GRC Lites Season Review: Kevin Eriksson
Being the son of Andreas Eriksson, team principal of OlsbergsMSE and developer of the GRC Lites car, offered Kevin Eriksson both advantages and disadvantages in the inaugural Lites season. On one hand, he would be as well equipped as any driver in the series, driving the very first Lites car built by OMSE; on the other, expectations were certainly high for him to run well.
When all was said and done, Eriksson came home fourth in the standings. He was one of only four drivers to make it to every final, alongside Set Promotion teammates Joni Wiman and Alexander Westlund and series runner-up Sebastian Eriksson. He also earned a season-best third place finish in the season opener in New Hampshire.
Unfortunately, despite that show of great talent and potential, bad luck kept those results from being any better.
Eriksson won two heats in 2013—one at Bristol and one at Charlotte—but couldn’t finish strongly in either event. In Bristol, contact on the first lap heading out of the gravel section put the #39 car on its roof. Charlotte was even more heartbreaking: Eriksson broke into the lead early and looked like he would break Wiman’s incredible winning streak, until a flat tire saw him plummet to a season-worst seventh by race’s end.
Four points behind Mitchell deJong heading into the season finale in Las Vegas, Eriksson had a shot at stealing third in the standings. Then the disadvantages of having a well-used car finally came forth: his engine blew in his second heat, his crew had to mount a new engine at lightning speed, he had to advance through the last chance qualifier, and he couldn’t advance past sixth place in the final. Since deJong maintained fifth, the extra position eluded Eriksson in the standings.
2014 will be an important year for Eriksson as he looks to further develop his career. There’s no doubt that his racing pedigree and skill behind the wheel have him poised for a long and successful career, and eventually a ride in Supercars; the only question is if his luck will catch up to his talent next year.
Photo credit: QBA/QNIGAN.com (1, 2); Tom Donoghue (3)