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25 Apr 2015

WRX: Bakkerud ahead of Solberg

Category: News, WRX Posted 25.04.15 22:45 by

The FIA World Rallycross Championship today started its 2015 season in soaking wet weather on a muddy track at Montalegre in Portugal. After Day 1 it is Ford campaigner Andreas Bakkerud who leads the Overnight Standings, Citroën driver and reigning World Champion Petter Solberg is in second position.

 

While two years ago the Portuguese ERX round at the Pista Automóvel de Montalegre (900 m above sea level) was hampered by snow on Day 1, and last year’s first ever WRX event was run under bright sunshine all weekend, the 2015 WorldRX series started with heavy rain falls. Although Timmy Hansen was leading the Open Practice sessions for quite some time it was eventually that Swedish all-rounder Mattias Ekström (0:41.102s) who finished the test runs ahead of his two compatriots Hansen (0:41.513s) and Johan Kristoffersson (0:41.525s).

 

Bad weather all day at the Pista Automóvel de Montalegre. © JKR/ERC24

Bad weather all day at the Pista Automóvel de Montalegre. © JKR/ERC24

 

Petter Solberg and his 560+bhp Citroën DS3 SuperCar ploughing the Portuguese soil. © JKR/ERC24

Petter Solberg and his 560+bhp Citroën DS3 SuperCar ploughing the Portuguese soil. © JKR/ERC24

 

Among the 21 SuperCar starters it was Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud (2:57.174m) who made good use of his Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST to post the fastest time in Heat 1. Timmy Hansen (2:57.488m) finished in second place while Bakkerud’s former mentor and fellow countryman Petter Solberg (2:57.527m) made it to third.

“I’m happy with my performance today; the conditions were very tricky for the start, so I focused on that,” explained leader Bakkerud at the end of Day 1. “As long as we’re top seven in the rest of the heats then we will have good points to get into the Semi-Finals. For sure I want more speed to come later on and I know we are not even close to the limit yet.”

 

Timmy Hansen, here pictured speaking during the pre-event press conference, is currently third. © JKR/ERC24

Timmy Hansen, here pictured speaking during the pre-event press conference, is currently third. © JKR/ERC24

 

'P-G' Andersson showed in the VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar of Marklund Motorsport proper skills and speed. © JKR/ERC24

‘P-G’ Andersson showed in the VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar of Marklund Motorsport proper skills and speed. © JKR/ERC24

 

The rain continued for Heat 2 which saw ‘Hollywood’ Solberg (3:01.003m) take the total amount of points from Bakkerud (3:01.626m) who was second fastest. Johan Kristoffersson (3:01.959m) was third quickest, while fellow-Swede Per-Gunnar ‘P-G’ Andersson (3:02.558m) clinched fourth place.

 

The Portugal weekend started with all but good luck for Münnich Motorsport. © JKR/ERC24

The Portugal weekend started with all but good luck for Münnich Motorsport. © JKR/ERC24

 

For EKS newcomer Anton Marklund Montalegre had a bad surprise on offer. © JKR/ERC24

For EKS newcomer Anton Marklund Montalegre had a bad surprise on offer. © JKR/ERC24

 

Watch a video clip of the Marklund crash here.

 

Bad luck all day for Anton Marklund, who rolled his Audi S1 SuperCar onto its roof going into the second lap of the Heat 1. The Swede returned for Heat 2, but was forced to retire when his car stopped half-way through the race. His compatriot and make-colleague Robin Larsson spun his Audi A3 SuperCar while doing his Joker Lap and dumped his car in the gravel trap. Swede Alx Danielsson had a difficult start on his WorldRX debut. After facing suspension problems during the Open Practice runs his team Münnich Motorsport was unable to fix the car, therefore the ex-Formula Renault 3.5 Series Champion’s first day was over before it had really started.

 

Robin Larsson claimed the fourth fastest time in Heat 1, but got stuck in Heat 2. © JKR/ERC24

Robin Larsson claimed the fourth fastest time in Heat 1, but got stuck in Heat 2. © JKR/ERC24

 

Latvian Jānis Baumanis finished Day 1 on top of the Super1600 Overnight Standings. © JKR/ERC24

Latvian Jānis Baumanis finished Day 1 on top of the Super1600 Overnight Standings. © JKR/ERC24

 

The Super1600 competitors ran three qualifying heats today. Latvian Jānis Baumanis was the fastest of all in Heat 2, having been second fastest in Heat 1 and Heat 3, to make the Overnight Standings top spot his. Lithuanian Ernestas Staponkus is second, Russian Timur Shigabutdinov third. Ulrik Linnemann was fastest in Heat 1 and Heat 3, but after being excluded from Heat 2 the Dane found himself in ninth position when the day was done.

 

Frenchman Andréa Dubourg set a fourth, a ninth and a eighth fastest time in Super1600s. © JKR/ERC24

Frenchman Andréa Dubourg set a fourth, a ninth and an eighth fastest time in Super1600s. © JKR/ERC24

 

Kevin Eriksson ruled in the RX Lites category, the son of OMSE boss Andréas Eriksson claimed twice a fastest time. © JKR/ERC24

Kevin Eriksson ruled in the RX Lites category, the son of OMSE boss Andréas Eriksson claimed twice a fastest time. © JKR/ERC24

 

2014 RX Lites Champion Swede Kevin Eriksson picked up where he left off last season with both a fastest time in Heat 1 and Heat 2, to lead younger brother and OMSE teammate Oliver over night. Swede Tobias Brink is currently in third and his compatriot Kevin Hansen in fourth place.

 

Standings in SuperCars after Day 1 to be found here.

Standings in Super1600s after Day 1 to be found here.

Standings in RX Lites after Day 1 to be found here.

 

More ERC24 images from WorldRX of Portugal to be found here.

 

Top photo: Andreas Bakkerud made Day 1 of WorldRX of Portugal his. © JKR/ERC24