In one of the most action packed and controversial final races in World RX history, Timmy Hansen crossed the line to claim the 2019 World RX title on countback.
Lining up for the final race of the 2019 season in South Africa were; Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud on row one, Kevin Hansen and Niclas Gronholm on row two, and Timur Timerzyanov and Timo Scheider on the back row. The stage was set for a titanic battle to the line between Timmy and Andreas. When asked what his thoughts were heading into the final deciding race, Timmy Hansen simply replied; “Let’s get it“, echoing the thoughts of every rallycross fan across the world. This was going to be mega.
The tension was palpable as the ‘Ready-to-race’ light came on and the engine noise began to echo around the Killarney Motorsport park. Who was going to take it?
The lights went green and it was Bakkerud who got the best start, firmly shutting the door on Timmy as they headed through turn one. Scheider tried to hang it around the outside of Kevin but was hung out to dry and he slotted back into fourth. After turn one, it was Bakkerud who lead from Timmy.
As the pair arrived into turn six, Timmy was latched onto the bumper of Bakkerud. Timmy saw a small opening as Bakkerud tried to get the car turned in. Then, the unthinkable happened. Timmy made contact with Bakkerud, sending him into the outside wall which then bounced him back into Timmy who then hit his brother Kevin. Bakkerud somehow managed to keep the throttle on and power through the chaos as Timmy and Kevin were left facing the wrong way. Surely the championship was over for Timmy at this point. All this chaos allowed Gronholm to take the lead with Bakkerud following behind. The Hansen brothers managed to get their cars going again but Timmy was well out of position in fourth with Timo Scheider(who had already jokered) right behind him.
Then, it all turned on it’s head again. Crucially, Timo Scheider spun the car on the entry to turn four. The issue would turn out to be terminal, but this meant that Timmy was secure in fourth place which would be enough to tie with Bakkerud on points, which would also be enough for him to win the championship on countback. It would all come down to the dying laps.
Niclas Gronholm was untroubled out front and cruised to his second win of the season. Behind, Bakkerud managed to joker and come out in front of Timerzyanov for second place, but it wasn’t enough. Timmy Hansen crossed the line to take fourth place and, in so doing, becomes the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Champion bringing an end to the most incredible season of Rallycross ever. Or so we thought. As the celebrations ensued, it came to light that the contact between Timmy and Andreas was under investigation by the stewards, meaning that there could still be a late twist in this glorious saga. After a thorough investigation by the stewards, it was deemed a racing incident and Hansen was officially crowned as the FIA World Rallycross champion 2019.
An extremely emotional Timmy Hansen spoke to Neil Cole afterwards;”I’m in shock, i put in the performance of a lifetime and now we are world champions(Team Hansen MJP also won the constructors title). I’ve been dreaming of this my whole life, it feels amazing“. Bakkerud was visibly furious with Hansen and the pair exchanged words on the podium. Bakkerud did not take part in the ceremonial spraying of the champagne, which left us all with a slightly sour taste in our mouths as the season rounded off.
This season has been one of the most incredible seasons of Rallycross since the championship was founded and it has been my pleasure to report on it. In the words of Andrew Coley; “It’s been mega, we’ll see you in 2020″.