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20 Sep 2015

WRX: Solberg strikes back

Category: News, WRX Posted 20.09.15 22:00 by

After building up a rather healthy lead in the World RX series reigning champion Petter Solberg lost some ground to Timmy Hansen who claimed two consecutive wins in Norway and France. However, in Spain the emperor was able to strike back by winning the WRX of Barcelona event.

 

Norwegian Petter Solberg has secured his third victory in the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship after winning the inaugural Barcelona RX. Team Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson finished runner-up, while Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen secured the final spot on the podium. Solberg continues to lead the overall Championship drivers’ standings, but Hansen’s maximum points haul at the Intermediate Classification stage sees the gap reduced to 35 points with three rounds remaining.

 

Johan Kristoffersson is the biggest surprise of the 2015 WRX, currently holding third place of the series. © JKR/ERC24

Johan Kristoffersson is the biggest surprise of the 2015 WRX, currently holding third place of the series. © JKR/ERC24

 

Team Peugeot-Hansen at full speed, in the end it was the other way round and Hansen ahead of Jeanney. © JKR/ERC24

Team Peugeot-Hansen at full speed, in the end it was the other way round and Hansen ahead of Jeanney. © JKR/ERC24

 

Barcelona RX also marked the penultimate round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship where Team Volkswagen Sweden’s Ole Christian Veiby took the overall victory, while Alexander Hvaal finished runner-up in his Citroën DS3. Finland’s Joni-Pekka Rajala claimed third. Tommy Rustad won on the road in his Marklund Motorsport prepared Polo RX Supercar, but was excluded after post-race scrutineering where the car was found in breach of the regulations concerning driver aids.

 

DTM ace Timo Scheider was a guest driver for the German Audi team Münnich Motorsport. © JKR/ERC24

DTM ace Timo Scheider was a guest driver for the German Audi team Münnich Motorsport. © JKR/ERC24

 

Double DTM winner (2008 & 2009) Timo Scheider finished his first ever Rallycross event in 16th place overall. © JKR/ERC24

Double DTM winner (2008 & 2009) Timo Scheider finished his first ever Rallycross event in 16th place overall. © JKR/ERC24

 

“The whole weekend we have been fighting so hard, my mechanics have been flat out trying lots of different set-ups on the car so it’s fantastic to be able to be on the podium again,” explained Barcelona RX winner Solberg. “The Peugeots were so fast again this weekend and we had some troubles in heat three when I got caught in dust and clipped a bale. I started on the second row in the semi-final and was happy to get second but I wasn’t totally pleased with the car so we made some more set-up changes for the final. I had a really good start from the second row and managed to get ahead. I made a small mistake on the gravel, it was really slippery, but I saw the guys behind me also lost some time so I just kept going and managed to keep ahead. This win means even more today because my son Oliver also won in crosskart back in Sweden – I spoke to him before the final and he was teasing me telling me I had to win because he did. I think it worked!”

 

Robin Larsson drove his Audi A1 SuperCar into the Final, but retired early here. © JKR/ERC24

Robin Larsson drove his Audi A1 SuperCar into the Final, but retired early here. © JKR/ERC24

 

Ole Christian Veiby took advantage from the disqualification of Tommy Rustad, here in second position, to win the Euro RX SuperCar category. © JKR/ERC24

Veiby took advantage from the disqualification of Rustad, here in second position, to win the Euro RX SuperCar category. © JKR/ERC24

 

Kristoffersson – who posted the fastest lap time of the weekend in his Polo RX Supercar – was also delighted to return to the World RX podium. “It feels great to be back in the end of event press conference,” explained the round one winner. “We’ve found a lot of speed this weekend and I had four new tyres for the semi-finals which definitely helped me push ahead of the others. During the final, I had a better launch than Timmy off the front line, but Petter managed to get round the side and so I decided to take the Joker in the first lap. I want to take a moment to thank my team – they’ve done a fantastic job with the car, it’s been working great and I’ve loved driving it this weekend.”

Hansen’s third place saw Team Peugeot-Hansen score its sixth podium in a row. The 22-year-old Swede was also awarded the Monster Energy Super Charge Award after beating the other five drivers to the first corner, before Solberg managed to move ahead. “I’ve had such a fast car this weekend; it has been so good once again. I was even surprised at some of my times, I didn’t think I had been going that quick but the lap times were really good,” explained Hansen. “My confidence grew when I got pole position, but Petter got ahead and then I made a few small mistakes on the dirt after it had been watered which cost me some time. My team were pushing me hard on the radio, and I tried as hard as I could.”

 

Frenchman Andréa Dubourg jumping towards his first Euro RX Super1600 overall victory. © JKR/ERC24

Frenchman Andréa Dubourg jumping towards his first Euro RX Super1600 overall victory. © JKR/ERC24

 

Frenchman Andréa Dubourg, here flanked by Hungarian Krisztián Szabó and Latvian Jānis Baumanis, won his first ERX S1600 Final. © JKR/ERC24

Andréa Dubourg, here flanked by Hungarian Krisztián Szabó and Latvian Jānis Baumanis, won his first ERX S1600 Final. © JKR/ERC24

 

Team-mate Davy Jeanney had a strong outing in the team’s second Peugeot-Hansen and finished fourth overall.  Jeanney and Hansen’s third and fourth place position sees Team Peugeot-Hansen extend its lead over Ford Olsbergs MSE in the Teams’ Championship by 77 points. American Tanner Foust rounded out the top five after an impressive drive in a Marklund Motorsport Polo RX Supercar. Robin Larsson finished sixth, the driver retiring from the first lap of today’s final.

The FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600 and the RX Lites Cup also supported the tenth round of the World RX in Barcelona. In S1600, it was Frenchman Andréa Dubourg who took the overall win. Following a stewards’ inquiry, Dubourg was given a penalty of eight Championship points for technical infringements but kept his victory. Hungary’s Krisztián Szabó took second place, while Jānis Baumanis kept his hopes of the S1600 Championship title alive by clinching third place.  With just one S1600 round remaining, Baumanis leads Szabó by 26 points in the standings.

 

The RX Lites rostrum of Barcelona with (from left) runner-ip Cyril Raymond, winner Thomas Bryntesson and third Kevin Hansen. © JKR/ERC24

The RX Lites rostrum with (from left) runner-up Cyril Raymond, winner Thomas Bryntesson and third Kevin Hansen. © JKR/ERC24

 

Thomas Bryntesson proved dominant in the RX Lites Cup over the weekend with the Norwegian taking three heat wins and the overall victory. Frenchman Cyril Raymond and Sweden’s Kevin Hansen were second and third respectively. With two rounds of RX Lites remaining, Hansen leads Kevin Eriksson by nine points.

 

Final results of the WRX SuperCars to be found here.

Final results of the ERX SuperCars to be found here.

Final results of the Super1600s to be found here.

Final results of the RX Lites to be found here.

 

More images from the World RX of Barcelona event to be found here.

 

Top photo: After Hockenheim and Lydden Hill Petter Solberg claimed his third victory in Barcelona. © JKR/ERC24