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01 Sep 2013

RX: Pailler Jr. & Hansen Jr. tie

Category: ERC, News Posted 01.09.13 01:58 by

Day 1 of Round 7 of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Lohéac in France ended with a tie for the sons of the 1993 ERC winner Jean-Luc Pailler and the 14-times European champion Kenneth Hansen.

 

Like Höljes in the deepest woods of Sweden’s Värmland region Lohéac is a tiny village in the French Brittany. With a population of almost 700 people Lohéac has about double as many inhabitants than Höljes, but both locations host once a year a Rallycross event that attracts more spectators than all other Rallycross venues in Europe.

While the Swedish organisers just missed out to reach the 30,000 people mark in July, the French organisers claim for many a year to have past that mark already long ago. However, as it has never been a hidden fact that in Lohéac the spectator figures of the Saturday and the Sunday are add together, it is rather difficult to say which venue holds the record of sold tickets. But it all looks as if this uncertainty has come to an end now, with the arrival of 9-times World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb. Day 2 at Lohéac is going to leave Höljes far behind regarding the mass of people to watch a round of the new RallycrossRX series.

After a two months summer break the European regulars arrived in Lohéac, where a lot of nowadays ERC contenders have never raced before. The last time that the already third different track of the Brittany village has seen a European round was in 2001. In 1976 the first ever Rallycross event in France was organised at a non-permanent venue, the first ever French ERC round in 1978 was battled out at the first Circuit de Lohéac, that was replaced in 1986 by the current circuit. The 2001 event was won by Kenneth Hansen, the two still racing Frenchmen Jean-Luc Pailler and Hervé “Knapick” Lemonnier claimed second and third place respectively then.

The Saturday started with the usual two free practice sessions, after two hours it was Norwegian Petter Solberg who had marked the fastest time here. Second fastest was Kris Meeke, the Rally ace from Northern Ireland, who has been invited to drive the second Peugeot 208 SuperCar of the French/British Albatec Team. Meeke has never done Rallycross before and impressed many by his speed with the same car that was earlier this season driven by Belgian Michaël De Keersmaecker. Third fastest time was set by multiple Andros Trophy ice-racing series winner and Pikes Peak driver Jean-Philippe Dayraut, this weekend racing a Peugeot 207 SuperCar of the “Knapick” squad.

Day 1 turned out badly for the two French top class drivers Jérôme Grosset-Janin and Jean-Luc Pailler. Both were not able to finish their runs in Heat 1, and subsequently did not show up to the start of Heat 2. Gearbox issues were mentioned to be the cause of their troubles. Timmy Hansen claimed the fastest time in the first heat, while Fabien Pailler made it to second fastest place on Brittany home soil.

Third place went to Petter Solberg, Liam Doran finished in fourth place. Reigning European champion Timur Timerzyanov found himself as fifth fastest on the timekeepers list, Kris Meeke completed the first half-a-dozen with the sixth fastest time. No good event start for Sébastien Loeb, the Rally legend finished his first run with a broken driveshaft in 16th place.

In Heat 2 it was the other way round, this time Fabien Pailler snatched the fastest time away from Timmy Hansen and Timur Timerzyanov. Andreas Bakkerud, who had been seventh in Heat 1, here finished in fourth position. “Super Séb” Loeb did a better job by making fifth place his, his compatriot Davy Jeanney was timed as sixth fastest. Loeb later on: “The second race was quite okay for me, but in the first one I had problems with my diff. As it is important to be consistent, I’m not allowed to do any more mistakes now. The setting of my car in heat two was better than before, so let’s look forward till tomorrow.”

Latvian youngster Reinis Nitišs ruled the Super1600s category, the Set Promotion Team member drove his Renault Clio Mk2 to twice the fastest time. His runner-up in both heats was Set teammate Steven Bossard, while the Frenchman’s compatriot David Olivier scored a third and a fourth time to take third position of the overnight standings.

Among the just eight TouringCar drivers Belgian Koen Pauwels claimed the fastest time of the first runs. But in Heat 2 Irishman Derek Tohill run away from all of his competitors, setting the fastest time here to become the undisputed leader of the Intermediate Classification.

 

 

More Lohéac images to be found here in our Gallery.

 

Situation in SuperCars after Day 1 to be found here.

Situation in Super1600s after Day 1 to be found here.

Situation in TouringCars after Day 1 to be found here.

 

 

The highlights of Day 1.

 

Ridin’ with Timmy Hansen over the Circuit de Lohéac.