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16 Jun 2014

WRX: Nitišs takes Norway

Category: News, WRX Posted 16.06.14 02:00 by

After ruling the Saturday of WorldRX Norway that 18-year-old Latvian talent Reinis Nitišs wasn’t able to set another fastest qualifying time on Sunday, but claimed Semi-Final 2 and the all decisive Final to make Hell his.

 

Like in Open Practice on Day 1 Team Peugeot-Hansen started Day 2 very well, Timmy Hansen and Timur Timerzyanov once again being clocked as fastest and second fastest here. Heat 3 saw Liam Doran winning his race and setting the fastest time with 2:44.691m, Timerzyanov and Anton Marklund made it to second and third respectively. Andreas Bakkerud finished in fourth place, thereby scoring his best qualification result at his home track. Hansen Junior following in fifth place, Petter Solberg was sixth fastest.

 

Youngster Reinis Nitišs feels a bit helpless between the two giants. © JKR/ERC24

New kid on the Block: Youngster Reinis Nitišs feels a bit helpless between the two giants Solberg and Block. © JKR/ERC24

 

Reigning European champion Timur Timerzyanov (Peugeot 208) missed out a place on the rostrum. © JKR/ERC24

Reigning European champion Timur Timerzyanov (Peugeot 208) missed out a place on the rostrum. © JKR/ERC24

 

In Heat 4 Solberg the Younger raced his Citroën DS3 with 2:43.948m to the fastest time of the weekend, remaining the only driver to do four Lånkebanen laps in under 2:44 minutes. The places two to six on the time-keepers list were taken by Toomas Heikkinen, Timerzyanov, Nitišs, Hansen and Daniel Holten. When the qualifying runs were all done and the Intermediate Classification published the twelve best drivers prepared themselves for the Semi-Finals. Not among the dozen were, due to various reasons, motorsport stars like Pontus Tidemand, Jacques Villeneuve, Tommy Rustad and Mattias Ekström.

 

Liam Doran got stuck in his Semi-Final, a puncture hindered him to reach the Final event. © JKR/ERC24

Liam Doran got stuck in his Semi-Final, a puncture hindered him to reach the Final event. © JKR/ERC24

 

Petter Solberg lost home soil to a Latvian 18-year-old SuperCar rookie. © JKR/ERC24

Petter Solberg lost home soil to a Latvian 18-year-old SuperCar rookie. © JKR/ERC24

 

American guest driver Ken Block and Norwegian racing all-rounder Tommy Rustad battle it out. © JKR/ERC24

American guest driver Ken Block and Norwegian racing all-rounder Tommy Rustad battle it out. © JKR/ERC24

 

Semi-Final 1 fell prey to Petter Solberg, the 2003 World Rally Champion starting the race from the second row of the grid and went straight into the Joker Lap detour. Liam Doran didn’t make good use of his pole position here, since it was Timur Timerzyanov who took the lead. The Brit dog-hounded the Russian for four laps, but then lost his ticket for the Final due to a flat tyre in lap five. Meanwhile Solberg had gained territory and when ‘TT’ played his Joker in the last lap the Norwegian took the first place from the Peugeot campaigner, crossing the finish line with an advantage of just a car length. Henning Solberg claimed third place while for Anton Marklund, Liam Doran and Daniel Holten the event was over.

 

Pontus Tidemand (Audi A1) finished in 14th place overall... © JKR/ERC24

Pontus Tidemand (Audi A1) finished in 14th place overall… © JKR/ERC24

 

...while his EKS team boss Mattias Ekström became 20th overall. © JKR/ERC24

…while his EKS team boss Mattias Ekström became 20th overall. © JKR/ERC24

 

Semi-Final 2 saw Timmy Hansen producing a superb start from the second row, but reaching the first corner possibly somewhat too fast the Swede used the momentum to throw his Peugeot 208 straight into the alternative route for the Joker Lap. Therefore, all advantage went to Reinis Nitišs who then was in the lead over all the six laps. However, after the Latvian came out of his Joker Lap Hansen had made up space and the duo went side by side over the finish line, the Ford campaigner just a fraction of a second ahead of the Peugeot driver. After Toomas Heikkinen almost spinning his VW Polo in the first lap and Andreas Bakkerud clashing with Ken Block the American was able to pave his way into the Final by reaching the chequered flag in third position.

