Countdown to WRX of Spain (CEST)

days
0
-26
-1
hours
-1
0
minutes
-1
-5
seconds
-4
-7
01 May 2012

Patterns emerging

Category: ERC, May, News Posted 01.05.12 17:32 by

The SuperCars class may have produced some brilliant performances but it has so far been the ERC’s Super1600s and TouringCars classes, that have shown distinct patterns of rivalry. Andreas Bakkerud was crowned victorious in his Super1600 Set Promotion Renault Twingo, whilst Irishman Derek Tohill won the TouringCars class during round two last weekend.

But both divisions have ignited battles at the top. Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme, a fellow teammate of Andreas Bakkerud, took the weekend win at Lydden Hill in April and again came close in Dreux. Bakkerud started off his weekend off-pace. The Norwegian was only classified as 9th fastest in a soaked heat one. Then it was Krzysztof Skorupski who led, almost four seconds faster than any other Super1600s competitor. Leppihalme was also nowhere to be seen, caught up in a collision that sent him straight off the circuit and landing him 80 points after heat one.

Day two saw the second qualifying heats, and the weather was much the same. But Bakkerud was back. The Twingo driver went fastest in heat two, laying down his authority in the class and making an outstanding outside pass on Skorupski off the line. Ulrik Linnemann became a close challenger. Bakkerud seemed delighted with his performance. “Things have been going better today. I’m pleased with heat two, a super cool move like Tanner Foust off the line gave me the lead and I will continue to push in heat three,” said Bakkerud during Sunday’s lunch break. In fact both Bakkerud and Leppihalme pushed hard in heat three to gain a Set Promotion one/two, with Bakkerud still on top. A pole position in the A final was now guaranteed, with rivals Skorupski and Linnemann lining up next to him on the front row. Teammate Leppihalme only managed a back row start.

All three front row starters got to the first corner side-by-side, squeezing wide to make a gap large enough for second row starter Vadim Makarov to surge forward and take the lead. Bakkerud and Skorupski continued to battle for second place, whilst Bakkerud decisively opted to take his Joker Lap first, and dropped down to sixth position. An early pass on fifth placed David Deslandes placed him in a great position for a podium finish, as the top five had yet to take their Joker Lap. Skorupski also then took his Joker slipping up on the muddy course, Leppihalme pushed hard and eventually passed the Polish driver after his exit. Bakkerud held on in front of his Finnish teammate to cross the line easily in front of Russian Makarov who exited his Joker Lap in third position. Both Set Promotion drivers now sit level at the top of the Super1600s standings, with Makarov in third, 11 points adrift.

Similar rivalries have emerged in the TouringCars. Anton Marklund keeps his lead at the top of the championship standings, but was beaten to the post in Dreux by Irish driver Derek Tohill. The young Swede Anton Marklund dominated the class all weekend producing title-winning performances and gaining a clean sweep of fastest times  in Timed Practice, and in the first, second and third heats. Tohill and Pedro Bonnet were always close, but Marklund looked untouchable.

On pole in the A final, Marklund got away well but was beaten to the first bend by Tohill and A final regular Roman Častoral. Tohill was too hang on to that lead, eventually crossing the line ahead of Marklund and Častoral. Just two points separate the two at the top of the TouringCars standings, with Častoral three points behind, it looks as if the top drivers will have to fight hard in both divisions if to gain titles at the end of the season.