There’s nothing a Norwegian crowd like to see more than a Norwegian victory and today in Hell Petter Solberg didn’t disappoint them, fastest times in the first two heats cementing him at the top of the table overnight. The 2003 World Rally Champion is in his element in front of his own fans, who stand five deep at the front of his awning in the paddock.
Solberg elected to take the jokerlap at the first opportunity in heat one, returning to the main circuit in second position and spending the rest of the race chasing down countryman Alexander Hvaal, before taking the lead when Hvaal jokered on the final tour. The second heat was more straightforward for Solberg, who led from lights to flag in the last race of the session.
Andreas Bakkerud lies second overnight, the man who shares the hearts of the local fans here having another good event following his good showing in Finland last weekend. The reigning Super1600 champion put in a dominant performance in his race in heat one, driving away from the pack behind. His second heat was a more lively affair, in a hard race with reigning Supercar champion Timur Timerzyanov. The Russian driver won the battle, finishing second in the race and sitting in third overnight behind the two local hero’s.
Fourth is VW Polo driver Anton Marklund, ahead of returning star Tommy Rustad. Fast from the off, the former circuit racer sits in fifth place overnight, despite a slow jokerlap in the first heat and broken right front suspension in the second, when he was leading. Despite driving for a lap with the front wheel at an acute angle, Rustad still finished second in the race and setting eight fastest time in the process.
Liam Doran won both his races on track, but made what he described as a “rookie mistake,” forgetting to take the jokerlap in heat one, and incurring the 30 second penalty in the process. Having taken his joker on the first lap of heat two, the Briton went to set second fastest time behind Solberg, and sits ninth overnight.
Daniel Holten is further down than he might have been, a spin in heat two not helping his cause. Alexander Hvaal stopped in heat two thinking he had a mechanical problem when it transpired to be no more than a puncture.
Mats Lysen debuts his new car here in Norway, having finished it at eight o’clock last night before taking it for a short test, he arrived at the circuit at five o’clock this morning. Punctures have slowed his new car today, and put him far further down than he might have been, but one ahead of Timmy Hansen, who is nineteenth overnight, a big battle with Knut Ove Borseth in heat one slowing the pair, before picking up a puncture in heat two, ruling him out of setting a good time. Henning Solberg suffered a similar fate in heat two, the only reason that the older of the Solberg’s isn’t lowest Norwegian tonight down to the misfortune of Stein Egil Jenssen, who has two DNF’s against his name.
The Super1600 category is again headed by Reinis Nitiss, who is quickly becoming the class pace setter, fastest of all in heat two. The Latvian was running second on the road in his first race, behind team mate Ildar Rakhmatullin, only for the Russian to pick up a puncture and hand the race win to Nitiss. The time wasn’t quite fast enough to beat his younger team mate Kevin Erkisson who jokered early and stayed away from the battle in front of him between Ulrik Linnemann and Eric Faren, to pass the pair when they jokered and claim fastest time. The youngster was fifth fastest in heat two following a big slide in the wrong direction on the start straight before the first corner, the pack squeezing together and Eriksson coming off worst, he did gather it all up, despite having carrying an injury to his left hand. Eric Faren had engine troubles yesterday but had solved them this morning and was back on pace, sitting fourth overnight.
Leading the TouringCar category overnight is Lars Oivind Enerberg, who returns to the championship in his home country and set two fastest times while his rivals behind fell over each other. Derek Tohill was one to get caught up in traffic, getting stuck behind second placed man Ole Habjorg in heat one. Robin Larsson suffered a puncture in heat two, while David Nordgaard is still yet to find any good fortune in 2013, setting ninth and tenth fastest time.
The JRX category has been run over Friday evening and Saturday. Kevin Hansen lead most of the race only to be slowed by problems in the final laps, and being passed by William Nilsson who took his third win in a row. Hansen finished second with Magda Andersson third.
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