Nitiss claims World Rallycross lead with Hell win

by Hal Ridge |

At the start of 2013, Reinis Nitiss was a relative unknown in the RallycrossRX paddock, the young Latvian just embarking on his first full season in Super1600 driving for Set Promotion. Six event wins followed last year, as did the championship crown and Nitiss graduated to Supercar for the new World Championship, with one of the best seats in the sport at OlsbergsMSE. Third at his debut event in Portugal was seriously impressive, followed by a second semi final victory in Britain before technical troubles stopping him making the start of the final. In Norway for round three, Nitiss was fastest in the first heat and sat on top at the end of day one, quietly plugging on with the later heats while his rivals made the headlines, Nitiss again won his semi final, made a clean start from the front row of the final to beat former WRC champ Petter Solberg hands down as the pair took their joker laps at opposite ends of the race. “This is amazing, it was really hard to drive in front of these two stars,” said Nitiss at the end, referring to Solberg and American Ken Block who made his debut in the championship and claimed the third podium spot. “My goal for the season was to finish in the top 12 in the championship, but I’d like to continue like this, I just try to do my best and learn as much as possible.”

The semi finals had been held in rainy conditions, and with the potential of more on the horizon, Team Peugeot-Hansen started their drivers on wet rubber from the second row of the final, the squad putting engine troubles from Lydden Hill behind them. Timmy Hansen suffered damage in the first corner joker lap and was slowed for the duration of the race, while Timerzyanov’s wet tyres overheated in the drying conditions, he finished fourth while Henning Solberg’s rear suspension collapsed as he crossed the finish line but finished fifth. Andreas Bakkerud had a troubled first day and could only recover to qualify 12th for the semi finals from which he would not progress. Emil Ohman starred in only his second event in a Supercar, making it into the semi finals on merit and may have made the final but for engine failure.

Following a pre-event crash for Jacques Villeneuve, Andy Scott gave up his Peugeot 208 for the French-Canadian to contest the Norwegian event, Villeneuve almost managing to repay the favour by making it to the semi finals, only a puncture in heat four would rule him out. Liam Doran had a much better time than at the previous rounds of the series, fastest in heat two he topped the order at the Intermediate Classification, only to get a puncture in his semi final ruling him out of a chance for victory. The EKS RX team made it’s debut in Hell, Mattias Ekstrom’s new squad revealing their stunning new Audi S1 Supercars in the paddock on Saturday morning. Without much pre-event testing, the team worked on learning about the new cars throughout the weekend, happy with the chassis, Ekstrom felt afterwards that their development in the coming weeks needs to be ‘engine bay related.’

Janis Baumanis claimed his maiden victory in the Super1600 category ahead of Ulrik Linnemann and a star performance from home hero Espen Lsaksaetre in third. Tom Daniel Tavenik won in TouringCar ahead of Swede Daniel Lundh and Fredrik Salsten. Anders Braten was ruled out of the event in the first heat of the weekend, a first corner crash left his Ford Fiesta too damaged to repair at the circuit.




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