McConnell's still in the runningFriday, July 30, 2021
BY RORY DALEY
AFTER being totalled in the final, Jamaica's Fraser McConnell was able to finish second on points in the inaugural FIA RX2e Championship held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on the weekend of July 23-25.
He was among the first rallycross drivers in the world to participate in the event.
The RX2e Championship is the first application of a battery-powered electric vehicle in the sport of rallycross.
“It's very clear that the future of rallycross is going to be electric and this past weekend we made history, plain and simple. It's so great to be able to say I competed in the first-ever electric rallycross event and hopefully there's going to be many more in the years going forward,” McConnell told the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine.
The RX2e Championship is a spec series, with all drivers using the same RX2e car. Instead of an internal combustion motor, the RX2e race car has a centre mounted 30kWh battery that provides 335bhp and 376lb/ft of torque via two motors each driving the front and rear set of wheels. Racers can manually adjust the torque split and amount of regenerative braking between the front and rear motors. Torque can also be controlled during race launch.
“The organisers have been pushing hard to make it exciting, and make the crowd enjoy it. I think we were able to show that even though there's not the engine noises, you still get great racing when there's a stacked field of good drivers,” McConnell said.
Having won the final season of the Americas Rallycross (ARX) RX2 championship in 2019, and putting in several key performances in the World Rallycross (WorldRX) Championship that saw him finish fourth in that Championship's RX2 class, McConnell announced he'd be making the shift to electric rather than trying to get a seat with one of the larger teams who compete in the Supercar class of WorldRX. McConnell said he had little problems getting up the speed in the new format.
“The RX2e was a real pleasure to drive. Electric cars give you that immediate torque. There's no delay in the power. QEV Technologies and Olsbergs MSE did a great job developing the car,” McConnell said.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is where McConnell made his name with a specular pass in 2019.
“My confidence was really high going back there,” McConnell said.
In free practice, McConnell stayed on pace with times that put him in the top two, and setting multiple fastest laps through the sessions. For the final, things didn't go as well. Despite starting on the front row, a second-corner battle to maintain his second position ended up with a DNF (did not finish) as contact with driver Ole Henry Steinsholt damaged McConnell's car beyond repair. He may have been out, but the points haul for the event means the Jamaican is second in the RX2e Championship standings behind race winner Guillaume De Ridder.
“All credit to De Ridder, he drove fantastic, but it's really small margins at this level.”
The recent flooding in Germany has postponed that round scheduled for this weekend, so McConnell's next shot will be in Sweden on the weekend of August 20.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login