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17 May 2015

WRX: Tie for Solberg & Ekström

Category: News, WRX Posted 17.05.15 01:30 by

After Day 1 of the WorldRX round of Belgium in Mettet reigning World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg and his challenger Mattias Ekström are tied on equal 84 points, but due to his faster time in Heat 2 the Norwegian tops the overnight standings.

 

The FIA World Rallycross Championship round at the Circuit Jules Tacheny of Mettet in the French speaking part of Belgium is the first 2015 event that counts for both series, WorldRX and EuroRX. With the result, that a total of 37 SuperCar drivers made it to the start of Saturday’s Open Practice, 19 to fight for WRX points, 18 for ERX points. During the four heats they all drive together, but after qualification has been done they race in separate Semi-Finals and Finals.

 

Mattias Ekström claimed fastest time of Heat 1 and has currently 84 points on his tally. © JKR/ERC24

Mattias Ekström claimed fastest time of Heat 1 and has currently 84 points on his tally. © JKR/ERC24

 

Timmy Hansen jumped his Peugeot Lion to the fastest time of Heat 2. © JKR/ERC24

Timmy Hansen jumped his Peugeot Lion to the fastest time of Heat 2. © JKR/ERC24

 

Swede Johan Kristoffersson set the fastest time in Open Practice with 39.756 seconds, followed by his fellow-countryman Timmy Hansen (39.969s) and Russian Timur Timerzyanov (40.010s). Another Swede, Axl Danielsson, had a pretty strange incident in the Münnich Motorsport Audi S3 SuperCar here when he hit a kerb so hard that the right front suspension strut broke and crashed out of the car’s bonnet, forcing the tarmac racer to throw in the towel. However, the Audi was subsequently fixed in time for the first qualifying heat by the German squad from Saxony.

 

Air Guitar World Championship is nothing against Air SuperCar WRX for Kristoffersson Motorsport... © JKR/ERC24

Air Guitar World Championship is nothing against Air SuperCar WRX for Kristoffersson Motorsport… © JKR/ERC24

 

The maximum of 50 points for Heat 1 were taken by Mattias Ekström (2:49.587m), Petter Solberg (2:53.707m) was runner-up to ‘Eki’ and put 45 points on his tally, Johan Kristoffersson (2:53.774m) scored 42 points for the third fastest time. Heat 2 saw Timmy Hansen (3:03.281m) claiming the fastest time, second fastest was Finn Toomas Heikkinen (3:05.746m), while Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud (3:05.846m) set the third fastest time here.

 

At the end of Day 1 Finn 'Topi' Heikkinen is in third place and the best VW Polo driver. © JKR/ERC24

At the end of Day 1 Finn ‘Topi’ Heikkinen is in third place and the best VW Polo driver. © JKR/ERC24

 

Former WRC ace François Duval is driving Sverre Isachsen's former SuperCar 'Stina' in his home WorldRX round. © JKR/ERC24

Former WRC ace François Duval is driving Sverre Isachsen’s former SuperCar ‘Stina’ in his home WorldRX round. © JKR/ERC24

 

Overnight leader of the SuperCar drivers eligible to score points in the opening round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship (ERX) is Belgium’s former WRC ace François Duval in the ex-Sverre Isachsen Ford Focus Mk2, also known under its nickname ‘Stina’. French Rallycross star Jérôme Grosset-Janin is in second position after a strong performance in his Peugeot 208, while his compatriot Fabien Pailler in another Peugeot 208 is third. Albatec Racing team member James Grint (a brother of Harry Potter movie star Rupert Grint) is on course for a place in one of the ERX Semi-Finals after ending Day 1 in 12th position.

 

James Grint, brother of Harry Potter movies actor Rupert Grint, has joined EuroRX with Albatec Racing. © JKR/ERC24

James Grint (left), brother of Harry Potter movies actor Rupert Grint, has joined EuroRX with Albatec Racing. © JKR/ERC24

 

Heat 1 winner Ekström spoke of the difficult driving conditions on the circuit as a result of today’s mixed weather. “The track is good,” he said, “but the rain has made it hard as the conditions are always changing. In the first heat I kept it clean and was lucky, but the second didn’t go so well. The car is working fine, so tomorrow we continue to push and we aim for the finals like we always do.” Solberg added: “We had problems with our central differential throughout the second heat, so we lost a few seconds on the corners, but everything else has been good and no major problems.”

Elsewhere it was a dramatic opening day for EuroRX driver Swede Peter Hedström who flipped his Škoda Fabia Mk2 at the exit of the Joker Lap detour. Meanwhile Tamás Kárai got his event off to a bad start when he ran into Russian Timur Timerzyanov, which resulted in the Hungarian being excluded from Heat 1. Norwegian EuroRX driver Ole Christian Veiby was fourth quickest in Heat 1, but lost time after an impact with fellow VW Polo Mk5 SuperCar racer Johan Kristoffersson in the race that followed.

 

Finn Riku Tahko is racing a BMW MINI Countryman JCW SuperCar with 2 litre engine in the EuroRX series. © JKR/ERC24

Finn Riku Tahko is racing a BMW MINI Countryman JCW SuperCar with 2 litre engine in the EuroRX series. © JKR/ERC24

 

Danish Peugeot 208 campaigner Ulrik Linnemann leads the Super1600s category after the three heats of Day 1, while in TouringCars Norwegian Ford Fiesta Mk7 driver David Nordgård heads the field after the three opening heats.

 

Dane Ulrik Linnemann is on top of the Super1600s overnight standings with his Peugeot 208. © JKR/ERC24

Dane Ulrik Linnemann is on top of the Super1600s overnight standings with his Peugeot 208. © JKR/ERC24

 

Norwegian David Nordgård (Ford Fiesta Mk7) has made Day 1 for TouringCars his. © JKR/ERC24

Norwegian David Nordgård (Ford Fiesta Mk7) made Day 1 for TouringCars his. © JKR/ERC24

 

After being fastest in Heat 1 Norwegian Fredrik Magnussen (Ford Fiesta Mk7) got it all wrong in Heat 3. © JKR/ERC24

After being fastest in Heat 1 Norwegian Fredrik Magnussen (Ford Fiesta Mk7) got it all wrong in Heat 3. © JKR/ERC24

 

SuperCar standings after Day 1.

Super1600 standings after Day 1.

TouringCar standings after Day 1.

 

More images from WorldRX of Belgium to be found here.

 

Top photo: Petter Solberg ahead of Mattias Ekström is the situation after Day 1 of WorldRX of Belgium. © JKR/ERC24