FIA World RallycrossOff RoadRallycross

Ekström Takes Top Qualifier on Day Two in Barcelona

4 Mins read
Credit: FIA World RX

Mattias Ekström secured the top qualifier spot after a strong recovery from yesterday’s struggles in round eight of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

Qualifying One

A fresh track greeted the drivers on day two in Barcelona. Lining up for race one were Robin Larsson, Enzo Ide, Timur Timerzyanov, and Oliver Bennett.

Larsson nailed his start and pulled clear of the rest of the field. An uneventful race saw him take the win and the fastest time of the weekend so far. Would the track develop like it did yesterday?

Yesterday’s podium finisher Kevin Hansen lined up on pole next to Patrick Guillerme, yesterday’s winner, Timmy Hansen, and championship leader, Johan Kristoffersson.

It was a great start from Kevin who took the lead in turn one. Timmy lost second to Kristoffersson who managed to sneak up the inside in turn one. Kristoffersson opted to joker early and came out in front of Guillerme.

Kevin responded on the next lap and just managed to get in front of Kristoffersson. Out in front, Timmy was flying and setting fastest lap after fastest lap. He then jokered and came out in the lead and took the win and the fastest time in the session with track appearing to be getting quicker.

Credit: FIA World RX

Liam Doran lined up on pole for race three next to teammate,Andreas Bakkerud, with Mattias Ekström and Mandie August.

Ekström got an amazing start from slot three and managed to go around the outside of Bakkerud and Doran with the Swede slotting in behind him. Ekström began lighting up the timing screens with fastest lap after fastest lap.

Doran seemed to be struggling at the back but he made a very clean overtake on August in the second-to-last corner to take fourth. Ekström crossed the line to win and to take the fastest time of the session so far. Could it be beaten?

Lining up for the final race were Niclas Grönholm, Tamas Karai, Timo Scheider, and Anton Marklund.

It was a great start from Grönholm who took the lead and now had clean air to push. Unfortunately, it seemed that Grönholm was struggling in the Hyundai, lapping almost a second off the pace of Ekström and he crossed the line to take the eighth fastest time of the session, meaning Ekström took his first session win of the weekend.

Qualifying Two

Doran, August, Guillerme, and Bennett lined up for the first race of the second qualifying session. Bennett got a great start in the mini and almost managed to take the lead from Doran but had to back out of it. Doran led comfortably right up until the very last corner on the last lap where he lit up the rear tyres and speared off into the wall inches from the finish line, allowing Bennett to take the win. Doran kept the engine running and secure second. It later came to light that he was suffering an engine misfire which contributed to his error in the last corner.

Scheider, Marklund, Ide, and Karai lined up for race two. Scheider took the lead with a great start. Marklund jokered on lap two which gave him free air to push.

This worked well for him as Scheider jokered on the final lap, allowing Marklund to take the lead. Ide unfortunately suffered more issues but managed to limp the Audi to the finish. Marklund took the win and the fastest time by over six seconds.

Credit: FIA World RX

Bakkerud, Kristoffersson, Timerzyanov, and Grönholm were your grid for race three. Off the line, it was Timerzyanov who got an epic start and slotted in front of Bakkerud and Kristoffersson.

Bakkerud was the first driver to joker and Kristoffersson and Grönholm then responded but Bakkerud just about managed to hold on against Kristoffersson.

Bakkerud defended beautifully against Kristoffersson and managed to keep him behind and after Timerzyanov jokered, Bakkerud took the lead. Kristoffersson tried a last second overtake in the final corner but it didn’t quite pay off, losing out to Bakkerud by two tenths and Bakkerud took the fastest time as a result.

The final race of this session consisted of Ekström, Timmy Hansen, Larsson, and Kevin Hansen. Ekström got a great start and took the lead before making a very interesting call to take the joker from the lead of the race.

This turned out to be a masterclass in strategy as he was immediately within range of the Hansens. Kevin led his brother for the entire race and the brothers both jokered on the last lap but both came out behind Ekström who crossed the line to take the win and the fastest time and was again fastest overall in Q2.

Qualifying Three

Qualifying three started off with the news that Doran would be taking no further part in any other sessions due to technical problems, meaning that the races would be formed of three five-car grids.

Race one consisted of Bennett, August, Larsson, Guillerme, Ide. It was Ide who managed to snatch the lead. Bennett seemed to lose it on the brakes in the last corner and spun his mini.

Larsson then took a joker early and began to pump in the laps. August also suffered a spin in the last corner which dropped her to the back. Ide jokered late allowing Larsson to take the lead and also the win.

Credit: FIA World RX

Marklund, Grönholm, Scheider, Timerzyanov, and Karai lined up for race two. It was a great start for Grönholm who managed to slot in front of Marklund but Marklund managed to sneak back up the inside.

Timerzyanov took an early joker but was jumped by Grönholm at the merge. There was contact between the teammates in the last corner as Timerzyanov tried a move up the inside. As a result, Marklund managed to joker and come out in front of them all. He set the fastest time of the session and went to the top of the standings as a result.

The final qualifying race of the day saw Ekström, Kevin Hansen, Bakkerud, Kristoffersson, and Timmy Hansen lining up. It was Bakkerud who got the best start and surged into the lead.

Ekström once again went into the joker early to try and close the gap down. Kristoffersson was shuffled to the back. Bakkerud took the joker on lap three and managed to just about jump Ekström.

Kevin Hansen jokered on the last lap and managed to also jump Ekström to secure second. Bakkerud crossed the line to take the win and the fastest time in the session and therefore took the win in qualifying three, and Ekström took the Top Qualifier spot. The semi-finals look set to be action packed!

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