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16 Apr 2016

WRX: EKSRX reigns in rain

Category: News, WRX Posted 16.04.16 19:34 by

Muddy Montalgre: in treacherous conditions, after day one of of World RX of Portugal it’s Mattias Ekstrom who leads the way ahead of Kristofferson, with Finnish teammate Heikkinen third.

With Q1 and Q2 complete a dramatic opening day drew too a close. A first day in which the weather severely hampered drivers and teams with some seriously bad conditions. The often quick Montalegre circuit, located in the extreme north of Portugal, was torrential for most the morning and very boggy in sections. The circuit tested drivers from the off, with many still finding their feet in new cars and teams.

Round one got underway with some insightful practice sessions. Hoonigan Racing Division driver Andreas Bakkerud went out early, and set a fastest lap time – before young OMSE driver Kevin Eriksson proved his talent with smooth driving. By the time practice was over, it was Eriksson who held fastest lap time ahead of Mattias Ekstrom and Andreas Bakkerud.

 

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Carnage, as treacherous conditions hamper drivers during qualification. © JKR/ERC24

 

Supercar Q1 races got underway again in wet conditions. Volkwagen RX Team Sweden driver Johan Kristoffersson was out first following yesterday’s draw and took the first race in Q1, ahead of the Finn Toomas Topi Heikkinen and WRX 2016 newcomer Sébastien Loeb

Bakkerud’s early practice session pace continued, the Norwegian guiding his all-new Ford Focus RSRX to a race two win ahead of OMSE young-gun Kevin Eriksson. The Latvian Seat Ibiza campaigner Reinis Nitiss finished third:

I made a good start, but then a mistake during the joker followed and I dropped a spot. Really rough race fighting with mud all over!” said Nitiss.

 

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Nitiss in action during a challenging battle with current champion Petter Solberg. © JKR/ERC24

 

Mattias Ekström took the fourth race ahead of  JRM driver Liam Doran.

Timmy Hansen took third, highlighting after just how difficult the conditions were making it for drivers in Q1:

I’ve never seen worst conditions in Rallycross” said Hansen.

 

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Timmy Hansen who took third during his race in Q1. © JKR/ERC24

 

After Q1, the Supercar Results were as follows:
1) Johan Kristoffersson
2) Mattias Ekström
3) Toomas Heikkinen
4)Andreas Bakkerud
5) Sébastien Loeb

 

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Mattias Ekstrom being pursued by JRM driver Liam Doran. Ekstrom leads after day one. © JKR/ERC24

 

Q2 bought similar conditions.

EKSRX dominated the final race in Q2 with Mattias Ekström winning ahead Toomas Topi Heikkinen. Heikkinen finished narrowly ahead of Q1 winner Johan Kristoffersson.

Liam Doran took the third race, ahead of Kevin Eriksson and Robin Larsson. A false start left Timmy Hansen in 5th, despite his third place finish

Petter Solberg took the second race of Q2 ahead of Kevin Hansen and Anton Marklund. The current champion summed up a bad first day:

We have had terrible conditions so far in Portugal. 1st qualification was all about surviving in the rain and mud. I had a great start, but was pushed out in the mud and didn’t stand a chance.”

 

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Solberg who struggled, commented after that: “it was better to be safe than sorry.” © JKR/ERC24

 

Niclas Grönholm took the first race in Q2 ahead of Ken Block and Timur Timerzyanov. Both of whom have struggled so far.

A tough day one over, with two Qualfying rounds completed Mattias Ekstrom remains top over night ahead of Johan Kristofferson, Toomas Heikkinen, Andreas Bakkerud and Sebastien Loeb.

 

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Toomas Heikkinen joined teammate and EKSRX boss Ekstrom in the top three, by finishing 2nd in his Q2 race. © JKR/ERC24

Photo Caption: Mattias Ekstrom leads the way with Finnish teammate Heikkinen third after day one. © JKR/ERC24