Nitiss tops day one at Hell World Rallycross

by Hal Ridge |

Reigning Super1600 European Rallycross Champion Reinis Nitiss continues to stun with his pace in the opening rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship this season. The young Latvian was fastest in heat one and second fastest in heat two to sit top of the order at the end of the first day in Norway. The only person to go faster than Nitiss in heat two was Liam Doran, who put disappointments of the first two rounds of the season behind him to lie second overnight, ahead of Toomas Heikkinen who was once again inside the top three after two heats.

Team Peugeot-Hansen fought back after a troubled event at Lydden Hill to sit fourth (Timur Timerzyanov) and fifth (Timmy Hansen) at the end of day one. Jacques Villeneuve makes his second appearance of the season in Hell and is having a better time than in Portugal, he beat Petter Solberg in their heat one race, the Norwegian ending up seventh overnight while Villeneuve didn’t set a time as fast as Solberg in heat two and is 12th. Emil Ohman starred in only his second Supercar event, 10th and ninth fastest in the first two heats he is eighth overall, and currently inside the qualifying positions for the semi finals.

The new EKS RX squad debut their Audi S1 machines this weekend in Norway, drivers Mattias Ekstrom and Pontus Tidemand having a race long battle together in heat two, only ended when Ekstrom had a half spin. Tidemand is 11th with Ekstrom 18th. Ken Block surprised in free practice, running at the front for most of the session. The American driver is 13th overnight in his Ford Fiesta, twice loosing out in the fight for supremacy in the first corner and loosing time. Championship leader Andreas Bakkerud broke a driveshaft in heat one on the final lap of his race. He did finish albeit down in 31st and was only able to set 12th fastest time in heat two. Currently 21st, the young Norwegian needs two good times tomorrow to be in with a chance of his second victory in a row.

Swede Robin Larsson had a frustrating day, his Audi A1 experienced a problem in practice after only three laps and refused to start for heat one. The team did get it running for heat two however, where he set tenth fastest time. Henning Solberg and Tommy Rustad made contact in the joker lap in heat two, the incident putting Rustad in the bank on the outside and breaking his Volvo’s steering, while Ramona Karlsson retired from heat one in the first corner with steering damage.

Super1600 championship leader Sergej Zagumennov leads the way at the end of day one, ahead of championship protagonists Ulrik Linnemann and Nikita Misiulia. Oscar Solberg lies eighth overall with two sixth fastest times from the first two heats, while Pavel Vimmer retired from heat one when he lost a wheel at the first corner. Ade Marie Hvaal led her heat one race, but was forced out with a puncture and was only able to set 17th time in heat two. Norwegian drivers currently hold the top 12 positions in the TouringCar division; Atle Vik’s Mazda RX8 leading the way ahead of David Nordgaard and Torlief Lona. Anders Braten crashed out of heat one in the first corner, the damage to his Ford Fiesta too bad to repair in time for heat two.




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