Fraser McConnell claimed his second consecutive top qualifying result in Nitro Rallycross, beating Kevin Eriksson at Calgary’s Stampede Park.
Racing at the site of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, and on the 56th anniversary of the first-ever rallycross race, Jamaican McConnell said that he channeled the “Cool Runnings spirit” to not only go back-to-back, but become the third driver to claim three career TQ results in Nitro RX, having also topped the Saturday of the southern California round at Glen Helen earlier in the season.
McConnell capitalized on the left side of the grid that proved to be advantageous for much of the day and while the pair rubbed doors off the start, McConnell prevailed and took an early lead.
Eriksson took to the joker on the first lap – roughly 50 percent longer than the normal lap this weekend – looking for clear air to overlap, but with the gap between the pair stretched to 16.175s when McConnell took the longer route on the second and final lap, and a 14.5s lead being enough to secure a win, Eriksson’s fate was sealed.
McConnell eventually won by 0.483s, a wide entry into the joker not being enough to relinquish the win.
Ahead of the final, McConnell made light work of points leader Robin Larsson, before defeating five-time World Rally winner Kris Meeke – who’d topped timed practice by a huge 1.4s over Kevin Eriksson – in their semifinal duel.
Kevin Eriksson meanwhile had to better his brother and Olsbergs MSE teammate Oliver Eriksson and Andreas Bakkerud, which he did by a mammoth 2.679s.
In the first of two NRX NEXT rounds this weekend, Casper Jansson took the win and with it the championship advantage after Jimmy Henderson made a mistake midway through the six-lap final. The pair are effectively in a two-horse race for the NRX NEXT North American title with George Megennis, the points leader coming into the weekend, absent due to a funding shortfall.