After an action packed round one yesterday, action was thrust upon us once again with the second round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship as Johan Kristoffersson again took the top qualifier spot.
Much better weather greeted the drivers early on Sunday, with Timmy Hansen setting the pace in morning warm-up – a good showing of pace from the 2019 champion.
Lining up for the first race of the day were Anton Marklund, Liam Doran, Krisztian Szabo and Rene Münnich. Doran suffered major problems yesterday after a broken propshaft and a fire put him out of the running.
He was hoping for a better day. Off the line, Doran got away really well and slotted in front of Marklund, who jokered. Szabo followed Doran. It seemed that the racing gods were not smiling down on Doran as he suffered another major problem dropping him to the back and gifting Szabo the lead.
In the dying laps, Marklund also suffered a rear left puncture but still managed to hold onto second place. Szabo took the win but GCK must be concerned with the amount of problems they’ve had this weekend.
Race two had all eyes on it with Mattias Ekström lining up on pole with Andreas Bakkerud next to him and Timur Timerzyanov and Johan Kristoffersson, yesterday’s winner, making up the rest of the grid.
Kritoffersson made a fine start from the outside and went round the outside of Ekström into turn one, taking the lead. Ekström opted for a early joker and slotted behind Timerzyanov and Bakkerud.
Bakkerud was having a much better day and was keeping up with Kristoffersson out front, while Ekström was lighting up the timing screens behind. Kristoffersson dived into the joker on the final lap coming out inches in front of Ekström. He took the win and the fastest time of the session but the fight was on.
Race three had Jani Paasonen, Timo Scheider, Guerlain Chicherit, and Niclas Gronhölm lining up for it.
Scheider got the best start and slotted in front of Gronhölm and it was clear the Hyundai was quicker but he just could not find a way past the former DTM champion, who took the win and set the sixth fastest time.
The final race of the session saw Robin Larsson on pole with Rokas Baciuska next to him and Sebastian Eriksson, Kevin Hansen and Timmy Hansen making up the rest of the grid.
Eriksson got the best start in the Honda and took the lead ahead of Timmy as Larsson went for the early joker. Timmy jokered a lap later, but ended up behind Larsson and his brother. Larsson caught up to Baciuska and threw it up the inside of the velodrome in spectacular fashion to overtake the Lithuanian.
Eriksson then responded with a joker and slotted between the two Hansen Peugeots. Larsson took the win and the third fastest time which meant that Kristoffersson claimed another session win to add to his tally.
It was the slowest drivers from qualifying one that went first in Q2. Münnich lined up on pole for race one with Paasonen next to him followed by Baciuska and Doran, who appeared to have got his issue fixed.
Baciuksa got the best start and led into turn one as Doran dived for the joker. Yet again, Doran pulled off to the side of the road with a terminal issue – the third successive problem this weekend. Baciuksa crossed the line for the win.
Lining up for race two were Szabo, Chicherit, Marklund, and Timmy Hansen. Szabo took the lead in turn one as Marklund and Timmy took to the joker. Marklund put in some fast times and managed to beat Szabo at the joker merge on the final lap. Marklund took the win and the fastest time of the session.
Race three saw Scheider, Gronhölm, Timerzyanov, and Eriksson lining up on the grid. It was Timerzyanov who got the best start, shutting the door on Scheider and Gronhölm. Scheider took the joker on lap one as Gronhölm followed his teammate.
He responded to Scheider but ended up stuck behind the German once again and he was unable to get past. Timerzyanov took the win and the third fastest time.
The final race of qualifying two was an incredibly intense race. Kristoffersson lined up on pole with Ekström next to him followed by Larsson, Bakkerud, and Kevin Hansen.
The start was incredibly even with Kristoffersson just managing to edge in front going into turn two. Ekström once again committed to the joker lap early and began to push hard. Out front, Larsson was flying and was all over the back of Kristoffersson. Ekström was lighting up the timing screens behind and was closing the gap to the leader.
On the final lap, Larsson and Kristoffersson jokered together with Ekström managing to beat Kristoffersson at the merge before Larsson made contact with the barrier on the joker exit, costing him precious tenths and bringing him out behind Kevin Hansen.
Ekström took the win and the fastest time of the weekend ahead of Kristoffersson and Kevin Hansen, who pulled off an excellent drive. Bakkerud, even though he finished fifth, is slowly improving and is right in the mix of the top five in today’s action.
The final qualifying session started off with Chicherit, Paasonen, Eriksson and Doran. There was big contact between Chicherit and Eriksson off the line which allowed Doran to slot into the lead. Eriksson pulled off an incredible save on the downhill section to keep his Honda in check.
Once again, Doran was hit with a technical failure. This time, coolant spewed from the back of the Megane as he went into the joker and confirmed an awful weekend for the British Bomb and RX Cartel have a lot of work to do to fix the car ahead of rounds three and four next weekend. Chicherit took the heat win.
Race two saw Scheider, Baciuska, Gronhölm, and Münnich lining up. Scheider got the jump into turn one as Gronhölm fell behind Baciuska. Once again, he was caught behind another car which affected the Finn’s ultimate pace. Scheider took a commanding win as Gronhölm fell behind Münnich, who pulled off a stellar drive in the sister car.
Bakkerud lined up on pole for race three with Szabo, Timerzyanov, and Timmy Hansen alongside. Bakkerud led into turn one. Szabo and Timmy opted for the joker.
Timerzyanov was following Bakkerud closely but then on the downhill section, the Russian suffered a front driveshaft failure which pitched him into a high speed half-spin and sent him to the back of the pack.
Bakkerud jokered on the last lap and came out in front of Szabo. The time at the end for Bakkerud was much better and it seems the Norwegian is becoming accustomed to the new car after two days of action.
The final qualifying race of the day saw Ekström, Kristoffersson, Kevin Hansen, Marklund, and Larsson lining up on the grid. Once again Kristoffersson led into turn one and Ekström took the joker.
The early joker didn’t pay off for Ekström as he ended up getting caught behind Marklund for the entire race. Larsson and Hansen came together on the joker merge, with Larsson just about slotting in front.
Kristoffersson took the race win and the fastest time of the weekend to take his second top qualifer spot this weekend. Bakkerud finished an excellent second with Ekström third.
The semi-finals and finals start very shortly so stay tuned for all the action here on The Checkered Flag.