McConnell credits preparation for rallycross success in LA
Rallycross driver Fraser McConnell celebrates after winning the fourth leg of the Nitro Rallycross Series at Glen Helen in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, October 30, 2022.

Rallycross driver Fraser McConnell says preparations going exactly to plan enabled him to take his first Nitro Rallycross Championship win of the season.

McConnell, who returned to the island on Monday evening, took the win at Glen Helen in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday in stride.

He got off to a strong start in qualifying on Saturday where he took top-qualifier spots after manoeuvring his jumps to secure the chequered flag ahead of Group E's Oliver Bennett, Kevin Eriksson and Oliver Eriksson in the head-to-heads.

McConnell carried that momentum into Sunday's second-round heat, ensuring a pole position for the final. In the seven-man final, McConnell had the unfavourable inside line at the start, but held off a fast-starting Robin Larsson wide to secure an early lead.

Larsson has the distinction as the only driver with three podium finishes from three races coming into the fourth leg, but he was stunned early by McConnell and opted to take the joker on lap two of six. By lap four, McConnell had responded, eking out a 6.1-second lead over Larsson who was in fourth behind Andreas Bakkerud and Oliver Eriksson.

"We had our push to pass, I used quite a lot of it to get in front of him [Larsson] in the first lap," McConnell said. "They're my teammates but also fierce competitors, so I knew they were gonna be gunning for that hold shot as well, so I was trying to keep the door shut as tight as I could, while also being fair to my teammates. They went a split and did the joker strategy [driving though a separate part of the track that is longer than the normal lap and features tighter turns] early. When he went in, I knew I had to be hot on the heels and putting in some good laps and thankfully came out just in front

"It was a really short track, so everyone was really close on the times. The first top six in the final finished within three seconds of each other, so you could barely fit a paper between the cars. It was really important to not make any mistakes, just bringing it home, and putting some good laps up. From the start of Saturday, to the end of Sunday, it was no mistakes."

McConnell says his FC1-X All-Electric rallycross car was set up just with the intention of handling the surface, not too stiff, and to have roll momentum.

The 2022-23 Nitro Rallycross Championship will see action over 10 legs across the USA, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Canada. The series extends from June 2022 to March 2023.

The championship continues on November 12 and 13 at at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona, which is the final meet in the series for 2022.

"We got the top qualifier belt, so we hold unto that until the next race, and we have this big trophy that's gonna stay home," McConnell said. "So we're gonna try to keep that momentum going and try to collect some of these for the room at home now."

Rachid Parchment

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