Timerzyanov takes early lead at World RX of Sweden
Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Timur Timerzyanov leads Volkswagen World RX of Sweden after the first full day of action at the fifth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.
Two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekstrom is second for the EKS RX Team, while PSRX driver Petter “Hollywood” Solberg is third in his Citroen DS3 Supercar.
Blazing sunshine greeted a sell-out crowd today (Saturday) as over 100 cars took to the popular Holjes circuit to battle it out across 57 races in the Supercar, TouringCar and Super1600 categories as well as the RX Lites Cup. The home fans had a host of drivers to cheer on with 25% of the entry list consisting of Swedish stars such as Timmy Hansen, Anton Marklund and reigning Junior World Rally Champion Pontus Tidemand.
Solberg set the pace early on posting the quickest time during free practice and also during the nine Supercar races which made up heat one. “I’ve got hundreds of guests here this weekend – I had to put on a good show for them!,” joked the Norwegian whose time of 3m0.85s was the quickest all day.
Timerzyanov went on to win heat two, pipping World RX debutant Sebastian Eriksson to the post by 0.2 seconds. “I’m so happy to be here – we really need a podium spot this weekend ” said the reigning FIA European Rallycross Champion. “I had a very good first heat and made no mistakes. Then in the second heat, I was off the line quickly and then drove my own speed. Being out front really helped because I avoided the trouble behind me. The car is going much better after Finland, we changed some of the settings and tomorrow I just need to avoid punctures.”
After finishing runner-up in this event last year, Ekstrom was delighted to hold second overnight in his Audi S1 Supercar. “I’m proud to be here,” said the Swede at the end of day press conference. “We are making progress quickly as a team and are now making good starts. The balance in the car is feeling much better.”
Volkswagen Marklund driver Topi Heikkinen was a model of consistency today finishing heats one and two fourth quickest to end the day fourth overall. Team-mate Anton Marklund was not so lucky during heat one, however, as the driver landed heavily over a jump and broke the left rear suspension as well as the front and rear differentials. The VW Marklund team worked hard during heats to repair the car and Marklund went on to finish heat two in seventh place.
Rounding off the top five was Sebastian Eriksson who shone on his World RX Supercar debut for Ford Olsbergs MSE. Elsewhere, former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve ran out of luck when a front-right puncture on his Albatec Racing run Peugeot 208 Supercar hindered the French-Canadian’s progress. Villeneuve is 22nd overnight.
Monster Energy World RX team-mates Liam Doran and Davy Jeanney had a day of mixed fortune. Britain’s Doran began the day well winning his heat race but dropped to 12th after a slower time on heat two. Despite no testing in the Citroen DS3 Supercar, Jeanney displayed raw talent behind the wheel after leading for most of heat two but narrowly missing out on a race win after incurring a puncture.
Three heats were run today in the TouringCar and Super1600 classes. Leading the TouringCar category is Daniel Lundh, with Ondrej Smetana leads the Super1600 with one heat remaining. After winning both his heats in the supporting RX Lites Cup, 16-year-old Kevin Hansen is first overnight.
Tomorrow’s race action will commence at 0930 local time with open practice across all categories with the semi-finals and finals scheduled to take place from 1430.
By Rachel Cavers