Peugeot World Rallycross driver Timmy Hansen fended off Mattias Ekstrom to win the inaugural Nitro Rallycross event at the Nitro World Games in Utah.
The Swede topped the event after the first day of racing, allowing him to skip Sunday’s preliminary heat rounds. That helped him in the semi-finals where not only did he win, but he set the fastest race time across both semis to start the main event on pole.
It looked as though Hansen would have missed his chance of his first major win in over two years at the start of the final when he was shuffled back after getting sideways at the first turn. He made contact with Scott Speed, allowing Ekstrom to sneak into the lead.
Hansen recovered to hold second place by the end of the first lap, where he set about chasing down his compatriot. Hansen continually lapped faster than Ekstrom, but was unable to find a way past. He took the joker on lap three – the mid-way point in the race – but despite pressure momentarily being relieved from Ekstrom, he was unable to capitalise.
When Ekstrom finally took the joker on the last lap of the race, Hansen easily passed the Audi driver, after making the most of the clean air from taking the longer route earlier to put in a string of fast lap times.
Hansen ultimately won by almost two and a half seconds over Ekstrom, while Tanner Foust – who survived the opening lap carnage and then went on to have a relatively subdued race – finished third.
Steve Arpin was classifed fourth, and was the final finisher in the eight car field. Patrik Sandell was scored in fifth place. He battled with Arpin at the rear of the field for much of the race but dropped out of contention late on.
Top qualifier Chris Atkinson made a strong start and looked set to mount a strong challenge for the podium, but the opening lap melee led to him losing a tyre. He pulled off the course on just the second lap.
Another strong bet for the win whose race ended early was Scott Speed. After being collected by hansen at the first turn, he was hit from behind by Travis Pastrana in an incident that took both out of the race on the opening lap. They were classified in seventh and eight respectively.
Ken Block did not take part in any running on the second day of the event, choosing to retire after persistent suspension issues left him risking injury.
Nitro Rallycross Final results
1. Timmy Hansen
2. Mattias Ekstrom
3. Tanner Foust
4. Steve Arpin
5. Patrik Sandell
6. Chris Atkinson
7. Scott Speed
8. Travis Pastrana
DNS – Ken Block