Petter Solberg has dominated the opening day of the World RX of Great Britain as the FIA World Rallycross Championship headed to Lydden Hill.
After leading the way in Q1 with a new lap record, the Norwegian set the fastest time of Q2 with 2:53.632 ahead of Timmy Hansen and Mattias Ekström.
The opening race of Q2 saw Davy Jeanney line up on the inside with Julian Godfrey and René Münnich alongside. It was Münnich who got the early advantage as Jeanney took the joker lap. Godfrey held on to second place until he took his joker which dropped him to third place. Münnich’s time would give him twelfth place in the overall standing for Q2, with Jeanney just behind in thirteenth and Godfrey in seventeenth.
Ken Block had the inside advantage for the second race, with Sébastian Loeb and the British duo of Guy Wilks and Liam Doran alongside. Doran had an early scare when he stalled on his practice start, thankfully for the British Bomb he made the grid and took the start. Block took the holeshot while the other three drivers took their joker lap early. Block would do his best to try to build a big enough gap for his joker but clipped the tyres when he took the longer route, demoting him to second place as Loeb took a victory. Loeb’s time puts him in fifth place for Q2, with Block in eighth. Doran and Godfrey in sixteenth and seventeenth respectively.
Timmy Hansen dominated the third race of Q2, leading from start to finish as Niclas Gronholm, Reinis Nitiss, Tanner Foust and Kevin Eriksson battled it out behind the Team Peugeot Hansen driver. Gronholm and Nitiss tangled with each other in the first corner, ending up at the rear of the field while Erikkson and Foust come home in second and third.
The penultimate race of the day saw action from the start, Janis Baumanis spun on the first lap while Timur Timerzyanov and Robin Larsson traded paint, the two would collide at Devils elbow, resulting in damage to Timerzyanov’s front right wheel; As he headed towards the hairpin the damage was too much and the car was pitched in to the barriers. Topi Heikkinen took the victory after getting the jump on Birthday-boy Kevin Hansen who celebrated his eighteenth birthday today. Larsson took sixth ahead of the recovering Baumanis. The EKS RX driver ended Q2 in sixth place, just ahead of Hansen. Larsson and Baumanis finished eighteenth and twenty first overall with Timerzyanov marked as a DNF.
For the final race of the day Petter Solberg headed a strong line-up of Mattias Ekström, Anton Marklund, Andreas Bakkerud and Johan Kristofferson. While Solberg demonstrated a masterclass in rallycross out front, Ekström and Bakkerud battled it out for second place after the Norwegian gained the advantage over Kristofferson as they both took their joker. Ekström and Bakkerud pushed on but Solberg was too strong, the race finished with the EKS RX driver two seconds down with Bakkerud in close quarters. Kristofferson and Marklund almost come together after exiting a dust cloud but Kristofferson gained the advantage to finish the race in fourth place.
The top three drivers at the end of the day are Petter Solberg, Mattias Ekstöm and Andreas Bakkerud.