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06 Sep 2013

PR: Set Promotion

Category: Press Releases Posted 06.09.13 11:30 by

Team Set Promotion dominated round seven of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in Lohéac last weekend, locking out the top two steps of the podium.

 

For the fourth time this season Latvian hot-shoe Reinis Nitišs scored the overall win, claiming maximum points with victories in all four heats, as well as in his semi-final and the grand final. He was pushed all the way to the line though by team mate Steven Bossard, who had joined the team for the French race weekend, replacing Kevin Eriksson.

“I did it! It was one of the most important races of the year,” said Reinis after the race. “It wasn’t easy, there were a lot of strong drivers here, and it was a very competitive field. I just had to focus on putting in clean laps in all the races. I am so close to the title now, so I just need to keep pushing.”

Bossard was the closest matched driver to Nitišs over both days, having scored three second place finishes in the heats, and a win in his semi-final. In the grand final, Bossard crossed the line just three tenths behind Nitišs, pushing his team mate in a close but fair race all the way to the line.

“It has been a really nice but difficult weekend,” said Bossard. “I had to conserve the tyres for the final which has made the weekend tough. I got a good start in the final, but Reinis had the inside line. I got behind him, and tried to make a move on the joker. I am really happy with this result, and I hope the team are happy too.”

Behind them team mate Ildar Rakhmatullin qualified in third place in the intermediate classification after the heats. The Russian driver went on to finish seventh overall at the end of the weekend, after a fourth place finish in semi-final one meant he was just outside the cut-off for the grand final.

Timur Shigaboutdinov now sits in seventh position in the championship after another solid drive at the Lohéac. Despite suffering a loss of power in heat four meaning a 30th place finish, Shigaboutdinov kept his cool and finished the day in 11th place overall, having finished second on his semi-final.

With just two races remaining in the 2013 championship, Team Set Promotion now has five drivers in the top eleven positions, making it the most successful team in the Super1600s category.

“First of all coming into this race was a big challenge but I think the whole team was really motivated,” said Team Manager Jussi Pinomäki. “We’ve had a long break from RallycrossRX, six weeks is a long time to be off, but everybody was really looking forward to being back here again. Coming into France and to Lohéac is something spectacular. I raced here in 2005 and remembered a little bit how it was, which was great, it was big at that time, but not this big! With all the local guys being present we had 40 cars in the entry list. We know the French drivers are fast – we saw that at all weekend. In the end we had only two regular European drivers in the final. The difference this year was that now everybody was using the same tyres. Previously when we had been in France, the French drivers had been using different makes of tyres. So perhaps they had been at a slight disadvantage. Now with Cooper it is more even, so we knew that to make the maximum result here we need to be ready to fight and go right to the limit.”

“It was an incredible weekend for Reinis – not a single mistake – always on top, and really really fast. He has now got a good position for the championship. The points scoring system is tough, so he needs to keep up the good work in the remaining races. But nothing is sure yet and this sport is always a matter of small things. In Austria and Germany we will most likely have big entries and some good competition. But above that I am happy how Reinis performed this weekend. He is only 17 years old and drove like he has years of experience and it is something I really admire and I am proud of him!”

“I knew what Steven was capable of doing here – speed-wise I knew how well he could perform, but it wasn’t easy for him. A lot of people were expecting a good result from him because he has been the French champion and a lot of people want to beat him because of that. Despite the pressure I think he did the maximum result he could this weekend. He only had six tyres for the races, and the track is really hard on tyres. So until the semi-finals begun he did all the practice sessions, warm-up and four heats on the same set of tyres. So I don’t think he could have been any faster with the amount of tyres that he had available.”

“Ildar had a little bit of an up and down weekend. Third place going after heats wasn’t bad at all, and then in the semi-final he made a little bit of a mistake. I think maybe we played the joker not quite right and that’s why we lost one position and didn’t make it to the final. But still we were 1-2-3 after the heats. We would have been 1-2-3-4 in fact, but Shigaboutdinov had a technical problem with the car in the fourth heat. The engine shut down, and rolled through the chicane in the joker with the engine off, and then it restarted. If he didn’t have the problem and finished in a similar position that he did in the others, most likely he would have been around fourth in the intermediate. Even with the problem I think Shigaboutdinov drove his best race this weekend. He was really fast and made no mistakes, and like this year, I think he has taken big steps forward again.”

“Still all four cars in the top nine – everyone scored points, and the cars are in really good shape. I was really proud of the way all the drivers behaved on track this weekend. They were all quick, but they also respected each other and drove fairly. I saw them shake hands before they race, and that’s the way I want to see it.”

 

Photo: Latvian Reinis Nitišs claimed his fourth 2013 RallycrossRX round victory. © JKR/ERC24