Under immense pressure from two former champions, Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström, Niclas Grönholm claimed his maiden win of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross championship in Finland.
Kristoffersson and Ekström had a clean run in their semi-final but it all kicked off behind between Juha Rytkönen, Anton Marklund, and Robin Larsson. Rytkönen had contact with Marklund into turn one which sent the Swede to the back. Later in the race, Larsson attempted an overtake but made contact which caused his Audi to suddenly slow with a mechanical proble, allowing Andreas Bakkerud to go through to fourth. Kristoffersson won ahead of Ekström and Rytkönen but Rytkönen was then given a five second time penalty for track limits which meant that Bakkerud would go through to the final.
Grönholm was on pole for semi-final two and he got the jump into turn one. It was incredibly close between Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Timo Scheider, and Jere Kalliokoski on lap one. Kevin opted for an earlier joker which almost worked for him at the end. Timur Timerzyanov was putting in some good times and it came down to the final corner between all three of them. Timmy just managed to nip up the inside of Timerzyanov in the last corner to take second as Kevin and Timerzyanov went side-by-side over the line. There was just one-hundredth of a second between them across the line but Timerzyanov just about came out ahead.
In the final it was Kristoffersson versus Grönholm into turn one. Kristoffersson once again nailed his start but a clever cutback line from Grönholm allowed him to slip up the inside to take the lead. An immense battle then ensued as Kristoffersson began nudging the back bumper of Grönholm in the slippy downhill hairpin, trying to force the Finn into a mistake. Ekström was also right on the back bumper of Kristoffersson doing the same thing. After three laps, Kristoffersson dived for the joker lap and quickly caught back up to the leading pair. They left it until the last lap to joker and the race came to a climax at the last corner as Kristoffersson tried to send it around the outside of the pair, but he drifted very wide and Timerzyanov went for it on the run to the line, taking third away from him. Grönholm held on for a special win at home in Finland to kickstart his season.
The championship now takes a three week break before heading to Bikernieki in Latvia for another double-header event. Can Kristoffersson hold onto that championship lead? Stay tuned to find out.