 

Ex-F1 driver David Coulthard attended the Hell event as brand ambassador for Cooper Tires. © JKR/ERC24

Ex-F1 driver David Coulthard attended the Hell event as brand ambassador for Cooper Tires. © JKR/ERC24

 

Red, blue and white were the dominating colours in Norway's Hell. © JKR/ERC24

Red, blue and white were the dominating colours in Norway’s Hell. © JKR/ERC24

 

In the all decisive Final it was once again Nitišs who was setting the pace, hardly chased by Timerzyanov. The Russian played his Joker in Lap 4, subsequently losing his second position to Petter Solberg. The Norwegian then looked like having a fair chance to catch the leading Latvian, but Nitišs was eventually quick enough to bring a few metres of advantage to the finish. Behind runner-up Solberg the ‘Hoonigan in Chief’ Ken Block had also been able to pass Timerzyanov, thereby making it right up the podium in his first ever visit to a proper European Rallycross track.

“This is amazing – just amazing,” beamed Nitišs who now leads Solberg by three points. “I will not forget today – I was racing in front of two stars and finished ahead of a World Rally Champion. Today is June 15 and 15 is my racing car number – it is a number which brings me a lot of luck and this is the best feeling. My aim at the start of the season was to finish in the top 12; I really didn’t imagine I could win today!” Solberg was full of praise for the Hell RX winner: “I am very impressed with Reinis – he is young and put a lot of pressure on me today. He really deserves this win, he is very quick.”

 

The Super1600 winners (from left) Linnemann, Baumanis and Isaksætre. © JKR/ERC24

The Super1600 winners (from left) Linnemann, Baumanis and Isaksætre. © JKR/ERC24

 

The Final of the TouringCar category has just got its GO! order. © JKR/ERC24

The Final of the TouringCar category has got its GO! signal. © JKR/ERC24

 

As well as securing third in WorldRX, Block was also crowned the winner of the hotly-contested FIA European Rallycross Championship (EuroRX), of which there were 23 entries. “I really couldn’t be happier,” grinned the charismatic American. “This is my first time on a proper Rallycross track and to finish the event alongside two great guys [Nitišs and Solberg] on the podium is awesome. I struggled with the starts and haven’t quite figured it out yet, but WorldRX is an awesome championship and it’s been great for myself and the team to see how everything works.”

 

The WorldRX venue at Hell is about 30kms away from the town of Trondheim. © JKR/ERC24

The WorldRX venue at Hell is about 30kms away from the harbour town of Trondheim. © JKR/ERC24

 

Frode Holte is still fighting with teething troubles of his all-new Hyundai i20 SuperCar. © JKR/ERC24

Frode Holte is still fighting with teething troubles of his all-new Hyundai i20 SuperCar. © JKR/ERC24

 

After two heat victories plus a semi and final victory Latvia’s Jānis Baumanis won the Super1600 category. Second place was awarded to Dane Ulrik Linnemann, with Norwegian Espen Isaksætre finishing third. “It’s my 22nd birthday today and this is the best way to celebrate,” grinned Baumanis, who now lies fifth in the S1600 standings. Round one and two winner Sergey Zagumennov continues to lead the category with 79 points. In the TouringCar class it was Norwegian Tom Daniel Tånevik who clinched the victory in his Mazda RX-8. Swede Daniel Lundh took second place, the in Sweden born Norwegian passport and racing licence holder Fredrik Salsten made it to third place overall.

 

More Hell images to be found here in our Gallery.

 

Final results of the SuperCar category to be found here.

Final results of the Super1600 category to be found here.

Final results of the TouringCar category to be found here.

 

Top photo: The SuperCar Final has been started, the sixpack is on its way to the first corner. © JKR/ERC24