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07 Sep 2014

WRX: Solberg’s third

Category: News, WRX Posted 07.09.14 23:45 by

In front of tens of thousands of spectators Norwegian Petter Solberg made the French ‘Temple of Rallycross’ at Lohéac his, claiming his third overall victory in Round 8 of the all-new FIA World Rallycross Championship series.

 

2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg is getting closer to his target to become the first ever driver to win two FIA World Championship titles in completely different carsport disciplines. Hailed by a huge crowd the Norwegian bagged his third win of the inaugural WorldRX series at the Circuit de Lohéac in the French Brittany. Reinis Nitišs made it to runner-up, while Swede Timmy Hansen, who had dominated qualification, reached the chequered flag in third place, almost side by side with the Latvian.

 

After his victory at the 'Temple of Rallycross' Petter Solberg was hailed by the fans. © JKR/ERC24

After his victory at the ‘Temple of Rallycross’ Petter Solberg was hailed by the fans. © JKR/ERC24

 

Timmy Hansen had dominated the qualification runs, but eventually finished third. © JKR/ERC24

Timmy Hansen had dominated the qualification runs, but eventually finished third. © JKR/ERC24

 

Day 2 at Lohéac started at 8:00 in the morning with the one hour long Warm-Up sessions. After setting the best times in Heat 1 and 2 on Saturday Timmy Hansen was still in good form, the Peugeot campaigner being able to do his fastest lap in 37.344s. Ford man Andreas Bakkerud was second fastest with – 37.345s… Third fastest time was marked by Audi driver Pontus Tidemand who did his best lap in 37.494s.

Heat 3 ended with Timmy Hansen once again on top of the following order. Andreas Bakkerud finished as second fastest while Petter Solberg was for the third time third fastest. Heat 4 brought the best result of the weekend for Bakkerud, the OMSE driver set the fastest time ahead of Davy Jeanney and Timur Timerzyanov here. However, for homeboy Jeanney the weekend was over, the Frenchman finished 13th and, thereby, missed a place in the Semi-Finals.

 

While Reinis Nitišs (left) made it to runner-up Andreas Bakkerud (right) got stuck in SF2. © JKR/ERC24

While Reinis Nitišs (left) made it to runner-up Andreas Bakkerud (right) got stuck in SF2. © JKR/ERC24

 

Ken Block proved in Lohéac that he is able to dice with the best Europeans. © JKR/ERC24

Ken Block proved in Lohéac that he is able to dice with the best Europeans. © JKR/ERC24

 

After pole-sitter Timmy Hansen produced a poor start Semi-Final 1 fell prey to Pontus Tidemand. With Hansen in second and his teammate Timur Timerzyanov in third place now the first three drivers had claimed their tickets for the Final. They were soon joined by winner Petter Solberg, second Reinis Nitišs and third Ken Block who used Semi-Final 2 to pave their way into the last race of the day.

The all decisive Final saw Petter Solberg scoring a never callenged start-to-finish victory. Reinis Nitišs became the runner-up, crossing the finish line almost side by side with third placed Timmy Hansen. American Ken Block missed the podium in fourth place, but proved once again that he can compete with the strongest European Rallycross drivers. Bad luck for Pontus Tidemand and Timur Timerzyanov here. While the Swede dropped with a puncture down to fifth place the Russian had to throw in the towel already in the opening lap. A tussle on turn three saw ‘TT’ hit a wall and break his car’s steering.

 

At the end of the day Timur Timerzyanov didn't get far in the Final. © JKR/ERC24

At the end of the day Timur Timerzyanov didn’t get far in the Final. © JKR/ERC24

 

The Monster grid queens seemingly enjoyed another WorldRX weekend. © JKR/ERC24

The Monster grid queens seemingly enjoyed another WorldRX weekend. © JKR/ERC24

 

Watch out when you let them go! © JKR/ERC24

Watch out when you let them go! © JKR/ERC24

 

“I’m tired, exhausted, sweaty and happy – this has been an unbelievable weekend,” grinned Solberg later on. “Yesterday was not perfect – we struggled with tyrewear, but my mechanics worked really hard on the car until 1:00 in the morning and I noticed a big change overnight. I have a lot of new parts for the next race in Germany, so as long as we keep scoring points everything looks very good for the championship. My son [Oliver] also won the Swedish Crosskart Championship this weekend, so it’s been a really great weekend all round.”

Successfully pushing Ford Olsbergs MSE back to the top of the Teams’ Championship this weekend was Reinis Nitišs who finished on the podium for the fourth time this season. “Last year I won in Super1600 in Lohéac, so I am really happy to be back on the podium again but this time in the Supercar. I love this event – there are so many fans and the circuit is amazing with lots of flat out sections.”

 

Reigning French Rallycross Champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin eventually got stuck in Semi-Final 2. © JKR/ERC24

Reigning French Rallycross Champion Jérôme Grosset-Janin eventually got stuck in Semi-Final 2. © JKR/ERC24

 

Bruno Famin, the director of Peugeot Sport, was with the Hansen team at Lohéac. © JKR/ERC24

Bruno Famin, the director of Peugeot Sport, was with the Hansen team at Lohéac. © JKR/ERC24

 

Arguably the most impressive drive of the weekend was that of Timmy Hansen for Team Peugeot-Hansen, but the Swede had hoped for a better final result. “I am a little disappointed to finish third, but I know that I won’t be tomorrow morning as it is a great result for the team,” explained the 21-year-old at the end of day press conference. “I gambled a bit in the Semi-Finals – I had the RPM too low and didn’t have the best start. I was at the back of the grid for the Final, but I think I had one of the best races of my life as I fought my way up to second place before dropping to third. I know we’ve had a fast car this year and I’m really happy to have been able to produce a podium for Peugeot in front of the manufacturer’s home crowd.”

 

Super1600s: Master of the house Steven Bossard made the home WRX round his. © JKR/ERC24

Super1600s: Master of the house Steven Bossard made the home WRX round his. © JKR/ERC24

 

Bossard after his overall victory on home soil. © JKR/ERC24

Bossard after his overall victory on home soil. © JKR/ERC24

 

TouringCars: Norwegian David Nordgård was unbeatable in Lohéac. © JKR/ERC24

TouringCars: Norwegian David Nordgård was unbeatable in Lohéac. © JKR/ERC24

 

In the Super1600 FIA European Rallycross Championship category, which fielded 33 cars this weekend, Frenchman Steven Bossard won in front of a delighted home crowd. Russia’s Nikita Misyulya finished second while Bossard’s compatriot Andréa Dubourg made it a double podium for the local drivers. Russian Sergej Zagumennov finished fourth, but remains at the top of the S1600 standings.

Norway’s David Nordgård racked up four heat wins and went on to pick the laurels of the TouringCar category at the wheel of his Ford Fiesta. Swede Daniel Lundh and Norwegian Anders Bråten finished second and third respectively. Lundh continues to lead the TC series.

 

Final results of the SuperCars to be found here.

Final results of the Super1600s to be found here.

Final results of the TouringCars to be found here.

 

For more images please visit our Flickr gallery here.

 

Top photo: Petter Solberg heading towards his third WRX round victory. © JKR/ERC24