Almost all of the FIA World Rallycross Championship teams tested this week in the lead up to the eighth round of the series at Loheac, France. Of those that tested, Team Peugeot-Hansen introduced their new test car to proceedings at Essay in France and the work in developing the setup of their Peugeot 208 has given the squad confidence. While Kenneth Hansen returned to the driving seat to perform development duties at Essay, at day one in Loheac it was his son, Timmy Hansen, who was fastest in both of the first two heats to sit top of the order.
Fast in heat one, Petter Solberg made a slow start in heat two and finished second on track to Hansen, he is second overall ahead of Pontus Tidemand, the Swede fresh from WRC2 victory on the recent WRC event in Germany. Reinis Nitiss got away with a big moment in heat one, his Ford Fiesta squeezed between the cars of Solberg and Andy Scott, but survived. Jerome Grosset-Janin is top Frenchman after two heats in fifth. French Championship front-runner Jean-Baptiste Dubourg was eighth in heat one looking for that acclaim for himself, only to spin at turn two of his heat two race after contact with Timur Timerzyanov who is sixth at the end of day one.
Anton Marklund is top Marklund Motorsport driver in seventh, the Swede won his heat two race but had a huge moment on the back straight on the penultimate lap, with team mate Toomas Heikkinen down in 14th. He too did well to save a big moment that went on for the duration of both of the first two corners in heat two. As in Belgium, Edward Sandstrom struggled to get his Audi S1 off the line in heat two and is eighth, ahead of French stars Gaetan Serazin and Fabien Pailler, who’s brother Jonathan makes his international rallycross debut here but ended his second heat in the first corner gravel trap.
British driver Andy Scott had a good race with local star Fabien Pailler in heat two and is currently 11th, while stand in team mate David Binks is 18th, one place ahead of Derek Tohill. Joining the British and Irish trip across the channel, Ollie O’Donovan and Kevin Procter met twice in their first heat races. In heat one, O’Donovan took the spoils, but in the second run it was Procter who won in his brand new Ford Fiesta – a car that before Thursday hadn’t turned a wheel. The Fiesta is based on an M-Sport built Super2000, using a 1800cc engine and adapted for rallycross. Both the car and it’s driver have been quick out of the box.
Henning Solberg stands in again for Liam Doran in Loheac. He broke his front suspension in heat one. Despite a good run to fifth in heat two, he is 21st, one place ahead of brother Petter’s new team mate Simone Romagan in the PSRX squad. The Italian showed great car control in his two heat races but ended up in traffic. In the first of his three RX events this season, he is learning well. Andreas Bakkerud twice had start line problems; in the first heat he jumped the lights and incurred two joker laps as penalty, in the second heat his Ford Fiesta bogged down. He lies 23rd. Davy Jeanney was well inside the top ten in heat one, but was disqualified afterwards, his Citroen DS3 Supercar found to be underweight post-race. Sixth in heat two, he is 25th.
Ulrik Linnemann heads the Super1600 order ahead of Nikita Misyulya and Steven Bossard, while David Nordgard leads in TouringCar ahead Kjetil Larsen and Torleif Lona.
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