While a win from the defending champion Mattias Ekstrom is no suprise, there was many things over the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship opening weekend worth noting.
PSRX are fast out of the box
Heading in to the season the PSRX team was something of an unknown, Petter Solberg made the switch from his Citreon DS3 to the VW Sweden backed Polo GTi and the world held its breath. Really there should have been nothing to worry about as both Solberg and new team-mate Johan Kristoffersson put in solid perfomances throughout the weekend to make it in to the finals. No podium this time for either of the drivers but that situation will change very soon!
Peugeot-Hansen hit the front from day 1
Over the past few seasons Team Peugeot-Hansen have had a tough start to their year, flashes of pace often undone with misfortunate incidents and while they have shown their might in the latter part of the season it has been too little, too late… That is until now!
While it is early to call and we are only one race in to the season, the development work on the Peugeots’ during the off season has paid off with Timmy Hansen comfortably in the top 10 through out the qualifying races. Team-mate Sebastien Loeb was unlucky to miss out after finishing Q3 last due to a broken driveshaft, otherwise he surely have made the semi-finals based on his other results, two ninth places and an eighth.
Kevin Hansen continues to improve, only finishing out of the top 12 in one race and finishing as high as fifth in Q2; He made it through to the semi-finals to finish fifth.
Bakkerud consistant as ever
Andreas Bakkerud picked up where he left off last year with another solid performance, while there was a scare in the qualifying races when he and Hoonigan team-mate came together, they both did enought to make it through to the semi-finals with Bakkerud taking a close second place to secure an appearance in the final. A hard fought battle saw the Norweigan hold off former champion Solberg for the final podium step.
Ken Block will be stronger this year, with a full World RX season under his belt and circuit knowledge it might not be long before he takes a win in the final.
DTM at the forefront
Defending champion Mattias Ekstrom got things off to a near-perfect start as he took a win in Q3, the semi-finals and the battle that was the final as he held off former DTM rival Timo Scheider. While the pace of Ekstrom wont have come as a suprise to many, the perfomance put in by Scheider would have opened many eyes as he finished just 0.256 seconds off the bumper of race victor Ekstrom. Whatever they have been doing in DTM, they’ve been doing it right!
Wilks shows promise
Late season entrant Guy Wilks impressed throughout the weekend as he made it through to the semi-finals, only missing out on a final appearance by one spot, Wilks will be one to watch this year, especially when he hits home turf at Lydden Hill.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to Portugal next as Montalegre plays host to the second round of the 2017 season, it’s already shown plenty of action in the opening weekend (check out the video below), so make sure you don’t miss the rest of the season as The Checkered Flag brings you coverage from each round, in case you missed anything from the weekend, you can find an archive of all of the news here.