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Ongoing co-operation for Saab, Clarion and Per Eklund

Per Eklund, Saab and the Clarion Team Europe will continue their co-operation in Rallycross next year when Per will compete for the first time a new Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan.

As Saab homologates its 9-3 Sport Sedan for competition, it is continuing its co-operation with the rallycross driver Per Eklund and his team, the Clarion Team Europe. That means next year the reigning Swedish champion will campaign an extreme version of the Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan, both in the Swedish and in the European Rallycross Championships.

“All the indications suggest that the car will turn out to be highly competitive,” asserts Björn Berglöf, motor-sport co-ordinator at Saab Automobile in Trollhättan. He goes on:

“Among other things, the regulation minimum weight of rallycross cars is to be raised from 1,120 to 1,200 kilos, which is an advantage for Per since his car has been too heavy this season in comparison to the WRC cars it competes with.”

Saab will assist Per Eklund's team in the building of competition bodyshells, while the final adjustments to Eklund's in-house chassis design, engine and transmission will be handled entirely by the Arvika-based team. Saab stresses the importance of good construction.

“Building a racing bodyshell is always an engineering challenge of the highest order. Materials and technical solutions must be matched,” Björn Berglöf says. The special challenge, as he sees it, will be the work of manufacturing many body components in carbon fiber and other materials that are relatively new in the context of the automotive industry.

“The competition car is being built around an original Saab 9-3 body, but modified with carbon-fiber parts. Some items will be specially designed by the team expressly to suit four-wheel drive.”

“The Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan is ideal for competition use,” says Per Eklund. “The basic design of the car is decidedly sporty, with a body possessing great torsional rigidity.” “We ourselves work with technical solutions and materials that come very close to Formula 1 standards, so this car has every prospect of being highly competitive,” adds Per.

So a great engineering challenge, in combination with Värmland cunning, lies in the task of designing and building a new competition car within the limits laid down for rallycross's heavyweight class, Division 1.

April 2005, should see the first fruits of the team's work, when Per Eklund, as reigning champion, takes the starting line with his new Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan. At that point, his 1997 Swedish Championship and his 1999 European Championship will be passed into history together with his previous car.
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