Canada WRX: Hansen scores shock win in wet finals
Peugeot-Hansen driver Timmy Hansen scored a shock victory at the Canadian round of the World Rallycross Championship, as rain hit the Trois-Rivieres circuit for the finals.
Hansen had initially finished fourth in the second semi-final, outside the top three qualifying positions for the final, but was promoted to the back row of the grid when Timur Timerzyanov was disqualified for contact with EKS driver Toomas Heikkinen in the same semi encounter.
At the close of a baking hot weekend, rain fell for the support race just before the World RX final, leaving a wet and slippery circuit.
Reigning champion Petter Solberg had dominated the event leading up to the final by topping the Intermediate Classification and winning the first semi-final by almost five seconds.
He started on pole position for the final, with compatriot Andreas Bakkerud alongside. When the lights went green, Solberg made a poor start while Heikkinen – starting on the outside of the second row – made the best launch and led into turn one.
Like Solberg, Bakkerud also didn’t get the perfect getaway but was able to close the door on Solberg into the first corner, Bakkerud running second with Solberg dropping all the way down to sixth.
Team mates Johan Kristoffersson and Anton Marklund took their joker laps at the first opportunity, while ahead Heikkinen ran wide at turn one on lap two, allowing Bakkerud into the lead.
Hansen also passed the Finn into the second corner of lap two, the Swede having also made a poor start but was able to cut back on the inside into the first corner at the first time of asking.
Solberg took his joker on lap two and dropped back down to sixth, while Hansen pressured Bakkerud for the lead of the race.
Heikkinen took his joker on lap three to split the Volkswagen RX Sweden cars of Kristoffersson and Marklund in fourth.
Hansen was next to take his joker lap on the fourth tour and returned to the main circuit just ahead of Kristoffersson.
Hansen pushed hard to close the gap to Bakkerud with the aim of leap-frogging the Norwegian when he took his, which he did on lap five, Hansen taking the lead and Bakkerud slotting back out into second.
The top three of Hansen, Bakkerud and Kristoffersson ran nose-to-tail for the final lap, the positions remaining the same until the end, Hansen scoring his first win of the year and Kristoffersson finishing on the podium for the first time in 2016.
Heikkinen finished fourth while Solberg passed Marklund for fifth. Despite not claiming the victory that looked certain to be his, Solberg took the lead of the championship, with the former leader Mattias Ekstrom, retiring from the lead of the second semi-final with broken suspension on his Audi.
Results - Top 6:
Canada WRX: Solberg keeps top spot as qualifying concludes
Solberg escapes serious injury in freak finish line crash