Glorious sunshine greeted fans at the first Scandinavian round in the World RX calendar.
Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss holds an overnight lead after the opening two heats at the World RX of Norway, round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. Last year’s Hell RX winner Liam Doran was fastest in heat two for the Monster Energy World RX Team and currently sits second in his Citroen DS3 Supercar.
Glorious sunshine greeted fans at the first Scandinavian round in the World RX calendar today as Championship leader Andreas Bakkerud and former WRC Champion Petter Solberg proved firm favourites amongst the passionate home fans. American Gymkhana star Ken Block also entertained the crowds in his Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta and made an impressive World RX debut, finishing sixth in heat two out of a total of 35 Supercars.
Team EKS RX showcased their brand new Audi S1 Supercars, with two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekstrom and Junior World Rally Champion Pontus Tidemand proving themselves as popular additions to the World RX paddock.
The day began well for Team Peugeot-Hansen as Timmy Hansen clocked the fastest time during this morning’s free practice, closely followed by team-mate Timur Timerzyanov. However, Reinis Nitiss soon proved himself as the man to beat as the 18-year-old Latvian posted a time of 2m45s during the day’s opening heat.
“The car is perfect but I am not happy with myself – I make a lot of small mistakes,” admitted Nitiss. “I was braking too late and kept looking in the mirror to check if I had lost time. Tomorrow I need to drive without mistakes and get off to a good start in every race.”
While Nitiss was his own harshest critic, Doran was pleased with his day one performance. “I’m very relieved,” said the Monster Energy athlete who stormed to the heat two victory. “I have to admit that I had some doubts with my driving after the last two events and even though we’ve had some car problems, I was still worried. So today is a big, big relief. I’d love to be on the podium again, I really enjoy this track – it’s very technical and challenging but it’s awesome to race here.”
Holding third overnight is Volkswagen Marklund driver Topi Heikkinen in the Polo Supercar. “We’ve had a consistent day with a second and fifth place finish,” said the Finn. “This is the third time that I’ve been in the top three after the first two heats so it’s good to be here once again. I know I can go even quicker tomorrow so now the team will make some changes overnight and we will see what tomorrow brings.”
Elsewhere, former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve is currently 12th after a solid performance in his Albatec Racing prepared Peugeot 208 Supercar. The French-Canadian is using team-mate Andy Scott’s car after he damaged his own during testing earlier this week. Home favourite Bakkerud is 21st following a spin and a broken driveshaft on his Ford Fiesta Supercar during heat one.
Tomorrow’s World RX action will commence at 1045 local time with two more heats across the Supercar class, as well as the TouringCar and Super1600 categories. The Supercar semi-finals and finals will begin at 1630, with the finish podium scheduled for 1740.
FIA World Rallycross