Solberg, Chanoine and Graham win in Barcelona, France and Wales
by Hal Ridge |
Championship leader Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3) won the tenth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Barcelona in Spain ahead of Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo) and Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208). Solberg had struggled to match Hansen’s pace through the heat stages, and compounded his troubles by hitting a wall in heat three and breaking his cars suspension. Solberg finished second in his semi-final to start on the second row of the grid for the final, and led after the first corner when Kristoffersson and Hansen ran wide. Solberg controlled the race from the front to win his third final of the season ahead of Kristoffersson and Hansen.
Davy Jeanney (Peugeot 208) finished fourth with Tanner Foust (VW Polo) making his fourth World RX start of the season and came home fifth, right on Jeanney’s bumper as the pair crossed the finish line. Robin Larsson (Audi A1) again made the final but retired on the opening lap. Toomas Heikkinen (VW Polo) and Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Fiesta) were the two drivers to just miss a place in the finals, while Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1) was set to make it into the final, but damage after contact with Larsson in the semi-final put him out. Tommy Rustad (VW Polo) won the FIA European Rallycross Championship final but was later excluded for a technical irregularity, promoting 18-year old Ole-Christian Veiby (VW Polo) to the win. Alexander Hvaal (Citroen DS3) finished second with Joni-Pekka Rajala (Saab 93) third, despite a heavy crash earlier in the day. Ollie O’Donovan (Ford Fiesta) was classified fourth with Jerome Grosset-Janin (Peugeot 208) fifth. Andrea Dubourg (Renault Clio) won the Super1600 final ahead of Krisztian Szabo (Skoda Fabia) and Janis Baumanis (Renault Twingo). Thomas Bryntesson won in RX Lites, with Frenchman Cyril Raymond second and championship leader Kevin Hansen third.
The eighth round of the French Rallycross Championship took place at Mayenne, where Geatan Serazin (Peugeot 208) dominated the event in the heats. Championship rival Christophe Wilt (Citroen DS3) suffered from mechanical problems in the opening heats but made the final, only for the two title contenders to come together. That left the door open for Fabien Chanoine (Renault Clio) to win his first Supercar event, ahead of the naturally aspirated Dacia Logan of David Olivier, Adeline Sangnier (Peugeot 207) and Jessica-Anne Tarrière (Citroen Xsara).
In Super1600, Enzo Libner (Renault Twingo) won ahead of championship leader Laurent Chartrain (Citroen C2) and the similar car of Maximilien Eveno. Christophe Saunois (Toyota Corolla) won Division Three again and extended his championship lead over Guy Moreton (Citroen DS3) who finished second. Mathieu Trevian (VW Scirocco) finished third. In Division Four, Sebastien Le Ferrand (Peugeot 306) won after championship leader Steven Lefrancois (Peugeot 206) was forced to retire. Emmanuel Anne (Renault Clio) finished second with Stephane Hameau (Peugeot 306) third. In the Twingo R1 Cup category, points leader Tom Daunat won ahead of Pascal Huteau and Jean-Mickael Guerin.
The final round of the Finnish Rallycross Championship took place at Honkajoki, where Niclas Gronholm (Ford Fiesta), son of double World Rally Champion Marcus, sealed the Supercar crown at his first attempt. Jarno Kukkola ( Ford Fiesta) wrapped up the SuperNational title. “I couldn’t really have had a better season, three wins out of five! We had some problems to sort with but when they were solved, things got a lot better. I’m happy,” said Gronholm.
Irishman Tommy Graham (Ford Escort) took a brace of wins at the fourth and fifth rounds of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship at Pembrey, South Wales. Graham twice headed home Michael Boak’s Citroen C2 at the event, before Boak passed Graham in Sunday’s Superfinal to finish second to Gary Pusey’s Subaru Impreza Supercar, which won the four-wheel drive category on both days. Kenny Hall (Renault Clio) and Gary Cook (MG ZR) each took a podium in the SuperModified category with Vince Bristow (BMW 325) fourth on Saturday and Philip Kelly (Toyota MR2) claiming the position on Sunday. John Ward (Peugeot 106) and James Orton (Peugeot 106) both claimed a Production category victory in South Wales, and were both on the podium on the day they did not win. John Lyne (Citroen Saxo) scored a pair of podium finished while Gwain Clark made a strong debut in his Ford Focus and was sixth on Saturday having won the B final and fourth on Sunday. Vince Bristow took a pair of wins in the Historic / Classic Mini category.
Hungarian driver Tamas Pal Kiss has announced that he will drive a Hansen Talent Development Peugeot 208 at the final round of Euro RX in Italy. Kiss moved to rallycross full-time for 2015, following a career in single-seaters, and has been racing in the Hungarian Championship in a Skoda Fabia. He switched to a World RX Team Austria Ford Fiesta for the most recent event at Greinbach but will move to the Hansen squad for Franciacorta. Kiss tested with the team at Strangnas, Sweden earlier in the year. “It’s one thing to judge the level of competition from outside and another to be there, but I am certainly aiming to be in the final. I have been given a lot of great advice by Timmy Hansen, who I got to know when we were both in the same team in formula racing a few years ago. The circuit at Franciacorta is a mix of rallycross and racetrack, which should suit me. I hope Italy is just the start, we are hoping for an increased programme in rallycross next year,” he said.
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