Round four of the FIA World Rallycross Championship
Volkswagen Marklund’s Anton Marklund has established an early lead at World RX of Finland, round four of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, following today’s opening two heats. Reinis Nitiss, winner at the previous round in Norway, is second overnight for Ford Olsbergs MSE with team-mate Andreas Bakkerud and Peugeot Hansen’s Timmy Hansen in joint third.
A total of 24 Supercars entered the Finnish RX event including American Top Gear presenter Tanner Foust who entertained the crowds in his VW Marklund Polo, ending the day in sixth place. Two ex Formula One drivers, Jacques Villeneuve and Markus Winkelhock were also included in the stellar line-up but Winkelhock was unable to compete when a technical problem with his Audi S1 Supercar forced the German driver into an early retirement. Villeneuve finished today 12th overall.
Monster Energy World RX Team’s Liam Doran clocked the fastest time during free practice in his Citroen DS3 Supercar but a technical hitch hindered the British driver’s progress in heat one. Championship leader Nitiss went on to take the heat win with a time of 2m54s – the fastest time all day.
Intermittent rain before heat two added an extra challenge as teams were forced to decide between remaining on slicks or swapping to Cooper’s wet compound tyres. The conditions suited several drivers including Marklund whose car was set up perfectly to cope with the tricky conditions on-track.
“The car is made for these sort of conditions,” explained 21-year-old Marklund. “I spent a lot of time this winter driving on ice and it definitely helped me out there today. I was trying to make as few mistakes as possible and I think the strategy paid off. It’s a great start and I’m very pleased with how everything is gone. Tomorrow I will be aiming for the top of the podium.”
Hansen, who finished in the top three in both of today’s heats, added: “It’s not all about being quickest – today I finished third in the first heat and second in the next but it’s still put me in a good position for tomorrow. The track was drying all the time on the second heat and those running later on were definitely at an advantage. We were on the slicks then which helped my lap times but we were all quite nervous before that race. You never quite know what the conditions will be like until you are driving them yourself.”
Rounding off the top five is Monster Energy World RX Team’s Krzysztof Skorupski who had a solid day in the Citroen DS3 Supercar. “I’ve felt really comfortable in the car today and I feel like things are starting to look positive,” explained the Polish driver.
Tomorrow’s World RX action will commence at 10:30 local time with two more heats across the Supercar class, as well as the TouringCar, Super1600 and supporting RX Lites Cup. The semi-finals and finals will start from 1430, with the finish podium scheduled for 1740.