Belgian driver Enzo Ide has bounced back from a couple of disappointing rounds in the FIA European Rallycross Championship to at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the first day of round four in Riga. The EKS driver looked in commanding form, with championship leader Anton Marklund in second, and local Latvian hero Janis Baumanis taking third position.
Marklund and Ide were battling right from the beginning. Having taken a super wide line off the start, Marklund swung his Hyundai i20 into the first corner, driving right in front of Ide’s Audi S1, causing Marklund almost to spin out entirely. He held it with a superb display of car control, but, having tried to get past everyone, ended up having to fight from fourth position. Out front, Ide was in spectacular form, pulling off a wonderful move around the outside of Finland’s Mikki Ikonen at the joker merge to take the lead, after which he promptly vanished, finishing over three seconds ahead of everyone else.
Baumanis should not be ruled out of taking the overall win. He won both of his heat races, managing to make the first one in particular look very straightforward. After a little “elbow out” action between him and Tamás Kárai, Baumanis planted his foot on the accelerator pedal, and, to the delight of the home fans, finished over four seconds ahead of his rivals. In heat two, he managed to come out of his joker lap just ahead of the flying Belgian. Ide got better traction out of the final corner and forced his car up the inside as they charged down to turn one, but Baumanis just managed to hold on and took another race win, albeit less than half a second ahead of his Belgian rival.
It was Marklund, however, who took the ultimate win in heat two. He took advantage of being in the first race of heat two and demonstrated impeccable driving, a beautiful joker lap, and finished almost 8 seconds ahead of anyone else in his race. If he hadn’t had the contact at the start of heat one, it is very likely that he would have been challenging Ide for that overall top spot on the leaderboard.
Going into tomorrow (04 September), it looks like a three-way battle for supremacy between Baumanis, Ide, and Marklund. From a championship perspective, Baumanis really needs to assert himself if he wants to have any hope of closing that 17 point deficit between him and Marklund at the top of the standings. However, as we know, anything can happen in rallycross. Let’s see who takes home the 20 points at the end of the final tomorrow.