RX Season Review: Supercar – Part Two
by Hal Ridge |
Holjes in Sweden hosted round six of RallycrossRX 2013. The event had traditionally been the biggest on the European calendar in terms of both spectator and competitor numbers. For 2013, a record breaking 30,000 people attended the event to witness some incredible racing.
Andreas Bakkerud took his maiden Supercar victory in a closely fought final. Bakkerud and Petter Solberg battled hard at the start of the race, the latter retiring mid-way through with transmission failure. Timmy Hansen briefly led when Bakkerud took his joker, but the Norwegian re-took the lead to win, from wildcard star driver Mattias Ekstrom who drove a brilliant first RX event. Hansen finished third to close the gap to championship leader Timur Timerzyanov, who failed to make the final. Henning Solberg had a great event to finish forth, ahead of Daniel Holten who was forced to retire from the final with mechanical gremlins. Alexander Hvaal qualified top at the Intermediate Classification but got caught up in traffic in his semi-final and missed out on a place in the final. Davy Jeanney didn’t make it through the semi-finals, an unusual mechanical problem halting his Citroen C4. Former WRC star Patrick Sandell contested the event at the wheel of an OMSE Ford Fiesta and made the semi-finals, only to pick up a misfire and eventually stop. Swedish Touring Car driver Johan Kristoffersson made his European championship debut at his home event and may have made the final, until the bonnet on his VW Scirocco lifted up against his windscreen in the semi-final blocking his view. Stig-Olov Walfridsson had a terrible weekend littered with electrical problems, similar to Knut Ove Borseth who was unable to get into the points paying positions. Tommy Rustad had a great event in Norway but struggled with several suspension failures on his Volvo in Sweden. Mats Lysen had another weekend to forget, still continuing to develop his new five-cylinder Clio, while Anton Marklund twice broke the suspension on his Polo and didn’t make the semi-finals. Andy Scott won his first race in the Peugeot 208 in heat three to end up 23rd overall. Pontus Tidemand joined Kristoffersson in the VW Dealer Team and was fast when he was running, but a disqualification from heat one and a non-finish in heat four meant he would go no further. Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme looked much better than he had in Norway but broke his Ford Focus in heat three and didn’t reappear. While Bakkerud won, team-mate Liam Doran suffered engine failure in heat one, and missed heat two before withdrawing from the event altogether.
After the summer break, Loheac in France was the venue for round seven, where 72,000 people turned up to watch their hero Sebastien Loeb and British WRC driver Kris Meeke take on the rallycross regulars. However, it was Andreas Bakkerud who again claimed victory to become the third double winner of the season. Another close fight with Petter Solberg thrilled the crowds in the final, Bakkerud passing his former mentor to take the win while Solberg struggled on destroyed tyres. Frenchman Davy Jeanney claimed the final podium spot in his home event to close the gap to Timmy Hansen in the championship to just five points. Championship leader Timur Timerzyanov was top of the Intermediate Classification and finished fourth in the final to increase his championship lead. Timerzyanov and double winner Tanner Foust battled hard in the final, Foust’s race ending in the wall. Reigning French champion Geatan Serazin had a great run to fifth place in his first start of the year, while the first man not to make the final was the French fans hero Sebastien Loeb, who put in a strong challenge from the back of the grid, just missing out on the final by one place. Ice-racing legend Jean Philippe Dayraut also finished fourth in the other semi-final. Timmy Hansen had a weekend of highs and lows. On top of the order after heat three, he was spun out of heat four by Liam Doran before being slowed by technical problems in the semi-final. Alexander Hvaal had a frustrating event, caught in traffic during the heats, keeping him away from the sharp end. Fabien Pailler was the fastest French championship driver through the event, he shared the lead on Saturday evening with Hansen and looked on for a good result until spun out of contention in the first corner of semi-final two. Henning Solberg had another strong event to finish in the semi-finals. Anton Marklund just missed out on the semi’s in the highly competitive field, as did Liam Doran. A stall on the start line of heat two compromised the Brit’s position, before being disqualified from heat four for spinning Hansen, putting him out. The Albatec Racing due of Andy Scott and Kris Meeke had a strong weekend, Meeke especially had the ultimate pace but a puncture in heat two and disqualification from heat three for aggressive driving put him out. French Championship leader Jermone Grosset-Janin had transmission problems that forced him out of heat one and didn’t start heat two. When running on day two he was super-quick but it was too late. Kevin Procter started his first event of the year and ended up 19th, while engine failure put Peter Hedstrom out on day two.
