Norway’s Petter Solberg took a sensational victory at the World RX of France ahead of 70,000 fans in round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The result marks the third win of the season for Solberg as the former WRC Champion extends his lead at the top of the overall World RX standings. Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss and Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen finished second and third respectively.
“I’m tired, exhausted, sweaty and happy – this has been an unbelievable weekend,” grinned Solberg who is a likely contender of becoming the first double winner of two FIA World Championships. “Yesterday was not perfect – we struggled with tire wear but my mechanics worked really hard on the car until 1am this morning and I noticed a big change overnight. I have a lot of new parts for the next race in Germany so as long as we keep scoring points, everything looks very good for the Championship.”
Successfully pushing Ford Olsbergs MSE back to the top of the Teams’ Championship this weekend was Reinis Nitiss who finished on the podium for the fourth time this season. “Last year I won in Super1600 in Loheac so I am really happy to be back on the podium again but this time in the Supercar. I love this event – there are so many fans and the circuit is amazing with lots of flat out sections.”
Arguably the most impressive drive of the weekend was that of Timmy Hansen for Team Peugeot-Hansen. After winning three out of the four heats and showing an extraordinary pace in the Peugeot 208 Supercar, the Swedish driver was on course to take a win for Peugeot on its home event. “I am a little disappointed to finish third but I know that I won’t be tomorrow morning as it is a great result for the team,” explained 21-year-old Hansen. “I gambled a bit in the semi-finals – I had the RPM too low and didn’t have the best start. I was at the back of the grid for the final but I think I had one of the best races of my life as I fought my way up to second place before dropping to third. I know we’ve had a fast car this year and I’m really happy to have been able to have been able to produce a podium for Peugeot in front of the manufacturer’s home crowd.”
Timur Timerzyanov made it a two-car final for Team Peugeot-Hansen but a race tussle on turn three saw the Russian hit a wall and break his car’s steering. Despite the retirement, Timerzyanov ended the event in sixth place and helped Team Peugeot-Hansen close the gap on VW Marklund in the Teams’ Championship.
America’s Ken Block put on a tremendous show for the huge amount of Hoonigan Racing fans that attended Loheac over the weekend. After a string of top times including a second fastest time in heat two, Block and his Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ended the event fourth overall.
Team EKS RX driver Pontus Tidemand was awarded the Monster Energy Super Charge Award after his rapid pace off the line during today’s all-important final. In what was only his fourth World RX outing this year, Tidemand has consistently challenged the World RX permanent drivers in the Audi S1 Quattro Supercar and is proving to be one of the sport’s brightest prospects after finishing fifth.
Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport had a weekend of mixed results after the team reported difficulties with finding the right car set-up. Team-mates Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund both made it through to the semis but missed out on a spot in the final after finishing fourth and fifth in their race. Heikkinen has slipped down the overall drivers’ standings to third place, nine points behind Nitiss. Marklund remains fifth overall.
DRIVER POINTS AFTER ROUND 8, WORLD RX OF FRANCE
1. Petter Solberg (PSRX), 185 points
2. Reinis Nitiss (Ford Olsbergs MSE), 157 points
3. Topi Heikkinen (VW Marklund), 147 points
4. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Olsbergs MSE), 126 points
5. Anton Marklund (VW Marklund), 124 points
6. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot-Hansen), 118 points
TEAM POINTS AFTER ROUND 8, WORLD RX OF FRANCE
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