Per Eklund Wins 1999 European Rallycross Championship



12/99

Eklund drives a modified Saab 9-3 to his first European Rallycross championship title

Norcross, GA - Swedish rallycross racer Per Eklund has claimed the 1999 European Rallycross championship in a modified Saab 9-3. Eklund secured the title with consistent top results all season: two wins, four second-place finishes and two third- place finishes. This is his first European Rallycross championship title and follows up his second-place finish last year. Eklund also took the Silver in this year's Swedish Rallycross series.

Eklund competed in his first rally race in 1964 in his father's driving school car, three days after receiving his driver's license. He competed in a Saab two-stroke that year and started driving a factory-sponsored Saab in 1970. Throughout the 1970s, Eklund was one of Saab's most successful factory drivers and won the 1976 Swedish Rally in a Saab 96. Eklund also won championships in the Swedish rally and hillclimb series.

The European Rallycross Series consists of nine events with races in France, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway and Germany. Racers are allowed to drop their two lowest scores. Eklund wrapped up the title this season in the series' eighth race in Norway.

Eklund and his team will attempt to retain the European championship next season in a new 2000 Saab 9-3.

Technical specification of Per Eklund's all-wheel drive Saab 9-3 Turbo

Engine
Longitudinally mounted, four-cylinder, 16-valve with twin overhead camshafts, Garrett turbocharger with 45 mm restrictor (to meet the competition rules), and intercooler. Displacement: 2.0 liters. Bore/stroke: 92/77 mm. Compression ratio: 9.0:1. Original Saab engine block and cylinder head. Engine tuned by Trollspeed of Trollhattan.
Rating
550 - 600 hp at 6,500 rpm
Peak torque
592 Ib.-ft. at 4,000 rpm
Transmission
Four-wheel drive with programmable active differentials and six-speed Prodrive gearbox
Weight
532 Ibs. (1999 regulations)
0 - 60 mph
Under 2.5 seconds
Top speed
124 -155 mph, depending on the drivetrain ratio

Final results in 1999 European Rallycross championship series

Place   Name                          Car                  Points
  1     PerEklund, Sweden             Saab 9-3T 16          123
  2     Kenneth Hansen, Sweden        Citroen Xsara VTS     117
  3     Ludvig Hunsbedt, Norway       Ford EscortT16        103
  4     Pavel Koutny, Czech Republic  Ford Escort T16        84
  5     Michael Jernberg, Sweden      Ford Focus T 16        81
  6     Eivind Opland, Norway         Mitsubishi Car T 16    80
  7     Lasse Sallstrom, Sweden       Ford EscortT16         80
  8     Jos Kuypers, Holland          Ford EscortT16         78
  9     MarkoJokinen, Finland         Citroen ZXT16          58
  10    Anna Hane, Sweden             Audi S2 Quattro        41
  11    Martin Schanche, Norway       Opel Astra T 16        38
  12    Martin Iversen, Norway        Ford EscortT16         12
  13    Jen-Luc Pailler, France       Citroen Xantia T 16    31
  14    Jacques Franssen, Belgium     Subaru Impreza         31
  15    Jos Sterkens, Belgium         Ford MondeoT 16        26

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