The penultimate round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship took place at Franciacorta last weekend, where Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Fiesta) scored his first win of the season, and the first for the OlsbergsMSE team. Following his two wins in 2014, Bakkerud has now scored three World RX victories, the latest being witnessed by FIA President Jean Todt, who paid his first visit to an FIA event in Italy.
Bakkerud started on the front row of the final, beat pole sitter Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo) to the first corner and won in challenging conditions. Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3) finished third and just missed out on sealing the drivers championship, while Anton Marklund (Audi S1) recovered from a first lap spin to finish fourth ahead of Manfred Stohl (Ford Fiesta), who struck back from a huge free practice crash to make the first final for World RX Team Austria. Timur Timerzyanov’s (Ford Fiesta) recent return to the sharp end of the order continued, but he was ruled out of fighting for a podium finish by a puncture.
Robin Larrson (Audi A1) again just missed out on the final, as did Peugeot-Hansen driver Davy Jeanney (Peugeot 208). The Frenchman’s team mate, Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) crashed out at the first corner of the semi-finals, giving Solberg the march in the championship race. The Norwegian now just needs five points from the final round in Argentina to retain his crown. Despite neither Peugeot-Hansen car making it to the final, the team wrapped up the Teams’ Championship title.
British star Andrew Jordan (Audi S1) was forced out of the event with technical problems after heat one, where he had also picked up a puncture. Italian Gigi Galli debuted his brand new Kia Rio, but with limited testing the car suffered an oil pressure issue in free practice, so elected to withdraw from the event rather than risk damaging the engine. Galli plans a two-car effort for 2016.
In the FIA European Rallycross Championship, Tommy Rustad (VW Polo) won to win the title he has been dreaming of since he was 10 years old. Jerome Grosset-Janin entered into the event trailing Rustad by six points and matched his rival for much of the weekend. He suffered a puncture in the final and didn’t finish. Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Citroen C4) finished second in Italy while Ole Christian Veiby’s (VW Polo) third place finish meant he pipped Joni-Pekka Rajala (Saab 93) to third in the championship standings. Newcomer Tamas Pal Kiss (Peugeot 208) impressed and qualified on the front row for the Euro RX final but was forced out with an alternator problem.
In the EuroRX Super1600 championship Janis Baumanis sealed the title by qualifying for the semi-finals. He spun in the final while Ulrik Linnemann (Peugeot 208) racked up his third victory of the season to finish second in the standings.
In the RX Lites Cup, Kevin Hansen was confirmed as champion while waiting for the start of semi-final two, his closest rival and the only man that could beat him come the semi-finals, Thomas Bryntesson, was forced out with broken suspension. 2014 champion Kevin Eriksson won the event with Hansen second and Joaquim Hvaal third.
The BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship held its penultimate round of the year at Blyton Park in Lincolnshire. Todd Crooks (BMW Mini) fought back from missing the first heat to win the SuperModified final (in which he also spun on the first lap) ahead of Phillip Kelley (Toyota MR2) and 2014 overall champion Gary Cook (MG ZR). Nick Potter (Citroen Saxo) scored a personal best result of fourth while Peter Hamlet (Peugeot 306) and Jamie Yapp (Suzuki Swift) both retired. John Ward (Peugeot 106) won the Production category final and continues to lead the overall BTRDA standings. Jeff Hope-Davies (Citroen Saxo) finished second while Gwain Clark (Renault Clio) scored his first podium finish with third. Shelley Wakeling (Mini) won the Classic Mini category from Martin Knowles (Mini) and Ian Clark (Mini).
On the Monday following the Franciacorta World RX event, Albatec Racing ran former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov in a test as he assesses a move to World RX for 2016. “This is an option for next year. This was my first day of testing. Later I will decide what to do for next year. But, why not,” said the Russian. A selection of Super1600 and RX Lites teams also used the opportunity to run a number of drivers at the test day.
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