Round 8 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship was held in Canadian Trois-Rivieres, where 20 WorldRX drivers were starting.
Due to a lot of rain on Friday, it wasn’t possible to have any practice ahead of the qualification heats, but the track had dried up for the Saturday racing.
Reinis Nitiss broke the prop shaft in Qualification heat 1, which gave the mechanics a lot of work ahead of Q2, but they made it.
Andreas Bakkerud had a spin in Q2 and ended up in the middle of the track. His car was parked right after a blind corner, and Sebastien Loeb only managed to see him at the very last second, and thus only made a light contact with the Ford Focus RSRX of the Norwegian, sending Loeb off the track. Both cars could make it to the finish, with only a few scratches. The missing points from especially Q2 was very costly for Bakkerud, who didn’t qualify for the Semifinals. But he didn’t really score big points in the other 3 qualification heats, so it wasn’t all bad luck.
After the 4 qualification heats was run, it was Johan Kristoffersson, Mattias Ekström, Kevin Eriksson, Janis Baumanis, Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen into Semifinal 1. Only Latvian Baumanis was the only non-Swede in that semifinal!
Petter Solberg, Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen, Sebastien Loeb, Ken Block, Timur Timerzyanov and Timo Scheider were all in semifinal 2.
Ekström got a really bad start, even though he had the fastest reaction time. The car crawled slowly off the line, before it picked up speed. Meanwhile, Kristoffersson led ahead of Eriksson and Baumanis. Both Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen were quick to dive into the Joker Lap, and when Eriksson later came out of his Joker Lap, he slid in right between the two Peugeot drivers. Kristoffersson could take it very easy out in front, and made it to the final in impressive way, while Baumanis dropped to last after his Joker Lap, right behind Ekström. Ekström had to retire on the very final lap, and therefore finished last. Timmy Hansen and Kevin Eriksson were the two other drivers to go through to the finale from Semi 1.
Petter Solberg got the best start in Semi final 2 ahead of Heikkinen and Loeb. Block and Scheider were quick to drive into the Joker Lap on lap one, but they were way off the three places for the final. Solberg and Heikkinen were the final drivers to take their mandatory Joker Laps, but still made it out in front of Loeb, who was the final guy to make it to the final.
The final was a superior display by the PSRX Team Volkswagen Sweden, with the two Volkswagen Polo GTI cars out in front – the two cars with a history in the World Rally Championship, has been adapted to fit better into the WorldRX with extra cooling and various other things. But the chassis’ are the World Championship cars from 2014. The two teammates drove side by side towards turn 1, and effectively blocked off all the other competitors.
Johan Kristoffersson won the final ahead of Petter Solberg, while Sebastien Loeb was the best non-VW while Kevin Eriksson in Ford Fiesta ST and Toomas Heikkinen was the final man who saw the chequered flag in his Audi S1. Timmy Hansen in Peugeot 208 didn’t make it to the finish due to a technical problem with his car.
The victory was the third in a row for Kristoffersson and his seventh podium finish on a row, making the season opening the only non-podium final for the Swede. He is comfortably leading the Championship standings ahead of teammate Solberg, trailing him by 36 points, while Ekström is 18 further points away. He is slowly getting caught by Loeb and Timmy Hansen, so the defending World Champion soon has to pick up his pace, if he wants to stay in a medal position for this year.
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden is leading the Teams Championship with more than 100 points ahead of Team Peugeot-Hansen, with EKS another 57 points behind. Hoonigan Racing Division is only 5 points Swedish works supported Audi team.
All the cars will be transported back to Europe now, for the Bretagne World RX of France which will be run on September 1st-3rd on the Loheac track.