Sweden’s Hansen leads Turkey RX after day one

It is the sixth consecutive event that the Swedish Team Peugeot-Hansen driver has been top qualifier at the end of day one.

Timmy Hansen leads the Intercity World RX of Turkey, round 11 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, after the event’s first two heats. It is the sixth consecutive event that the Swedish Team Peugeot-Hansen driver has been top qualifier at the end of day one. After winning the second heat, EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom is second overnight while Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss is third. Championship leader Petter Solberg is fourth.

In the supporting RX Lites Cup, where Turkey forms the penultimate round, it’s Norway’s Thomas Bryntesson that leads the 10 RX Lites cars. Series leader Kevin Hansen is second, one spot ahead of Britain’s Tom Onslow-Cole who is making his rallycross debut in Istanbul having won the RX Talent Search which was held at Lydden Hill earlier this year. Kevin Eriksson is fourth, the Swede fighting back in the second heat having rolled his car in the first race.

We are trying to find the right set-up, it’s a hard balance between going too hard and going too soft,

Petter Solberg

“I can’t believe I’m leading again, but it just goes to show how good the Peugeot 208 is. It’s so easy to drive and whatever I do at the moment just feels natural. I just drive by my instinct and I get really quick times, it seems the perfect combination,” explained day one leader Hansen. “I expected bad grip from last year but I have been driving on ice at home a lot and slippery conditions is something that I love. I think this track combines my racing background and my ice driving days in Sweden so I feel very at home on this track.”

Solberg, on the other hand, struggled with the lack of grip in his Citroen DS3 Supercar but still managed to post two top four times. “We are trying to find the right set-up, it’s a hard balance between going too hard and going too soft,” explained the reigning World Champion.

“We are back in business,” grinned third-placed Nitiss who was second quickest in heat one. “This track isn’t easy to drive but the dirt section is very similar to Barcelona. You need to really think about what you’re doing, it’s easy to make a mistake.”

Nitiss’ team-mate Andreas Bakkerud – who took last year’s Turkey RX victory – is fifth at the end of today’s heats. Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson is sixth in his VW Polo RX Supercar. Team-mate Tord Linnerud is ninth, the Norwegian struggling with wheel spin and finding the right amount of grip in the slippery dirt sections.

Elsewhere, Liam Doran was excluded from heat one following a scrutineering infringement after finishing the race. The British driver returned for the second heat but was slowed after running wide and lost to Marklund Motorsport’s PG Andersson who took the race win.

All-Inkl.com Muennich Motorsport driver Alx Danielsson had a torrid time in heat two after incurring a five second penalty for exceeding track limits and crashing into a tyre wall later in the race.

World RX Team Austria’s Max Pucher and Manfred Stohl are 17th and 20th respectively at the end of today. Austrian Stohl was slowed with steering problems and the team are replacing the car’s steering rack and exhaust manifold overnight.

Tomorrow’s Turkey RX will commence at 0915am local time with warm-up for Supercars and RX Lites. Heat three will run from 1030am with the fourth heat scheduled for midday. The World RX semi-finals and final will take place at 3pm with the World RX winners’ press conference taking place at 4.10pm.

FIA World Rallycross

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About this article
Series World Rallycross
Event Turkey
Sub-event Saturday
Track Istanbul Park
Drivers Mattias Ekström , Petter Solberg , Timmy Hansen , Reinis Nitiss
Teams Hansen Motorsport , Olsbergs MSE
Article type Race report