Timur Timerzyanov leads the way on the opening day of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy as it got under way in Montalegre Circuit in Portugal.
It was Petter Solberg who lead the way in the free practice setting a benchmark time of 39.34s with reigning FIA European Rallycross champion Timerzyanov just half a second behind.
The opening heat saw Timerzyanov finish on top for Team Peugeot-Hansen with Solberg second in his PSRX run Citroen DS3 Supercar, Andreas Bakkerud finished third place in the Ford OlsbergsMSE.
Heat two started with a bang as Timerzyanov and Solberg clattered together, the incident forced Solberg to retire while the heat one winner would go on to claim another victory. After the race Timerzyanov would be disqualified for his part in the first corner accident only to be reinstated later after a review of the official video. Reinis Nitiss and Topi Heikkinen finished joint third while Anton Marklund rounded out the top five.
“It’s a good start for me and for the team,” explained Timerzyanov. “The main race is tomorrow but I want to be on the pole again. Maybe I will do something special in the final!”
Bakkerud was happy with his first day of the new championship. “It’s been a great result for Olsbergs MSE today and I’m really happy. We have to say a big thanks to Andreas [Eriksson] and the whole of the OMSE team. I feel like we are really well prepared and they have done a great job over the winter. It almost felt like we were revising over winter and today was the exam – I think we didn’t do too bad!”
Jacques Villeneuve suffered opening day woes with a puncture and finishes the day in fifteenth, just one place behind Ramona Karlsson in her Saab 9-3.
“It was a tough learning day and the level of competition here is very high so I will need to push,” explained the former F1 World Champion. “The car feels different to how we tested it during the winter. I made a mistake in the first heat and had a puncture in the second but I hope to make the semis tomorrow. It feels great to be part of a Championship again – the rallycross fans are great.”
The Monster Energy World RX Team suffered a bad day at the office as technical problems forced both cars of Liam Doran and Krzysztof Skorupski out of the first day.