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30 Jun 2014

WRX: Foust plays wildcard out

Category: News, WRX Posted 30.06.14 02:00 by

American Tanner Foust made good use of his Kouvola wildcard to win the Finnish round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship series from the OMSE team duo Andreas Bakkerud and Reinis Nitišs.

 

Day 2 at Kouvola kicked off with the usual warm-up session, after 60 minutes Petter Solberg setting the fastest time here. Second fastest became Timur Timerzyanov, ahead of Toomas Heikkinen, Pontus Tidemand, Liam Doran and Andreas Bakkerud. The weather was still fine yet and promised good racing, at least for the runs of Heat 3 that followed soon.

Here it was Anton Marklund who took up on his superb form he’d shown on Saturday, setting the fastest time of the weekend with 2:53.034m. Second fastest was Andreas Bakkerud with 2:53.179m, while his OMSE teammate Reinis Nitišs finished in third place with a time of 2:53.433m. However, the results of this third heat became quite a controversy due to the happenings in and around Race 5. Here it was Timmy Hansen who made an attempt to dive into a ‘gap’ between the Ford Fiesta of Andreas Bakkerud and the guardrails. But the gap was too small and Hansen Junior nudged both, the guardrails and the tail of the Bakkerud car, which immediately resulted in a barrel-roll for the Peugeot campaigner. Bakkerud, who was supposed to be the bad guy, who had send Hansen into his summersaults, was subsequently excluded from the following re-run that went over a rather wet track.

 

The Peugeot 208 of Timmy Hansen is out of control... © JoLo/ERC24

The Peugeot 208 of Timmy Hansen is out of control… © JoLo/ERC24

 

© JoLo/ERC24

© JoLo/ERC24

 

© JoLo/ERC24

© JoLo/ERC24

 

But that was not the end of the affair. When it was decided that Bakkerud was not guilty of the Hansen shunt and the times of the re-run turned out to be more than 7 seconds slower, the original times were re-instated to the ‘delight’ of some of the other drivers. Petter Solberg claimed: “The third heat was an unprecedented chaos. When all the racing was done and the times had been fixed, after a black flag for one of the cars, the last race was send out once more to do a re-run. But now the track was wet and when the times turned out to be slower the original times came into use again. With the result, that a driver, that has actually not participated in this heat, became second fastest with a fictional time. There were several of us who wondered about the variety of what happened. I will say that I’m not a supporter of rules being changed on the way to a world championship. The sport would lose out.”

 

The Ford drivers Bakkerud and Nitišs while showering VW campaigner Foust with champain. © OMSE/QNIGAN/ERC24

The Ford drivers Bakkerud and Nitišs while showering VW campaigner Foust with champagne. © OMSE/QNIGAN/ERC24

 

The Kouvola SuperCars podium with Andreas Bakkerud, Tanner Foust and Reinis Nitišs. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

The Kouvola SuperCars podium with Andreas Bakkerud, Tanner Foust and Reinis Nitišs. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Andreas Bakkerud claimed second place and 26 WRX points in Kouvola. © JoLo/ERC24

Andreas Bakkerud claimed second place and 26 WRX points in Kouvola. © JoLo/ERC24

 

Reinis Nitišs extended his championship lead in Finland. © OMSE/QNIGAN/ERC24

Reinis Nitišs extended his championship lead in Finland. © OMSE/QNIGAN/ERC24

 

For the rest of the day continuing rainfalls hampered the competitors a lot and the rain-soaked Tykkimäen Moottorirata turned into a very tricky battleground. Heat 4 fell prey to Tanner Foust who drove the Marklund Motorsport wildcard VW Polo Mk5 to 3:14.523m, the fastest time here. Second fastest was for the third time Andreas Bakkerud with his 3:16.696m. Finn Joni-Pekka Rajala impressed the people by driving a rented Škoda Fabia Mk2 of Hedströms Motorsport to a race win with 3:16.893m that eventually was the third fastest time of this fourth heat.

