World RX at Hell: Drama at the track, drama out of the track
Niclas Gronholm (GRX Taneco Team Hyundai) claimed his maiden FIA World Rallycross Championship victory at Lankebanen in Hell, Norway, as a result of the post-race investigation and disqualification of the provisional winner Anton Marklund (GC Kompetition Megane).
In a dramatic Final race of the fifth championship round, Marklund crossed the finish line ahead of Kevin Hansen (Team Hansen MJP, Peugeot) and Niclas Gronholm. Then, the trio participated in the podium celebration and sprayed champagne but, it turned to be a premature celebration because two post-race penalties completely changed the results.
First, Kevin Hansen received a one-second penalty for unsportsmanlike behaviour, dropping behind Gronholm in the final classification. Then, the shocking disqualification of Anton Marklund followed because his Megane RS RX was not in compliance with the technical regulations. The front bumper was found not to be correct because the mounting was changed and the thickness of the material was 1.96mm instead of maximum 1.5mm! So, the wrong bumper took the maiden win from Marklund and gave it to Gronholm.
Seventeen Supercar drivers participated in the Norwegian World RX round. Following all penalties, Janis Baumanis (Team STARD Ford) was promoted to the third place in the final classification, what’s his maiden World RX podium. The other two finalists at Lankebanen were Kevin Abbring as a guest driver in ESmotorsport-Labas GAS Škoda Fabia, and Liam Doran in Monster Energy RX Cartel’s Audi S1.
The championship leader after five rounds is Timmy Hansen (Team Hansen MJP), who finished sixth in Norway after he didn’t manage to enter Finals. After being the second best qualifier after four qualifying heats, Timmy Hansen was fourth in his semi-final race, not proceeding to Finals.
Timmy Hansen has 107 points, just one more than his brother Kevin. Andreas Bakkerud is third with 92 points on his account.
The sixth round of the championship, the Swecon World RX of Sweden, takes place on July 6-7 at Höljesbanan in Höljes.