Hansen Leads Barcelona WorldRX

For the fifth event in a row, Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Timmy Hansen leads Day One of a 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship round, as he guided his Peugeot 208 WRX to be fastest after the first two heats of the inaugural WorldRX of Spain.

Hansen began the event by being fastest in heat one, racing against team-mate Davy Jeanney and fellow Peugeot Rallycross driver Fabien Pailler. The young Swedish driver then went on to go sixth fastest in heat two to secure the overnight lead.

“It’s been a really good day. We’ve never been as quick as we were today,” explained day one leader Hansen. “Heat one was a big battle with Davy Jeanney and when we took the Joker Lap I came out in front.  I was watching the other heats that followed which is always a nervous time but it felt great to be quickest.

“The second heat was good too but tough with Johan Kristoffersson on the first corner.  The Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar is so quick to drive, I don’t feel I’m going that fast until I see the lap times.  Unfortunately I got a five second penalty for taking a cut on the first corner. Having spoken to the stewards, I see what they mean. They acted very professionally and I was impressed with how they acted. At the end of day, I am still on top so that is what matters.”

Despite being fastest in open practice, Mattias Ekstrom lies in second place after the first two heats in his EKSDX Audi S1 Quattro, having finished fourth in heat one and second in heat two and Ekstrom admits to some luck on his part.

“I broke the rim and was very lucky to make it to the end of the race second quickest,” he explained, before adding: “We’ve been eating a lot of dust today.  We’ve not hit jackpot but it’s been a good day and I’m enjoying this track a lot.”

Championship leader Petter Solberg lies in third place, having piloted his SDRX Citroen DS3 to tenth place in heat one but then going fast enough to win heat two. Portugal winner Johan Kristoffersson is in fourth place overnight in his Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo whilst Ford OlsbergMSE driver Reinis Nitiss completes the top five in his Ford Fiesta Supercar.

Nitiss admitted to enjoying racing on the new Barcelona Rallycross circuit, saying: “I didn’t think it was possible to make such a good rallycross track at a permanent F1 facility but Barcelona has proved me wrong. I really like this circuit, it’s technical and the gravel is very slippery which means you have to get the right rhythm.  

“You need to be careful not to make any mistakes so it’s very challenging when up against five other drivers. We’ve had good pace all day and it’s good to be smiling again after a few tough events.”

Marklund Motorsport‘s Topi Heikkinen lies in eighth place behind Andreas Bakkerud and Robin Larsson, shared his enjoyment of the circuit.

“The track is awesome,” explained the Finn. “The jump is a lot of fun – it’s not very high but is spectacular for fans and photographers so it’s been designed well.  I was second in free practice, but struggled a bit in traffic in the first heat.  The second heat was a lot cleaner and now I just can’t wait to get back on the track again tomorrow.”

Jeanney, Tord Linnerud, Timur Timerzyanov and Anton Marklund complete the top 12 whilst guest drivers Timo Scheider and Tanner Foust lay just outside the cut off.

Tommy Rustad leads the running in the penultimate round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in his Marklund Motorsport/HTB Racing Volkswagen Polo ahead of Joni-Pekka Rajala in his Eklund Motorsport Saab 93 with Tamas Karai piloting his Skoda Fabia to third place overnight. VW Team Sweden’s Ole-Christian Veiby lies in fourth place with Loheac podium winner Jean-Baptiste Dubourg completing the top five.

Albatec Racing’s Jerome Grosset-Janin led EuroRX heat one in his Peugeot 208 RX but a wheel issue in heat two saw the Frenchman drop to tenth overnight whilst team-mate James Grint had a horrible first two heats after being caught up in traffic and hitting a wall.