With the OMSE rallycross operation continuing to grow, it was recently time to pay a return visit to the multiple-title winning squad’s Nynashamn base. In early 2014 Rallycross World published a behind the scenes ‘Inside Story’ on Olsbergs MSE (read here). On our return we see what’s new, and chat 2016 plans with owner and team principle, Andreas Eriksson.
As the business expands, Eriksson is constantly requiring more space, so on first impressions, the place is tidier than ever, largely because every nook and cranny has been utilised to serve a purpose. The build bays on the upper level of the facility were full to bursting with both Supercars and Supercar Lites, all heading for different destinations. Most Lites cars were prepared for the opening round of the RallyX On Ice series in Pitea, while many of the Supercars are bound for new owners. Eriksson has formed a large customer base for Fiesta Supercars over the winter months. So, although he concedes that he has parted ways with Ford following the announcement that Ken Block will team up with Ford Performance for the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2016, the build of new cars and development of the project is as busy as ever.
“We sold too many Fiestas, so we have to build one extra car to fulfill everything we need to do,” explains Eriksson, speaking about the brand new bodyshell being fabricated the in the shell-shop. “We’re putting all the plans for this season together now – it looks promising. We will continue to use Fiestas in the World Championship, but most of our work at the moment is to structure a good base for our customers so we can help the guys running our cars in the best way. I’ve sold six cars out of the 10 I had, and it looks like two more will go too. Then I only have two left, and that was too little, so we need to build new as well. We’re still developing the 2016 Fiesta, it’s a great car and I know I can make it better. We are committed to developing it for the coming three years.”
“We have gone our separate ways [from Ford], but I’m doing a lot of stuff going forward that fits into the Fords we have, and the chassis that we’ve built. We’re working to keep our chassis competitive and all the products we come out with will fit to the older chassis. Last year, I made it clear that we upgraded everything I had to the latest model. Now we’re working to get everything around that sorted – spare parts, manuals and technical support to follow our customers. A Supercar in the past meant you built with what you had and nothing fits the other cars. I started that way as well, but now everything is more or less universal. I will continue working and my goal is to make the OMSE Fiestas the fastest Ford out there.”
While Eriksson was, as ever, very open with access his tp facilities, there were a few places that Rallycross World was not allowed to venture on this particular visit. Eriksson has plans for the future on both sides of the Atlantic, and is playing his cards close to his chest. “We’re doing some new things; we’re working hard on new projects and we will reveal everything later this year. I’m trying to get an edge on things and to do something different in rallycross. We’ll see if I succeed, but it looks promising. It’s really hard to be in the front line and trying to make new things all the time, but I’m doing my very best.”
Two freshly rebuilt Fiesta Supercars in the build-bays are nearing completion, amid the plethora of Lites machines ready to be loaded for the far North. Eriksson believes the feeder series is producing the goods in terms of providing competitive racing, and a platform for young drivers to prove themselves. Some of those youngsters may well end up in a Supercar in World RX this season. “Lites is going better and better. When you’re building a new series with a car like this, you need consistency and people need to see over a couple of years that it actually works. My dream with this is that you can start early and you can continue for a long time. When you are ready, when you have done the years you need to do to learn everything, then can take the step up, or by then you have already been spotted as a talent. We’ve had a lot of drivers coming through from the Lites from the first three years. They’re established at the top and this year you will see more of them.” Asked whether his oldest son, Kevin, will feature in World RX this season, Eriksson said: “Obviously Kevin is one of the drivers who is ready to step up. If we can do it – we don’t know if we can yet – the goal is to have him in a car, yes.”
Also sitting in the OMSE workshop, almost complete, is the Pike Peaks International Hillclimb Fiesta that double-World Rally Champion Marcus Gronholm drove in the event in 2009. A car close to Eriksson’s heart, he and Gronholm plan to use it in “some events” and at shows later this year. “He [Gronholm] wants to drive it and I do too. This car is the most fun I ever had. It has enormous power and the way it behaves with its aerodynamics is incredible. But, that was in 2009, how it behaves today I don’t know. But it will be fun anyway. I’ve been restoring it now for three or four years and it’s almost there. I will not release it until it’s ready but I will drive it somewhere. People need to see it in action, it’s amazing!”
« Previous Post Next Post »