The two Semi-Finals turned into a nightmare, with half of the competitors getting lost in the action. In SF1 homeboy Rajala was the first to spin into the barriers. Both Team Peugeot-Hansen drivers Timur Timerzyanov and Timmy Hansen had also hard contact with the armcos. With the result that the Russian had to throw in the towel in the first lap while for the Swede the second lap brought the end of the day. With three cars out of contention the chequered flag was dropped for winner Reinis Nitišs, runner-up Andreas Bakkerud and Pole Krzysztof Skorupski only.

 

Russian Nikita Misyulya powering his orange coloured Škoda Fabia Mk2 to victory in Super1600s. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Russian Nikita Misyulya powering his orange coloured Škoda Fabia Mk2 to victory in Super1600s. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Swede Daniel Lundh (Volvo C30 RWD) bagged overall victory in TouringCars. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Swede Daniel Lundh (Volvo C30 RWD) bagged overall victory in TouringCars. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

SF2 turned out to be even worse, no less than four of the six competitors did not get much further than the first corner. Toomas Heikkinen crashed into the barriers, taking Derek Tohill and Liam Doran with him into utter chaos. Petter Solberg became also victim of the incident as he was not able to avoid slamming into the pile of cars that blocked the road. After the red flag came out a re-run with just three cars saw Tanner Foust winning from teammate Anton Marklund, while Solberg played safe to limp his defective DS3 home over the six laps distance.

The last race of the weekend lost just one driver, Joni-Pekka Rajala had to give up in the second lap. The Finn had been called to replace Petter Solberg when the Norwegian did not arrive in due time for the start of the Final. Solberg: “We did not get enough time to replace all broken parts before the Final. My mechanics were missing less than two minutes to get the car ready for the starting grid. It came down from the jacks when all the cars for the Final were lined up, and I was standing under my umbrella and was waiting for them to arrive. I am pretty disappointed with what happened. If that is going to cost me a possible world title, it would be really frustrating.”

Foust produced the best Final start, leading the field quite safe into the first corner. Bakkerud, Nitišs and Skorupski battled for second place, but not much changed on the way to the finish line in the process. After four laps Foust had made up enough advantage to safely play his Joker and still remain in a healthy lead. When the chequered flag was dropped the American, after 2013, had won Kouvola for the second time back-to-back. Bakkerud and Nitišs finished in second and respectively third place to put the VW driver into a Ford sandwich on the winners’ rostrum. Skorupski claimed fourth place and thereby his best result of the year so far. Marklund finished in fifth place, adding 22 championship points to his tally.

 

Double World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm and his son Niclas. © JoLo/ERC24

Double World Rally Champion Marcus Grönholm and his son Niclas. © JoLo/ERC24

 

Kevin Hansen en route to his first WorldRX victory in the RX Lites category. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

Kevin Hansen en route to his first WorldRX victory in the RX Lites category. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

After recently making it to 16 years of age Kevin Hansen is now able to compete in WorldRX. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

After recently making it to 16 years of age Kevin Hansen is now able to compete in WorldRX. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

16-year-old Swede Kevin Hansen made the RX Lites category his by winning the Final from Turkish racer Yiğit Timur and Finnish Rallycross newbie Niclas Grönholm, the offspring of WRC legend Marcus Grönholm. Victory in Super1600s was bagged by Russian Nikita Misyulya from Latvian Jānis Baumanis and fellow-Russian Rasul Minnikhanov. And as the top three of the results in TouringCars it was Swede Daniel Lundh, Finn Jari Järvenpää and Norwegian Torleif Lona who entered the Kouvola podium.

 

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.

Final results of the RX Lites category to be found here.

 

Top photo: Tanner Foust en route to overall victory over the rain-soaked Kouvola soil. © Toni Ollikainen/ERC24

 

Day 2 Final Highlights