World RX: Solberg and Kristoffersson in overnight lead at Franciacorta
Johan Kristofferson and Petter Solberg shared the victories today in two qualifying Heats of 12th round of World Rallycross Championship at Circuit Franciacorta. Kristoffersson’s Volkswegen Polo was fastest in Heat 1 ahead Solberg and Timur Timerzyanov in Ford Fiesta, while Solberg’s Citroen DS3 made the fastest four laps in Heat 2, ahead Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen in Peugeot 208 WRX.
Total of 41 drivers competed in first day of Italian round, 22 of them for World RX points and rest of them for Euro RX points. 12 drivers in both categories will qualify to Semi final after two more Heats tomorrow. In World RX classification after first day in Top 12 are Kristofersson, Petter Solberg, Timerzyanov, Hansen, Toomas Haikkinen, Anton Marklund, Andreas Bakkerud, Robin Larsson, Tord Linnerud, Davy Jeanney, Reinis Nitiss and Liam Doran, but Gurlain Chicherit, Manfred Stohl and Henning Solberg are very close and we can expect interesting battles tomorrow.
It was a disappointing day for Italy’s Gigi Galli who piloted the brand new Kia Rio Supercar on home soil. Galli – who is planning a full World Championship campaign in the Kia Rio for 2016 – showed good pace in free practice but retired from today’s heats due to an engine leak and low oil pressure.
The former WRC driver explained: “Of course I’m disappointed but our main aim this weekend was to get the car finished in time and to get some time out on the track. We only have one engine at the moment and I didn’t want to risk coming back out with the car tomorrow and doing any more damage. I feel most sorry for my team, they have worked so hard over the last few weeks and always with a smile on their faces. I will come back stronger next time.”
In Euro RX Supercars standings Alexander Hvaal in Citroen DS3 are leading the pack, with championship contenders Jerome Grosset-Janin and Tommy Rustad on 2nd and 5th place respectively. Only six points separate Rustad and Grosset-Janin in Euro RX, with the European Champion to be declared tomorrow.
In Super 1600 class debutant Dmitrii Bragin won one of three qualifying heats and collected the biggest amount of points. Championship leader Janis Baumanis – who needs just four points to secure the title this weekend – is second.
In RX Lites category overnight leader is Simon Oloffson, ahead of championship challenger Thomas Bryntesson. Championship leader Kevin Hansen is third overall ahead of 2014 champion Kevin Eriksson and Austin Cindric, the American making his first start in the RX Lites Cup.