Jeanney and Stepanenko victorious while Chicherit and Coley announce drives
by Hal Ridge |
The FIA World Rallycross Championship’s first long-haul event of the season took place at Trois-Rivieres, Canada, where on a much improved circuit French driver Davy Jeanney (Peugeot) came out on top of an intense weekend. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) and Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3) shared the heat win spoils, Hansen taking three to Solberg’s one and the pair met head-to-head on the front row of the first semi-final. In the dash to the first corner, the pair came together, Hansen breaking his suspension from contact with the wall while Solberg spun after more contact at the corner exit. Both drivers failed to make the final, as did Reinis Nitiss (Ford Fiesta) who was an innocent victim caught up in the battle. In the final, Jeanney headed home Marklund Motorsport pair Toomas Heikkinen (Volkswagen Polo) and Tanner Foust (Volkswagen Polo), while Tommy Rustad (Audi S3) finished fourth. Filling in for the absent Alx Danielsson in the Munnich Motorsport team, Rustad was pleased to make the semi-finals, delighted to make the final and had the icing put on his cake by almost making the podium. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Fiesta) finished fifth and moved up to second in the championship ahead of Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo), while Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1) had started on pole in semi-final two and finished the final sixth. Oliver Eriksson won the standalone RX Lites Intercontinental Cup event ahead of category debutant’s Cyril Raymond and Andrew Ranger.
Russian driver Roman Stepanenko (Citroen C4) won the third round of the Rallycross Challenge Europe, where six Supercars took part. Home driver Jos Jansen (Ford Focus) finished second with Johnny Verkuringen third, driving a Subaru Impresza formally used by Patrick Van Mechelen. World RX driver Max Pucher (Ford Fiesta) was fourth ahead of Ronny Scheveneels (Volkswagen Scirocco). Oleg Grishin (Skoda Fabia) failed to finish. In the Super1600 category, Stepanenko’s team-mate Egor Sanin (Renault Clio) won ahead of German Sven Seeliger (Ford Fiesta) and Artis Baumanis (Renault Twingo). Roman Castoral (Opel Astra) beat Jos Sterkens (Volvo C30) in the SuperTouringCars – division, while Volvo 242 runner Luc Maris headed home Steve Volders (Ford Escort) in SuperTouringCars +.
World RX TV commentator Andrew Coley will race an RX150 at the seventh round of the MSA British Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill later this month. Coley recently made his rallycross debut at a Lada Race in Latvia and has already tested the RX150. “I’m really looking forward to making my British Rallycross debut at Lydden Hill. I enjoyed the test and I was pleasantly surprised that I felt comfortable in the buggy,” said Coley. “The RX150 has a hell of a lot more power than the Lada, but both are rear wheel drive. I need to find a balance between sideways and lap time, and adapt very quickly to much higher speeds. If I could apply some of the stuff that I watch Petter Solberg and Timmy Hansen do at each World RX weekend then I’d be laughing.”
Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit will contest the French and Italian rounds of World RX this year, driving a JRM Racing Mini. The former JWRC and Dakar driver Chicherit has been working on an opportunity in World RX for some time, and is excited to have finalised a drive. “I’m super happy that JRM is giving me this opportunity to drive its Mini against guys like my fellow Monster Energy team-mates Petter Solberg and Liam Doran,” he said. “I’ve been following World RX closely and I’m very impressed by its growth, today’s quality of driving, the atmosphere and the exciting circuits that are on the calendar. JRM is a really progressive team that is fully committed to World RX so I hope we can have a couple of great race weekends. I’ll be there to learn as much as possible about the car and the racing, and if I can cause a bit of heat on the track at the same time – even better!”
Meanwhile in France, World Touring Car Championship star Yvan Muller tested the Albatec Racing Peugeot 208 he will race at the Loheac round of World RX next month. Joining Muller at the two-day test were the team’s regular Euro RX drivers James Grint and Jerome Grosset Janin, and rallycross newcomer Kristian Sohlberg.
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