Rokas Baciuska takes Top Qualifier spot in Loheac

by Jack Cunnane

A stunning drive from the young Lithuanian driver,Rokas Baciuska, in the GCK Megane saw him win Q2 and take the overnight TQ spot going into tomorrow’s sessions.

Q2 got underway with the fastest drivers from Q1 going first. It was Toomas Heikkinen on pole alongside Timmy Hansen, Timo Scheider, Timur Timerzyanov and Rokas Baciuska on the outside. Scheider appeared to guess the start sequence, getting an incredible reaction time of just 0.075 seconds. Baciuska slotted into second as Hansen and Heikkinen jokered. Baciuska pulled off an incredible joker lap from second to come back out in second and continue his chase of Scheider. It was clear Bacisuka was quicker as he took a second out of Scheider’s lead in just two laps. The Lithuanian overhauled Scheider as the German took his joker, taking his first ever heat race win and setting the fastest time of the weekend so far. An ecstatic Rokas said afterwards: “I think my day is finally coming!

IMG: FIA World RX

Niclas Gronholm, Janis Baumanis, Krizstian Szabo, Andreas Bakkerud and Kevin Hansen lined up for race two. Gronholm took the lead into turn one as Hansen was once again dumped to the back. Bakkerud and Hansen opted for the early joker, enabling them to bridge the gap to Baumanis and Gronholm. Bakkerud dived up the inside of Gronholm to take the lead on lap four, but the time was only good enough for third fastest. Speaking afterwards, Bakkerud took the time to apologise to Anton Marklund after their altercation in Q1: “When you point your finger at someone you’ve got 3 other fingers pointing at yourself. Anton, i’m sorry”.

Race three saw Fabian Pailler, Cyril Raymond, Guillaume De Ridder, Anton Marklund and Oliver Bennett line up on the grid. Bennett tried an audacious move around the outside into turn one but spun off and got wedged in the gravel, putting an end to his hopes of a good result this weekend. It was Pailler that lead after turn one. Marklund opted to joker on lap one, overhauling Raymond on the following lap. Raymond’s front left suspension cried enough after contact with a tyre barrier, forcing the Frenchman to retire. Marklund’s strategy paid off as he came out in front of Pailler after the Frenchman jokered leaving him to take the heat race win. His time was only good enough for seventh.

IMG: FIA World RX

Race four was a three car affair featuring Jonathan Pailler, Liam Doran, and Guerlain Chicherit. Doran also appeared to guess the start sequence with a blistering reaction time of 0.120 seconds. He took the lead into turn one ahead of Chicherit. An uneventful race saw Doran take the heat race win, but his time was only good enough for fourth. “A superhuman start is what i needed, and a superhuman start is what i got!” he said afterwards.

The final race of Q2 saw Knapick, Matvey Furazhkin and Jani Paasonen go up against each other. Paasonen took the lead into turn one and remained there for the duration of the race, ahead of Furazhkin and Knapick. His time was not good enough to trouble the top ten.

This meant that Rokas Baciuska, in only his first season of competition, took his first ever qualifying session win. Not only that, but he also takes the overnight ‘Top Qualifier’ spot going into tomorrow’s action. Can he continue that momentum?

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