Johan Kristoffersson has been named the winner of the World RX of Catalunya-Barcelona, spherical one of many 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship offered by Monster Power, after first-on-the-road Mattias Ekstrom was disqualified from the ultimate following an incident with Petter Solberg. Sebastien Loeb secured second place end after an eventful weekend for Workforce Peugeot Complete, whereas EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud ensured three producers are represented within the high three.
Beginning alongside each other on the grid after successful their respective semi-finals, Ekstrom and Solberg made contact on the run to show one, ensuing within the latter hitting the monitor markers on the within of the nook. Whereas Ekstrom continued within the lead, Solberg – who set the occasion’s quickest lap across the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya throughout the first semi-final – rejojned the race sixth and final.
With Ekstrom happening to resist race-long stress from Kristoffersson to take the chequered flag first, Stewards concluded the EKS Audi Sport driver had “Made contact with automobile #11 [Solberg] on his left… Additional, the Stewards thought-about this to be a harmful manoeuvre and liable to hinder automobile #11.” and disqualified him from the ultimate.
The choice gifted Kristoffersson his tenth World RX victory, levelling the rating with Ekstrom and Solberg , the three World RX Champions answerable for 30 victories throughout the 50 occasions run to this point.
“That is positively one of the best ways to begin my title defence,” he commented. “I squeezed every part I may out of my VW Polo R. I knew it was going to be tight on the exit of the joker but it surely was an pleasurable combat; Mattias is a really switched-on man, and he is aware of precisely find out how to place his automobile to make it tough to overhaul. I used to be pleased with second place however whereas successful like this clearly isn’t the nicest means, I’ll seize it with each fingers.”
Loeb’s second place got here following a exceptional turnaround on a day that originally noticed him miss the reduce to progress to the semi-finals. A troubled set of qualifying races left Loeb 13th on the intermediate classification, and first reserve for the semi-finals. He was thrown a lifeline when Peugeot stablemate Kevin Hansen, who’d certified 12th, withdrew from the semi-finals.
An early Joker Lap gave Loeb the sting over Bakkerud and an sudden second place forward of the Norwegian, who later gave Audi one thing to cheer by inheriting third place general on his debut with the staff.
“It’s superb what number of completely different feelings you’ll be able to expertise over the course of a rallycross weekend,” stated Loeb. “I went out of each Q2 and Q3 with damaged rear suspension, which left me a good distance down the classification and I didn’t anticipate to make it into the semi-finals, not to mention the ultimate. I had a little bit of luck on my facet finally. It’s good to see that the automobile is aggressive. I feel we now have taken a little bit step ahead from final 12 months, and we’re right here within the combat, so hopefully we are able to proceed on this means.”
“It was a really difficult weekend with difficult and altering circumstances,” added Bakkerud. “I’m happy to be within the last already within the first race with my new staff and new automobile. I see an enormous potential, not only for me however for the entire of EKS Audi Sport. I have to push even more durable, as a result of I need to go all the way in which to the highest at spherical two in Portugal.”
GRX Taneco loved a robust begin to the 2018 season with its new Hyundai i20 as Niclas Gronholm claimed a career-best World RX lead to fourth place. The younger Finn completed forward of Solberg who ran sixth on the street earlier than being elevated to fifth on the expense of rival Ekstrom.
Ekstrom nonetheless goes dwelling with the Monster Power Tremendous Cost Award for the quickest response off the start-line.
GC Kompetition loved a optimistic World RX debut with its Prodrive-developed Renault Megane R.S RX after Guerlain Chicherit and Jerome Grosset-Janin each reached the semi-final stage and demonstrated aggressive tempo. Nonetheless, there have been combined fortunes for returning former Groups’ champions Olsbergs MSE with Robin Larsson reaching the semi-finals however Kevin Eriksson failing to progress past the qualifying races after an uncharacteristic crash in Q2 dented his possibilities.
Within the FIA European Rallycross Championship, Latvia’s Reinis Nitiss swept to a dominant victory within the Supercar class. Main from flip one within the Set Promotion Ford Fiesta, Nitiss escaped to win by three seconds over defending champion Anton Marklund, with Jean-Baptiste Dubourg finishing the rostrum in his G-Fors Renault Clio.
Artis Baumanis added to Latvia’s success by taking victory within the opening spherical of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Tremendous1600. He was joined on the rostrum by Volland Racing staff mate Gergely Marton (Hungary) and Frenchman Jimmy Terpereau.
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, commented: “It has been a implausible begin to the 2018 World Rallycross Championship, one which units the stage for what’s clearly going to be an action-packed season. Now we have seen a crowd of 30,00zero followers pack the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya grandstands over the weekend, which is a rise on final 12 months and demonstrates the rising reputation of World RX because it begins its fifth season. With all groups exhibiting aggressive tempo all through the weekend, we’re sure the 2018 season will probably be extremely shut all the way in which to the ultimate spherical in South Africa on 24-25 November.”
The FIA World Rallycross Championship offered by Monster Power will resume with World RX of Portugal at Montalegre in two weeks’ time (28-29 April).
Full outcomes from the World RX of Catalunya-Barcelona may be discovered at the next hyperlink: www.fiaworldrallycross.com/outcomes
Full Championship standings may be discovered at the next hyperlink: