After a month stopped, the FIA World Rallycross Championship returned to action crossing the Atlantic and arriving at the Circuit Trois-Rivières in Canada. Timmy Hansen had to overcome all problems possible to take an unexpected victory on Canadian soil, his first in 2016.
During the qualifying heats he wasn’t exactly someone to bet your bucks as his runs weren’t worth a heat win, and combined with a retirement in the second heat, the mess left Timmy on tenth in the intermediate standings, barely qualifying to the semifinals.
The first semifinal saw top qualifier Petter Solberg ruling everything from the first corner while Johan Kristoffersson tried to disturb him while Ken Block held Anton Marklund and Sébastien Loeb. The first two were far ahead the opposition while Block looked for an opportuinity to pass Marklund after the joker lap to get third place, but all efforts came to nothing as a broken suspension in the final lap halted the progress of the stunt driver, giving open way to confirm Solberg, Kristoffersson and Marklund in the final.
The second semifinal was a bit more troubled, with Mattias Ekström becoming the leader while Andreas Bakkerud ruined the EKSRX party by staying between Eki and Topi Heikkinen. A lap later, Bakkerud took the lead after Ekström suffered a puncture, meaning the World RX leader would be out of the final.
Soon the main battle was Bakkerud versus Timur Timerzyanov as the World RX Team Austria driver tried everything up on his sleeve to overtake Bakkerud without any success, and after the joker he got caught in a battle for the second place with Heikkinen, recovering the place after forcing Topi to a mistake. Unfortunately the FIA stewards saw a controversial push from Timur into Heikkinen in the last lap and excluded the Russian from the final, which brought fourth-placed Hansen to the grid.
The final saw changing conditions in the track, as the sunny day gave place to a quick shower to spice up things. In the wet track, Toomas Heikkinen started in the lead, but his lack of grip proved to be a hassle compared to the well balanced Peugeot 208 WRX, making the EKSRX driver go down to third while Hansen took first place with Bakkerud right behind.
The Ford Focus RS RX was outstandingly quick on dry conditions, but the wet weather wasn’t on its favor, so Bakkerud wasn’t unable to threat Hansen, giving a highly celebrated first win in 2016 to the young Swede, with Bakkerud and Kristoffersson completing the podium.
After the finish in the middle of the celebration, Anton Marklund lost the brakes of his Volkswagen Polo RX gave a hard hit in the back of Solberg’s Citroën DS3 RX, sending the current World RX double champion to the hospital to be checked. Outside some pain and bruises, both drivers are fine. Petter still found time to some humour despite the pain.
Now the World RX sets its return to Europe to arrive in France, more specifically at Lohéac on September 4th, in one of the highlights of the season, as high quality wildcards and packed stands are a common thing in the circuit.
PHOTO: Team Peugeot-Hansen