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30 Apr 2012

Brit gains superior win in France

Category: April, ERC, News Posted 30.04.12 21:33 by

Kevin Procter claims historic A final win in Dreux, France. The British Ford Focus driver produced a remarkable C final to A final climb, where he fought off the favoured locals to grab an unbelievable weekend victory.

 

What started out as a respectable position in the SuperCar C final, ended as an outstanding display of true British grit and skill. Kevin Procter, the British SuperCar competitor yesterday claimed his maiden victory on the European Rallycross Championship stage. Young Norwegian Hansen Motorsport driver Alexander Hvaal is awarded his first podium in second place and Frenchman Marc Laboulle claims the last podium position.

Procter’s journey began in the C final. After 15th fastest in a wet/dry heat two and then a 10th quickest in heat three, Procter had earned himself a front row position in the C final. Procter had arrived fresh from an improved performance in heat three, and looked stoked, flying off the line in front of French DS3 driver Hervé “Knapick”, and close challenger Guttorm Lindefjell. It was a tightly fought final, although Procter held out to cross the line. Both “Knapick” and Procter advanced to the B final, left to compete against the likes of Tanner Foust who had constantly pushed his Fiesta all weekend. Hansen driver Timur Timerzyanov was also present, making the B final after a series of frustrating heats. Fellow Brit, Andy Scott was also on the grid. Procter was once again a formidable force off the start line, and although at the back of the grid, made his way to the leading pack, jousting for the front spot with Foust, Timerzyanov and Scott. Scott shot into second position behind Foust, getting involved in a battle with the American that led to both of his doors being heavily damaged. Procter kept his composure throughout and eventually found himself beside Timerzyanov, crossing the line in second. New FIA rules therefore guaranteed the final position on the back of the grid, in what was his debut appearance in an ERC SuperCar A final.

Flying Frenchman, Marc Laboulle started the A final in pole position, following a series of great heats. An all-French front row included Clio driver, Jérôme Grosset-Janin and Gaëtan Sérazin, who had both been outstanding all weekend. Favourite Davy Jeanney sat behind Laboulle with Brit Liam Doran making the A final as the fifth competitor. Hansen Motorsport driver Alexander Hvaal made his debut appearance in an A final in his C4.

Conditions were dry, and the unpredictable nature of the weekend’s French weather now meant that dust had begun to become an issue for drivers. Laboulle, Grosset-Janin and Jeanney were the first drivers to reach the first corner, edging round turn one side by side and tussling for the best line into turn two. Doran found himself off immediately, later revealing that he had lost steering due to contact made with Sérazin. Laboulle was muscled out by Hvaal, leaving a gap open for French challengers Jeanney and Grosset-Janin who surged forward into the lead to the roaring delight of home supporters. Seconds later, Laboulle returned out of nowhere, cutting the corner of the second bend and veering wide only to run into fellow Frenchman Grosset-Janin off the circuit. Subsequently, some home supporters were not too pleased about this. With one Frenchman down and out, Laboulle and Jeanney continued, making ground from the following pack.

Procter’s hard work from the back of the grid had paid off, and he emerged in third place, and tight on Marc Laboulle’s tail. He continued to push, eventually making a pass on Laboulle, who then chose to take his Joker Lap. When Davy Jeanney pulled off due to trouble, Procter found himself ahead, pushing hard through every corner. Procter then took his Joker Lap, with Hvaal taking the lead. Exiting, he found himself behind Laboulle once again, but did not give up and looked to find a large enough gap to pass the Xsara driver on every bend. A last ditch move saw Procter pass Laboulle on the inside, and he began to power away on the back straight. The final bend saw Hvaal take his ‘Joker’ and Procter went ahead crossing the line to the sounds of screaming British fans and just about anyone who was blown away by the unbelievable scene they had just witnessed.

“To get into the A final for me was an achievement anyway. Everything has seemed to go my way today… It’s just a dream come true, and I just can’t believe it,” said an emotional Kevin Procter later.