The FIA World Rallycross Championship visited Spa-Francorchamps for round three, the Spa World RX of Benelux, where GRX Taneco’s Timur Timerzyanov won the final.
It took 64 events for Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov to win his first ever FIA World Rallycross Championship final, but he did that in Spa and was the biggest winner of the weekend. “In the first corner of the final I saw both guys who were in front of me go wide so I took my chance to take the lead. The team were keeping me calm on the radio, I gave them a little scare with a small mistake in the joker lap and nothing was 100% until the finish line, but to cross the line and win felt unbelievable,” he said. “I had forgotten this thrill of winning, but rallycross is my passion and this is why I kept fighting all throughout these years. This has always been our main goal – to win, and every one of us did an amazing job this weekend.”
Joni Wiman didn’t look like a driver making only his second ever World RX start in Spa as he showed consistency through qualifying with P5, P4, P5, P3, then won semi-final two and was third in the final even after hitting the wall in turn one. “I’m really grateful to the team and sponsors that made my return to the World RX possible. And I am happy that it was here - in the venue with so much racing history,” he explained. “After the semi-final I felt that I could have a shot at the very top. In the final, though, I had a little incident in the first corner and after had to drive like mad to climb back to the third place. Being on a podium after this long break is more than I expected before the race and I really hope I could come back for more events this year,”
Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis beat Team Hansen MJP’s Timmy Hansen to second place in semi-final two to make it into the final, then finished fifth in the last race of the weekend even though he received contact at turn two that damaged his Ford Fiesta. Latvia’s Baumanis is the only driver to qualify for every final so far this season.
Belgium’s Enzo Ide made his rallycross debut in the sport’s highest level at the Spa World RX of Benelux and impressed with his race craft and pace in the JC Raceteknik Audi S1, as team mate to 2016 Drivers’ Champion to Mattias Ekstrom. “I enjoyed this weekend really a lot. I learned a lot, which is why I was here, to learn from all of the guys in the team who have a lot of experience, compared to me who has none,” he said. “Before this weekend I had watched just one rallycross race live, but Mattias taught me a lot and at least I know what it’s all about; the start procedure, keeping clear in the head and everything you need. The first time I did a start I was shaking like hell but I enjoyed it a lot and now I’m more confident. I’m excited about what we can do in the future.”
P1, P2, P8. World RX Championship Leader Kevin Hansen’s Spa weekend was the worse of his season so far after finishing first and second in Abu Dhabi and Catalunya. His chances of making his third final in a row ending when he clashed with Monster Energy RX Cartel’s Liam Doran over the finish line in semi-final one and missed the final by less than a tenth of a second.
Sweden’s Anton Marklund was one of the pace setting drivers in Spa. Quickest in Free Practice on Saturday morning and with some of the fastest lap times of the weekend, the Swede was fast but didn’t quite make final. His GC Kompetition team mate Guerlain Chicherit has a worse weekend though, stuck in traffic his chances of making the semi-finals ended when he had contact with EKS Sport’s Krisztian Szabo over the jump in Q4 and both drivers went into the wall on the outside.
Finland’s Niclas Gronholm was second in the World RX Drivers’ standings before the third round of World RX in Belgium, eight points behind Kevin Hansen, but fell ill in the week before Spa World RX and was unable to start. With his GRX Taneco team mates Timur Timerzyanov and Joni Wiman on the podium Gronholm could have taken the Championship lead in Belgium. World RX wishes Niclas a speedy recovery and we can’t wait to see him back on track at the Speedmachine Festival.
Manfred Stohl’s STARD team is yet to score any points in the World RX Teams’ Championship and is last in the Teams’ standings because its second new Mk8 Ford Fiesta is yet to be introduced. The team hopes to debut the new second car for the next round at Speedmachine next week.