Liam Doran won the fifth round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship, held in Hell, Norway and became the first permanent driver to win two events in 2013 in the process. He didn’t make it easy for himself though, forgetting to take the jokerlap in the first heat put him on the back foot. A clash with Petter Solberg in heat three also cost him time, the Briton lining up 10th at the Intermediate Classification. A brilliant start in his semi-final ensured a front row start for the final, before jokering on the first lap and coming out on top when everyone else too theirs.
Timur Timerzyanov finished second for the third event in succession and extended his championship lead. The Russian might not be winning, but his tally of points speaks for itself. It’s as if Timerzyanov has taken a leaf out of Davy Jeanney’s book, who was back on the podium in Norway following his semi-final exit a week earlier in Finland. The French driver sits in third in the championship standings and would be higher had it not been for his engine change in Hungary.
Alexander Hvaal had a his best result of late with fourth in the final, one place ahead of Andreas Bakkerud who found his form in Norway, never out of the top four in the heats he beat Timerzyanov in semi-final one and would have at least been on the podium, if not challenging team mate Doran for the win in the final but for a puncture. Peter Hedstrom made it to the final for the second time this season, only to drop out with engine failure. For the fourth time this season Anton Marklund was the highest placed driver who didn’t make the final, his VW Polo picking up a gearbox problem in the semi-final, hampering his chances of finishing higher than fourth in his semi-final. Tommy Rustad returned to Supercar after a break of a few years but was immediately on the pace. The likable Norwegian was fast from the off, and even set eighth fastest time in heat two despite having the front right suspension hanging off for the entire final lap of the race. A front row start in semi-final two was as far as the former circuit racer would get, his race ending after a visit to the wall on the outside of turn one, assisted by Hedstrom. Timmy Hansen had a frustrating event, stuck behind slower cars in both of his first two heats. Sunday morning went better to make his way into the semi-final’s, only for clutch problems to cause a jumpstart and then a slow start in the race. Once moving the car was fine, but two jokerlaps (penalty for jumpstart) ruined his chances of making the final.
Tord Linnerud was one of the star’s of Norway, driving Mat’s Lysen’s four-cylinder Clio the Norwegian supercar debutant looked at ease with the car all weekend and easily outdrove many of his more experienced rivals. Daniel Holten was back in Frode Holte’s Volvo C30, as he was last year for this event, and had a goal of making the semi-final’s, which he achieved. The lad clearly has ability, and with more time in the car could be a lot higher up. Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme was never at one with the track in Norway, and was unable to repeat his blinding performance at Lydden Hill at the start of the year. If he can find the budget to race in France and Austria later in the season good things could be seen from him once again.
Petter Solberg was the first man not to make the semi-finals, although had you seen the results on Saturday evening that didn’t seem possible. Fastest in practice and both of the first two heats, Solberg was on a mission in front of his home fans. A clash with Doran in heat three was followed by broken suspension later in the race, although he dragged the car around the final lap to finish the time was poor. The car was repaired in time for heat four, only for the steering to break in the race, putting him out of the event.
Tore Kristoffersen ran inside the top sixteen all weekend, and won his heat three race much to the local fans joy, who made as much noise for their local man as National hero Solberg. Morten Bermingrud made his first start of the season in his rebuilt Citroen C4. Punctures hampered his weekend, although he would leave Hell with two points for his efforts. Stig-Olov Walfridson also suffered a series of punctures and will be hoping for a far better event next time out in Sweden following a poor run of results since Portugal. Knut Ove Borseth arrived at Lanke with tired eyes, having re-built his race team in less than a week following his split is Hedstroms Motorsport. Fifth fastest in heat two showed what he is capable of, and he may well have made the semi’s had it not been for a technical problem that caused him to spin out of heat four. Henning Solberg drove with the entertaining abandon for which he is renowned, a puncture in heat two was followed by a DNF in heat four, where an optimistic move on Timerzyanov into the last corner broke his Saab’s steering. Andy Scott’s frustrating year continued in Norway, and was compounded by a spin and non-finish in heat four. Jos Jansen did his best to out-do Henning Solberg in the ‘coving the photographers with gravel’ challenge. He finished all four heats. Mats Lysen arrived in Hell at 5am on Saturday morning, having finished his new car late the previous evening and taken it for a test. Nineteenth and twelfth in the first two heats were good times from a car that hadn’t really turned a wheel before practice, only for the new five cylinder engine to loose oil pressure on Sunday morning while the car was warmed up on it’s stands. The problem was later discovered to be a collapsed oil filter.
