Per Eklund

INTRODUCTION

Per Torsten Eklund, nicknamed “Pekka”, began his rallying career in 1964 at 18 years of age. Short of winning a World Championship Rally (WRC) in the Group B era, Eklund nonetheless scored multiple podiums in the early years and was a force to be reckoned with on the national level in Scandinavia. In 1999, he became the FIA European rallycross champion in a highly modified Saab 9-3 4×4, and also won his category in the prestigious hill climb race at Pikes Peak in 2000 and 2002. Per sits alongside Ronnie Peterson, Bjorn Waldegard, Erik Carlsson, and Stig Blomqvist as Sweden’s foremost racing drivers of all time.


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PERSONAL SUMMARY (WRC)

Personal information
Nationality Sweden Swedish
Born 21 June 1946
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1973~1997
Co-driver Sweden Johnny Johansson
United Kingdom Dave Whittock
Sweden Björn Cederberg
Sweden Hans Sylvan
Sweden Ragnar Spjuth
Sweden Jan-Olof Bohlin
Teams Saab, Toyota, Nissan, Austin Rover, Subaru
Rallies 83
Championships 0
Rally wins 1
Podiums 13
Stage wins 73
Total points 270
First rally 1973 Swedish Rally
First win 1976 Swedish Rally
Last rally 1997 RAC Rally

RALLY BIOGRAPHY

1964~1981 – Rallying & Rallycross Debut

Per Eklund made his debut as a rally driver in his father’s Volvo in 1964, just two weeks after his 18th birthday. In 1967, he purchased a Saab 96 to compete as a privateer. In 1970, his rallying career took substantial momentum when he was signed by Saab alongside Stig Blomqvist and Erik Carlsson.

In 1971, Eklund also started driving Rallycross at Valkenswaard in The Netherlands, and some months later he won the first ever Swedish Rallycross event at Hedemora. He first drove a Saab 96 V4, in the early years of the Embassy/ERA European Rallycross Championship as teammate to his compatriot Stig Blomqvist. Per finished second in the first running of his home Swedish event in the WRC. He was always prominent, finishing seventh and fourth overall in the first and second European Rally Championship (ERC) series of 1973 and 1974, respectively.

(c) eWRC-results.com / Per Eklund – Internationale Gulf Tulpenrallye 1977

Back to focusing on his rallying career, Eklund became Swedish Rally Champion in 1978, beating his teammate Blomqvist. In 1979, with Saab terminating its competition activities, Eklund’s contract came to an end so he rallied a triumph TR7 V8 for two years until he caught the eye of Toyota Team Europe (TTE). In 1981, Per would give the Japanese team decent performances with the Celica 2000 GT by consistently finishing in the top 10.

(c) eWRC-results.com / Per Eklund – Acropolis Rally 1981

The Group B Era

In 1982, Per Eklund achieved Saab’s last top position in a WRC event, finishing fourth in the Swedish Rally driving a privately entered, Clarion-sponsored, Saab 99 Turbo. He was always proud of that result since he was able to defeat a few four wheel drive Audi quattros in a snow event. With three second place podiums in that year, Eklund finished a respectable 5th overall of the World Rally Championship for Drivers. A strong achievement considering that he drove for a different team at each event.

Per Eklund – RAC 1983

For 1983 and 1984, Eklund was retained by Toyota to compete in select WRC events with their new Group B Celica TA64 TCT. Per’s most prominent performances being third place podium finishes at the 1983 Rallye Côte d’Ivoire and 1984 RAC event. Up to the end of 1985, he would compete with the Clarion-sponsored privateer team in an Audi quattro A2, also continuing his love affair for Toyotas on the Great Britain rally circuit.

Per Eklund – RAC 1985

All the meanwhile, Per Eklund would participate in the design and testing of the MG Metro 6R4 which was introduced at the last rally of 1985 (RAC – Great Britain). He was signed to the MG Rover team until the end of Group B in 1986 albeit his 6R4 was unfortunately plagued with lots of teething troubles. His best performance of the year came in the ERC’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland  where he finished in second place.

(c) eWRC-results.com / Per Eklund – ADAC Rallye Deutschland 1986

LATER CAREER

From 1987, Eklund would adapt to the Group A replacement formula while driving for a myriad of teams and different cars such as Nissan, Lancia, and Subaru; consistently finishing in the top 10. Per decided to quit international rallying at the end of 1992 to concentrate on his rallycross career. In 1999, Eklund claimed his first and only European rallycross title while driving a much modified Saab 9-3 4×4.

In 2000, Per Eklund entered a variation of his powerful rallycross car, a Saab 9-3 Viggen 4×4, at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (USA). With more spoilers and more horsepower than its rallycross variant, Per won the Unlimited category, later repeating the exploit in 2002.

Up until 2009, his last full rallycross season, Eklund was one of the fastest competitors of the European Rallycross Championship circuit.

PARTIAL SOURCE: Wikipedia (1) – (2)

(possibly spell-checked, translated, and/or edited; abridged, corrected, and/or expanded)


GROUP B RESULTS (WRC)

(# = finish position / R = retired or DNF / = did not compete)

Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Brazil
BR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
82 Multi 4 2 2 R R 2 9 57
Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Argentina
AR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
83 Multi R 4 3 R 22
84 Multi 3 R 6 3 30
85 Audi (Clarion) 5 6 4 24
86 Austin R 7 7 United States
US –
86 pts 8

AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

  • FIA European Rallycross Champion with Saab 9-3T 16 4×4: 1999
  • FIA European Rallycross Runner-up: 1998, 2002, 2003
  • Swedish Rallycross Champion: 2004

GALLERY


VIDEOS


REFERENCES

(C) Page by Jay Auger – website owner & author


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