The penultimate round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship counted with the visit of FIA president Jean Todt to watch the progress of the series, but more importantly, the action on track brought the first victory in the season for Andreas Bakkerud, as well it helped to put the title battle on Petter Solberg's favor.
The trio of guest drivers had a weekend to forget. Gianni Morbidelli, driving for Münnich Motorsport, didn't had the pace to stay away of the back of the table, while problems hit the cars of EKSRX's Andrew Jordan and Gigi Galli.
The start of the first semifinal had Johan Kristoffersson holding Solberg to take the lead, but then the Norwegian driver tries to put pressure on the Swede, but without success. While the duo settled for their respective positions, Timur Timerzyanov saw his hands and mirrors full with the presence of Robin Larsson, trying everything to get the third spot to the final, but the Swedish independent driver ran wide and lost his car in the çast lap, opening the way for the Russian to classify to the final.
The second semifinal saw Solberg's title rival Timmy Hansen end his race with a smashed front end after a chain reaction where he was hit by Anton Marklund and the tire barriers, and then he hit Reinis Nitiss and Tord Linnerud.
Between those who survived the first corner carnage, Manfred Stohl was in close pursuit of Andreas Bakkerud but had the full image of Anton Marklund in his mirrors. When Marklund was close enough to attack, he didn't need to do so, as Stohl entered the joker and they traded places. In the end, Bakkerud just had to go straight to the checkered, as well Marklund and Stohl.
To the Team Peugeot-Hansen, the consolation came in form of the Teams Championship title, as Olsbergs MSE couldn't reach the Swedish team.
World RX of Italy semifinals - results
The final starts and everybody keeps their cars clear to avoid trouble, but Marklund didn't have the same luck, as his car spun a few turns after. He charged hard to reach Stohl, and passed the Austrian driver when he made a mistake.
Bakkerud made a perfect race to the finish, even though Kristoffersson tried to close the gap to the Norwegian driver, while Petter Solberg was coming way behind. The scenario kept the same until the finish, as Bakkerud won without problems, with Kristoffersson and Solberg completing the podium.
World RX of Italy final - result
WIth everything that happened at Franciacorta, Solberg is now with 279 points against 253 from Hansen, meaning that five points at Rosario, Argentina, will give the second title to the Norwegian driver.
Unfortunately, the wait for the title decision will be long, as the last World RX event will be on November 29th.
PHOTOS: Olsbergs MSE, FIA, FIA World Rallycross