Petter Solberg entered the ninth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Germany with a healthy 28 point lead over Latvian Reinis Nitiss.
At the second oldest venue on the WorldRX calendar [after Lydden Hill], Solberg leads at the end of day one and outwardly appears to be driving with a championship mindset, content to follow Timur Timerzyanov for their entire heat two encounter knowing the time would be good enough to put him near the top of the order. At a circuit that is such a lottery with it’s tight first corner, Solberg like the rest of the front-runners is hoping to keep his nose clean during the heat races to ensure progression to the semi-finals and final. Timerzyanov is second overnight, and was one of several drivers to make contact the scenery in the joker lap section. The Russian driver running wide in heat one and hitting the tyre wall, while Emil Ohman, Mattias Ekstrom and Pontus Tidemand all hit the bank on the way into the joker lap in heat two.
Robin Larsson drove a brilliant race in heat one to top the time sheets, but 25th fastest in heat two dropped him to ninth overall. Third is Ekstrom, who having set fastest time in free practice made a poor start in his heat one race before making his way passed Tord Linnerud and Dennis Romer on lap one to win his race and salvage 12th fastest. With the quickest time in heat two, despite hitting the bank in the joker, the Swede pulled himself up to third. Team-mate Tidemand is 12th overall, he had to take two jokers in heat one after jumping the start. Henning Solberg is having his best run so far in Liam Doran’s Citroen DS3 and pipped brother Petter to second place in heat one. He lies fifth overall, behind Tommy Rustad who is living up to his potential in Germany. Thanks to a consistent seventh and fifth time, and the demise of some of those ahead, he is fourth. Fellow Norwegian Frode Holte is eighth in the ex-Sveere Isachsen Ford Focus.
After a brilliant outing for Andy Scott in Loheac, the British driver struggled to replicate that form at the Estering on day one. 30th and 21st times put him 26th overall, while new team mate Ramona Karlsson was disqualified from heat two after contact with Alexander Theuil which left the Frenchman’s Citroen DS3 in the middle of the circuit on the last lap of their race. Andreas Bakkerud’s recent run of misfortune continued in heat one at the Estering. A touch from returnee Guttorm Lindefjell sent Bakkerud’s Fiesta into the side of Anton Marklund. Initially continuing to lead on lap one, in the braking zone at the end of the back straight Bakkerud’s suspension gave way and sent him into a 306 degree spin in front of the pack. He did finish the race, albeit slowly, as did Marklund who had picked up bodywork and steering damage. The pair both completed their races in heat two at full speed, and are 18th (Marklund) and 27th (Bakkerud) respectively. Bakkerud’s OlsbergsMSE team mate Reinis Nitiss is tenth, while Marklund’s VW Polo counterpart Toomas Heikkinen is sixth.
It was a reasonably good day for the Hedstroms Motorsport pairing of Peter Hedstrom and PG Andersson, despite the latter spinning at turn one of race one. Hedstrom is inside the semi-final qualifying positions in 11th, while Andersson lies just outside in 14th. Rene Munnich’s debut in his new Audi S3 didn’t return any race finishes on day one, but the car has already shown good lap times in it’s maiden event.
Ulrik Linnemann heads the Super1600 order after two heads ahead of local man Andreas Steffen, while TouringCar is topped by Kjetil Larsen, closely followed by championship leader Daniel Lundh.
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