Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) claimed a victory that surprised even himself at the seventh round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Canada last weekend. Racing at the first ‘flyaway’ event of the year, double champion Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3) dominated the qualifying stages of the event and even won the first semi-final by almost five seconds over Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo). However, rain fell just before the final, Solberg electing to join Finn Toomas Heikkinen (Audi S1) by starting on dry tyres, a move that didn’t pay off. Hansen made it into the final after Timur Timerzyanov (Ford Fiesta) lost his place in the main event after getting excluded from second place in semi-final two for contact with Heikkinen.
As Solberg dropped to the back of the pack at the start of the final, Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus) fought over honours at the front for much of the race, Hansen passing Bakkerud by using the joker lap at the perfect time. Bakkerud finished second while Kristoffersson scored the first podium of the season for the Volkswagen RX Sweden team. Heikkinen was classified fourth, with Solberg fifth and Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo) sixth. After the finalists had crossed the finish line, Marklund suffered front brake failure on his Polo and crashed into the rear of Solberg’s Citroen, causing significant damage to both cars. Solberg made a brief trip to hospital as a precaution but returned to the paddock soon after. Championship contender Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1) lost the lead of the championship to Solberg; he retired from the second semi-final with a puncture. The Intercontinental RX Lites Cup joined World RX at Trois-Rivieres, and it was the returning Mitchell DeJong who won ahead of Saeed Bintouq and Oliver Eriksson.
Former two-time European TouringCar Champion Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta) won both the Supercar final and Superfinal at the latest round of the Irish Rallycross Championship at Tynagh in Galway, which featured an upturn in entries. Tohill led home Noel Greene (Mitsubishi Colt) in the Superfinal and Thomas O’Rafferty (Ford Fiesta) in the Supercar final, the pair swapping positions in the two races. Reigning Irish Rallycross Champion Willie Coyne (Vauxhall Corsa) won the Modified final, with Tohill’s father George second (BMW M3) and Patrick Ryan (Vauxhall Nova) third, while John Ward (Peugeot 106) won the Stockhatch 16v final despite the bizarre scenario of having to swap cars with his father Eugene after the second heat when the clutch gave up in his own car. Ciaran Murphy (Peugeot 205) won the Stockhatch 8v final. In the Junior final, Morgan Quinn and Shane Duggan were involved in a fierce battle in the closing stages of the final, Quinn claiming the win.
At Maasmechelen, Jochen Coox (Volkswagen Polo) won the fourth round of the Rallycross Challenge Europe, ahead of Johnny Verkuringen (Subaru Impreza). Hungarian driver Csucsu (Ford Focus) completed the podium. Further down the order, Mart Tikkerbar (Ford Fiesta) dropped to the pack of the field after contact from Mark Flaherty (Ford Focus) early in the race. Flaherty finished fourth, with Tikkerbar sixth. Mandie August (Audi S3) hit a wall while trying to make her way into a podium position and finished fifth. Vaclav Veverka (Peugeot 208) won the Super1600 final ahead of Josef Susta (Skoda Fabia) and Pavel Vimmer (Skoda Fabia), while Roman Castoral (Opel Astra) led home local man Ivo Van den Brant (Mitsubishi Colt) in Supertouringcar+ and Steve Volders (Ford Escort) was victorious in the Supertouringcars+ final.
Frenchman Guerlain Chicherit, who raced in two rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship last season in a JRM Racing run Mini RX, will return to World RX for the French, Spanish and German rounds of the Championship this season, starting in Loheac next month. Chicherit raced at both Loheac and Franciacorta (Italy) with the team last season, but didn’t make it into the semi-finals on either occasion. “I’m really looking forward to racing in World RX with JRM again,” he said. “We’ve been exploring many options since Loheac last year and initially spoke about doing the full FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2016. However, I decided to wait until the new engine was developed for JRM’s cars. I hope to play my part in developing the car further so I can do a full championship season next year.”
British Rallycross Championship driver Dave Newsham will return to the British TouringCar Championship this weekend at Knockhill with the Power Maxed Racing team, as he deputises for regular driver Kelvin Fletcher (who has also sampled rallycross previously), as the Coronation Street actor is expecting the birth of his first child this weekend.
Fredrik Salsten has announced that he will race at the next round of the World Rallycross Championship at Loheac, driving the Peugeot 208 Supercar is racing in the Peugeot-Hansen Academy team this season in Euro RX.
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