Mixed weather conditions gave a bit of trouble to the drivers in the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre, Portugal. In the end, the mess was good to Swedish driver Johan Kristoffersson, who won his first World RX race in his second season of worldwide competition.
During the heats the main problem was the treacherous joker turn of the circuit, as a calculation error could send you to the gravel at least, thanks to the wet track. What could be the worst case, you ask? Just flip your car, like it happened to Anton Marklund and his Audi. We can say he Orlove'd it.
After all five heats, the guys that advanced to the semi-finals were: Petter Solberg, Timmy Hansen, Andreas Bakkerud, Johan Kristoffersson, Mattias Ekström, Topi Heikkinen, PG Andersson, Davy Jeanney, Robin Larsson, Timur Tymerzyanov, Reinis Nitiss Manfred Stohl.
The first semifinal had Petter Solberg winning without problems, making his joker lap near the end of the race. Andreas Bakkerud was close to him in the last lap, but avoided any reckless moves to stay with the second position. PG Andersson completed the list of classified drivers for the final.
The second semifinal saw Hansen and Kristoffersson enter near each other at the first corner, while Jeanney, Stohl and Heikkinen make the joker lap right at the start. Then, Timmy Hansen made his joker lap and Tymerzyanov started an attack to the Swede, but was unable to pass. In the final laps, Kristoffersson made his joker, with Hansen behind him, but not at attack range, staying like that until the finish. Davy Jeanney found time to pass Topi Heikkinen, finishing in third and putting the two Team Peugeot-Hansen drivers in the final.
In the final, Kristoffersson was good at the start, even holding an inspired and quick Jeanney, while Solberg and Hansen left the joker to later in the race. Hansen made his joker lap, fighting with a charging PG Andersson that in a given moment pushed Hansen off-track, to discover a suspension problem in his VW Polo RX and end the race in last, while Hansen kept going.
When Solberg made his joker on lap 4, he discovered that it wasn't such a great idea to leave the joker for later, as Kristoffersson passed for him and saw the checkered first, with Solberg right behind, and Timmy Hansen leading the pair of Peugeot-Hansen 208s.
You can check here all results from the World RX of Portugal, while teams and drivers go to Hockenheim, Germany, to race the Round 2 of the 2015 season on May 1st, sharing the track with the DTM and Audi TT Cup machines.
By the way, you, avid RX fan will have reasons to watch the Audi TT Cup, as Anton Marklund and Topi Heikkinen will participate in the debut of the new single-make series. Also, Mattias Ekström goes back to his natural ground in DTM, leaving his Polo RX to another tarmac specialist, Edward Sandström.
PHOTO: Volkswagen Team Sweden