Rallycross in snow

It was a crazy weather, when the second round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship was run in Portugal on the Montalegre circuit.

It was actually snowing during the weekend, which was annoying for the drivers – but much colder for the Monster girls, who the main sponsor brought to Portugal.

The Saturday ran in sunny conditions, on bone dry track. Not all drivers liked that, so there was a bit of moaning in some of the teams tents.

But Sebastien Loeb was the fastest man on Saturday, with still two Qualifying heats to be run Sunday morning and midday.

It started out with a wet track, which dried up, but ended up wet again.

Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

Loeb was still leading after Q3 but Andreas Bakkerud and Timmy Hansen had shown plenty of speed ahead of Q4.

And Bakkerud managed to sneak past in Q4.

So Andreas Bakkerud, Mattias Ekström, Johan Kristoffersson, Kevin Hansen, Niclas Grönholm and Guerlain Chicherit were going into Semi 1, while Sebastien Loeb, Timmy Hansen, Petter Solberg, Kevin Eriksson, Janis Baumanis and Timur Timerzyanov would run in Semi final 2.

Bakkerud got the best start, but Johan Kristoffersson still made it out of Turn 1 in the lead. The two Team EKS cars with Bakkerud and Ekström were almost stumbling over each other, so the defending Champion took full use of that. Chicherit and Grönholm went straight for the Joker Lap, while Kevin Hansen unfortunately had to retire already on Lap 1.

Ekström chose to do the Joker Lap on the penultimate lap, and came out between Chicherit and Grönholm. Kristoffersson and Bakkerud managed to get out in front of the all the others, while Chicherit was the final driver in the finale. Well done by Chicherit in the brand new Renault Megane RS.

Timmy Hansen
Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

Solberg and Timerzyanov stalled at the start of Semi 2, but Sebastian Loeb took the start. Timmy Hansen, Baumanis, Eriksson and Timerzyanov all went for the Joker Lap on Lap 1. Eriksson and Baumanis crashed in Turn 1 on Lap 2 and came to a complete stop. In the middle of the Semi final, the rain started to fall, which quickly changed over to show, which made the conditions even harder for the drivers.

Loeb managed to exit the Joker Lap millimetres ahead of teammate Timmy Hansen, while Solberg had made it into P3. Timmy Hansen wanted the win, so he went past his teammate on the penultimate lap. And that was the result of Semi 2.

With Kristoffersson and Hansen on row 1, followed by Bakkerud and Loeb, there was a guarantee for action in the finale.

A huge snow storm started before the final, and the poor 2-WD Super 1600 cars had to fight their way around the track. There was actual snow building up in the run off areas!

Guerlain Chicherit
Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

But the World RX Supercars have four-wheels drive, so they wouldn’t have problems in the snow.

Bakkerud got the best start while Loeb , Solberg and Chicherit chose to go straight for the Joker Lap. Kristoffersson however managed to grab the lead in Turn 1 while Bakkerud fell all the way back to third, behind Timmy Hansen. Timmy Hansen spun at the start of the third lap, and dropped to last position.

Loeb was really flying and started catching Kristoffersson, while Kristoffersson was waiting for the very final lap of his Joker Lap. He had such a big gap that he exited the Joker lap with a two seconds lead.

Johan Kristoffersson
Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

So Johan Kristoffersson won the second round of the year as well, while Sebastien Loeb finished second, and Petter Solberg in third. Andreas Bakkerud managed a fourth place, while Guerlain Chicherit and Timmy Hansen finished fifth and sixth.

After the race today, Johan Kristoffersson is still in the lead, after two victories. Andreas Bakkerud is second while Petter Solberg is only one point behind his countryman. Sebastien Loeb is fourth ahead of Mattias Ekström and Timmy Hansen. There are just 17 points between the first 6 in the Championship, so absolutely nothing is decided yet.

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden leads the Teams Championship ahead of EKS Audi Sport and Team Peugeot Total.

Round three of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be run in 14 days in Belgium on the Mettet track named Circuit Jules Tacheny.

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