Alexander Hvaal had been unlucky on many occasions earlier in the season, but in Austria for round eight he got his share of good fortune, taking the event win when both Petter Solberg and then Liam Doran failed to make the finish. Solberg and Doran were in a league of their own in the semi-finals to share the front row. Starter motor failure on the start-line put Solberg’s bid for victory on hold yet again, while Doran’s DS3 caught fire mid-race to join Solberg on the retirement list. Timur Timerzyanov finished second to put one hand on the championship trophy, with Davy Jeanney once again third. Stig-Olov Walfridson made the final for the first time of the season. Tord Linnerud had qualified for the final, but was disqualified for pushing Jeanney in semi-final one. Timmy Hansen had another frustrating weekend, but looked on for a place in the final until a mistake on the penultimate corner of his semi allowed team-mate Timerzaynov to snatch the place. Anton Marklund had his best weekend to date and was third at the Intermediate Classification. His event ended in the semi-finals, a spin was followed by transmission problems. Peter Hedstrom also spun on the first lap with Marklund. Frode Holte made a return to the sport following a year long sabbatical. He had a good event, including a close fight with Andy Scott in their semi-final, which Scott came out on top to score his best result of the year. Andreas Bakkerud had a troubled weekend, littered with spins and engine drama’s, he was classified thirteenth at the end. Jos Jansen had been getting fastest and scored more points in Austria.
Timur Timerzyanov arrived at the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in Germany with a healthy points advantage, and well aware of what he had to do. The reigning champion drove accordingly, as he had done all season long and won the championship at the Intermediate Classification. The Russian was still desperate to win an event. But try as he might, it wasn’t to be. The final race of the year was red flagged with Stig-Olov Walfridsson’s Renault Clio on fire in the joker lap section, the win handed to Alexander Hvaal who became the fourth double winner of the season. Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran finished second and third, the only time they would both make the podium at the same time. Timerzyanov was classified fourth but it mattered little, he was already a double champion. Petter Solberg’s season was almost summarised at the German event. Blindingly fast, he stood on pole position for the final but in the scrum for the first corner was sent into the wall, his race ending before it had even begun. Walfridsson’s race ended in smoke after a good run, a sad way to end what was probably his final European encounter. Tord Linnerud was first driver not to qualify for the final, finishing up fourth in his semi-final. Championship contender Davy Jeanney made an uncharacteristic mistake in heat one and forgot to take his joker lap. With a string of great times he dragged himself back to fifth at the Intermediate stage, but was unable to finish better than fourth in semi-final one. Fellow title rival Timmy Hansen was unlucky in semi-final one, slight contact with Anton Marklund sent his Citroen into the sand and over onto its roof. Marklund also picked up suspension damage in the incident, but both young Swede’s should be pleased with their first season at the highest level in rallycross. Peter Hedstrom was fast in Germany, looking more like his old self, but he was to retire with first corner damage in his semi-final. Morten Bermingrud finished fifth in semi-final two, his best finish of the season having contested a number of events, while Swedish star Mats Ohman was as quick and committed as ever but unable to take his place in the semi-finals due to engine failure. Frode Holte had a torrid weekend blighted by suspension damage, he finished 14th. Per Eklund made a welcome return to the European championship, but got tied up in on-track battles all weekend and as a result could do no better than 19th.
But, the day was reserved for Timerzyanov, who had used his head all year to drive for consistent points, aided by the reliably of his Citroen DS3. Davy Jeanney came close with arguably the smallest team in the paddock, while Timmy Hansen impressed on his first year in the sport. Andreas Bakkerud took the spoils at the two biggest events of the season in his first year in the category, while team-mate Liam Doran, Tanner Foust and Alexander Hvaal all took two victories a piece. Petter Solberg was arguably fastest all season but couldn’t manage the win he craved, while a whole host of permeant and wildcard drivers starred throughout the year.
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