIO (FIN) Olsbergs MSE 5 laps
2. Mats OSKARSSON (SWE) MORX +2.113s
3. Linus ÖSTLUND (SWE) Olsberg
4. Henrik KROGSTAD (NOR) YellowSquad +5.
5. Simon OLOFSSON (SWE) STS RX +5.144s
6. Thomas HOLMEN (NOR) STS RX +5.670s