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14 Jun 2014

WRX: Nitišs makes Day 1 his

Category: News, WRX Posted 14.06.14 23:30 by

Latvian teenager Reinis Nitišs leads the Intermediate Classification after Day 1 of WorldRX Norway, having set FTD in Heat 1 and claimed the second fastest time in Heat 2 as the runner-up to Brit Liam Doran.

 

For Round 3 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship the competitors gathered in Hell, a Norwegian village not far from the harbour town of Trondheim. For Norwegians the name of the place is not at all funny, as their word for the English term hell is ‘helvete’. But as the international language of Rallycross is English the phrases ‘Rallycross in Hell’, ‘See you in Hell’ or ‘Welcome to Hell’ have become very popular with media people and the Rallycross fans alike.

 

Welcome to Hell! © JKR/ERC24

Welcome to Hell! © JKR/ERC24

 

American social media superstar Ken Block raised a lot of interest among press people. © JKR/ERC24

American social media superstar Ken Block raised a lot of interest among the press people. © JKR/ERC24

 

While WRX Round 2 at Lydden Hill had 37 SuperCars on offer a total of 35 of the top-class machinery arrived at the Lånkebanen in Hell. Possibly the most pre-event interest of the media attracted American superstar Ken Block who is participating for the first time ever in a Rallycross event fully overseen by motorsport governing body FIA. But also the return of ex-F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve, who missed out the British WRX round due to his Indy 500 commitment, is getting a lot of coverage by the international press.

The Saturday began very well for Team Peugeot-Hansen as it was Swede Timmy Hansen who clocked with 39.448s the fastest time during Free Practice. The son of 14-times European champion Kenneth Hansen was closely followed by his Russian teammate Timur Timerzyanov (39.512s). Finn Toomas Heikkinen (39.583s) made it to third fastest, Ken Block (39.674s) made an impression by clocking the fourth time, homeboy Andreas Bakkerud (39.700s) was fifth fastest and his Latvian OMSE teammate Reinis Nitišs (39.713s) set the sixth fastest time.

 

When Hell breakes loose is possibly 'British Bomb' Liam Doran in front. © JKR/ERC24

When Hell breakes loose is possibly ‘British Bomb’ Liam Doran in front. © JKR/ERC24

 

The Monster Grid Queens are always chased by the snappers. © JKR/ERC24

The Monster Grid Queens are always chased by some snappers. © JKR/ERC24

 

However, it did not take long that Nitišs proved himself as the man to beat on Saturday, as the 18-year-old posted with 2:45.315s FTD in Heat 1. In Heat 2 the Latvian was once again in top form, finishing in second place behind Briton Liam Doran who did a time of 2:45.488s over four Lånkebanen laps. “The car is perfect, but I am not happy with myself – I make a lot of small mistakes,” admitted Nitišs later. “I was braking too late and kept looking in the mirror to check if I had lost time. Tomorrow I need to drive without mistakes and get off to a good start in every race.”

While the teenager leads the overnight standings with 95 points, but is nevertheless his own harshest critic, Liam Doran (second with 90 points) was pleased with his Day 1 performance. “I’m very relieved,” said the Brit. “I have to admit that I had some doubts with my driving after the last two events and even though we’ve had some car problems, I was still worried. So today is a big, big relief. I’d love to be on the podium again, I really enjoy this track – it’s very technical and challenging, but it’s awesome to race here.”

 

The EKS team debuted the Audi S1 SuperCars of Pontus Tidemand and Mattias Ekström in Hell. © JKR/ERC24

The EKS team debuted the Audi S1 SuperCars of Pontus Tidemand and Mattias Ekström in Hell. © JKR/ERC24

 

Swede Mattias Ekström is happy to be part of the Rallycross circus now. © JKR/ERC24

Swede Mattias Ekström is happy to be part of the Rallycross circus now. © JKR/ERC24

 

Holding third place overnight with 84 points is Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport driver Toomas Heikkinen in the VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar. “We’ve had a consistent day with a second and a fifth place finish,” said the Finn. “This is the third time that I’ve been in the top three after the first two heats, so it’s good to be here once again. I know I can go even quicker tomorrow, so now the team will make some changes overnight and we will see what tomorrow brings.”

 

Call it Hell or call it Rallycross heaven...  © JKR/ERC24

Call it Hell or call it Rallycross heaven… © JKR/ERC24

 

Toomas 'Topi' Heikkinen (VW Polo Mk5) is in third place after Day 1. © JKR/ERC24

Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen (VW Polo Mk5) is in third place after Day 1. © JKR/ERC24

 

Yeaaaaaaaaah, daddy promised to buy me a WRX hoodie later today... © JKR/ERC24

Yeaaaaaaaaah, daddy promised to buy me a WRX hoodie later this weekend… © JKR/ERC24

 

Sergey Zagumennov (Škoda Fabia Mk2) is leading the overnight standings of the Super1600s category, the Russian claimed the fastest time in Heat 2 and was fourth in Heat 1. Dane Ulrik Linnemann (Peugeot 208) is currently second, while with Nikita Misyulya (Škoda Fabia Mk2) there is another Russian in third place now. The TouringCars class is an almost sole Norwegian affair, among the 16 drivers there are just 2 foreigners. After Day 1 Norwegian Atle Vik (Mazda RX-8) is leading the Intermediate Standings ahead of his compatriots David Nordgård and Torleif Lona (each with a Ford Fiesta Mk7 RWD).

 

More Hell 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.

 

Top photo: Latvian OMSE teenager Reinis Nitišs (Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST) ruled Day 1 in Norway. © JKR/ERC24