Rallycross champion with a drive and a sense of detail
He has the drive and the feeling for details – and it made him European Rallycross Champion 2017. Now, Anton Marklund is defending his title. To help him he now has FUCHS, in a new collaboration that aims to help put Anton at the top of the podium again in 2018.
Anton Marklund became European Rallycross Champion in September 2017. He raced to victory picking up the necessary points in the final event of the year. His car is a four-wheel drive, 600 hp powerhouse that does 0–100 kph in 2.2 seconds, and he competes in the highest rallycross category there is: Supercar. As well as his fast car, Anton also has a real winner’s mentality.
“A second place is never wrong, but I’m not really happy until I’m number one on the podium,” he says.
Second championship victory
His 2017 win was not the first championship victory for the 25 year-old from Skellefteå. Five years earlier he won the European TouringCar title – the second highest rallycross category. But his interest in cars and driving goes much farther back than that – basically since he was able to reach a steering wheel or handlebar. It all started off with mini motorbikes and quad bikes, and Anton was inspired by his father Jan Marklund, a former rallycross driver himself.
“I started competing seriously in 2010, taking part in district and Swedish championships. We then moved into Europe and competed in a few European championship events. I won the European title in TouringCar in 2012.
“I really love rallycross,” Anton continues. It’s a high-adrenaline sport with a lot of action – a ‘wheel-to-wheel’ race on the track and a spectator sport that often attracts 40,000 people.”
Rallycross takes place on a 1,000-metre-long track with gravel and asphalt sections. An event consists of several heats, with the best drivers going on to the semi-final and final to win points.
Anton’s 2012 victory made him want more, so his team decided to build a Supercar and take racing to the highest level. Anton has his team, Marklund Motorsport, behind him, which was started by his father and now focuses entirely on supporting Anton in his racing.
“We have six people working full-time and we build the cars from scratch. When races are on, the team grows to 12 including more mechanics, chassis and engine engineers, and a cook.
Nothing left to chance
The car is a VW Polo which, by the rules of rallycross, has to be built on the original body. Even so a lot can be replaced, and in practice only the roof and door are left of the original model. The rest is made up of carbon fibre parts, which is a lighter, stronger material. And strength is key. During a race, a rallycross car can jump up to 20 metres at high speeds, so the body, shock absorbers and suspension have to be able to take quite a beating.
“After the European title we decided to build a new car for the 2018 season,” says Anton. One of the challenges was to distribute the weight more towards the centre of the car. This is important since just a tenth of a second’s improvement per lap can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Lubricants make a difference
Anton’s sense of detail has been a hallmark of work on the new car. He calls himself a perfectionist and doesn’t like leaving anything to chance. Also new for this year is the collaboration with FUCHS, which is providing knowledge and lubricants to help secure the European Championship victory.
“The two-litre engines in our cars produce 600 hp. Both the engine and the powertrain are subjected to immense strain. It’s vital to have good lubricants that help to make the most of the engine and reduce wear,” Anton explains.
So now Marklund Motorsport uses oil, grease and other lubricants from FUCHS. The FUCHS logo is displayed on the brand-new car, and during the season the team has ongoing contact with FUCHS specialists on every aspect of lubrication.
The 2018 European Championship will be decided over five events, and Anton now has his sights set on another overall victory. He will also be taking part in a few World Championship events. Although he is currently focusing on defending his European title, a world victory looms in Anton’s future.
“Competing and doing well in the European Championship is a great foundation for the World Championship later on,” he says. “Competing in the World Championship calls for experience, and I expect to be racing for that title further down the line.”