Eklund in Portugal

Hey all,

Been quiet around here.  Had a busy weekend (I went and saw Downfall yesterday – highly recommended).

Whilst I was relaxing at the movies, Per Eklund’s been throwing his 9-3 around the track in Portugal.  I’ll chase up some results as soon as I can.  In the meantime, here’s some info about the car, courtesy of Auto Spectator.  Check out that 0-100 time – whew!!

The Saab 2-0-liter engine, developed by local engine tuner Trollspeed, punches out a remarkable 550 bhp and 750 Nm peak torque, despite the presence of a mandatory 45mm air restrictor. The all-wheel-drive transmission gives even more impressive traction, catapulting the car to 100 kph from a standing start in just 2.2 seconds, about a second faster than a current Formula One car.

The full article is here.

Well, actually, the full article has been released by GM, so I can reproduce it here at Trollhattan.

Rallycross star Per Eklund debuts Extreme Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan in European Championship

A potent, 550 bhp Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan is being unleashed by Swedish rallycross champion Per Eklund in his pursuit of the 2005 European Rallycross Championship.

The ‘extreme’, all-wheel-drive Aero, which can accelerate to 100 kph faster than a Formula One car, has been developed in co-operation with Saab Automobile and is sponsored by Clarion and Shell. It is the first rallycross application for the 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan and replaces Eklund’s previous 9-3 hatchback model, in which he won the 2000 European championship and last year’s Swedish series.

The Sport Sedan bodyshape provides improved aerodynamics, with less drag resistance and lower high-speed lift forces. The car’s revised suspension geometry, allowing wider front and rear tracks, and its longer wheelbase are also expected to give better handling and stability. Using carbon fiber and other lightweight materials, Eklund’s team have also been able for the first time to meet the European championship’s minimum weight requirement, 1200 kilos this year, putting their car on an equal footing with competitors using WRC-based cars.

The Saab 2-0-liter engine, developed by local engine tuner Trollspeed, punches out a remarkable 550 bhp and 750 Nm peak torque, despite the presence of a mandatory 45 mm air restrictor. The all-wheel-drive transmission gives even more impressive traction, catapulting the car to 100 kph from a standing start in just 2.2 seconds, about a second faster than a current Formula One car.

The car made an encouraging debut at the weekend (8 May), overcoming some early teething problems to take third place in the ‘B’ final in the first round of the European championship in France. Eklund is now looking forward to showing the car’ true potential in the next round, this weekend (14 May) at Lousada in Portugal.

“This is undoubtedly the most competitive car we have ever developed,” says Eklund, 58, who has twice won his class for Saab at the famous Pike’s Peak hillclimb in the United States. “The Sport Sedan body gives us a better balance and more effective aerodynamics. On smooth circuits, we will also be able to run the car much lower. I am very optimistic about our chances and can’t wait to show what we can really do.”