Super1600 has a habit of producing young stars, and 2013 appears to be following that trend. For the third event in a row Reinis Nitiss dominated the class, although he was only fastest once in the heats. However, second fastest on three occasions was consistently fast enough to outpace his rivals, he sat on the top of the table at the Intermediate Classification, and won both his semi-final and final in commanding style. Ildar Rakhmatullin had another good even here after his difficult start to the year, his only major issue for the weekend was a puncture in heat one. Danish driver Ulirk Linnemann pushed hard in the heats and went fastest twice. He also won his semi-final to join Nitiss on the front row. He jokered on lap one and ended up third, just behind Rakhmatullin when the pack had completed their joker laps. Sergej Zagumennov had his best run to date, coming back from an exciting first corner in his semi-final where he made the best start, only to miss the braking point and head straight through some tyres, he recovered to finish third, and then fourth in the final. Eric Faren was pleased just to make the main event following engine problems on Saturday before his team have even scruiteneered the car. Feeling that things weren’t right all weekend, Faren did the best job he could, and took him another good set of points in the process. Kevin Eriksson got a puncture in the final that ruled him out of contention. His weekend was tough having seriously hurt his left hand in the lead up to the event, he was in pain out of the car but did his best to convince me that when he was driving it was fine. I’m sure he was just putting a brave face on it, it can’t have been easy. Timur Shigaboutdinov looked like he was going to turn his season around with some competitive showings in the heats, but was unable to make it past the semi-final stages. Rasul Minnikhanov’s weekend was hampered by missing heat three with a gearbox problem, while Andreas Steffen had a good run in Norway, his only problem that those ahead of him have had more track time this year in the ultra competitive class. Marlin Gjerstad had a mechanical failure in heat three that ruled her out of heat four and ruined her event.
Lars Oivind Enerberg returned to the European Championship in Norway, the 2011 TouringCar champion concentrating on his national championship this season. He has lost none of his speed in his time away, fastest in three of four heats, he would have got the set had he not got a puncture in heat three. Derek Tohill was top championship contender, he won his semi-final and was content to not doing anything silly and finish highest of the regular competitors in second, and take the championship lead. Norwegian driver Ander Braten made his first start since Lydden Hill and finished third, much to the delight of the home crowd, while Koen Pauwels was disappointed with fourth, although if he been offered that at the start of the weekend he admitted he would have been pleased. David Nordgaard had a better run in Norway and finished fifth, while local man Christian Sandmo made his European championship debut and showed well, only to be shoved off in the first corner of the final. Roman Castoral didn’t make it to the final, beaten by the locals on a track they know better, but gathered enough points to continue to hold onto second in the championship. Former regular competitor Ole Habjorg also made a return, and appeared to have a frustrating weekend. If there was confrontation in a race he seemed to find it, even if it wasn’t his fault. Daniel Lundh was consistently in the lower half of the top ten and drove well. It’s easy to forget that the round three winner is still relatively inexperienced at this level. Robin Larsson finished second in the first heat, before picking up a puncture in the second. An unusually bad first day was followed by a terrible Sunday. Transmission problems while warming his tyres for practice was just the start, an oil pump failure in heat three caused retirement. With the unit replaced he went out for heat four, only for the engine to let go, a legacy of oil pressure problems from the pump failure. He will be hoping for better at his home event in a couple of weeks time.
The JRX category was again won by William Nilsson, so passed pole sitter Kevin Hansen in the closing laps of the final when the leader made a mistake. It had a been a much better event for Hansen, who climbed up to second in the standings behind Nilsson. Magda Andersson finished third, ahead of Ada Marie Hvaal who made her first start of the season.
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