EKSTROM TOPS Q4 TO SECURE TOP QUALIFIER HONOURS
In wetter conditions than Q3, EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom dominated Q4 race two to set the quickest time and be TQ (top qualifier) in the Intermediate Classification ahead of the semi-finals and final this afternoon.
Ekstrom beat Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb in a race that had to be restarted after GC Kompetition’s Jerome Grosset-Janin rolled his Megane RS when squeezed into the wall on the inside of the first corner.
Ekstrom’s second quickest time of the weekend lifted him above Timmy Hansen in the Intermediate Classification, Hansen using dry tyres in Q3 race three when the rest of the drivers had taken wets and was only seventh quickest.
That final race was won by PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson, the reigning World RX Drivers’ Champion battling back from first corner contact with GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm, sending the Finn into a turn one spin. Kristoffersson was third quickest to move to third in the Intermediate Classification and make it a Swedish top three.
Kristoffersson’s team mate Petter Solberg switched to dry tyres before Q3 race one and even though he won the race was eighth fastest and dropped to fifth in the Intermediate Classification.
Solberg will start semi-final one on the second row of the grid, behind Ekstrom and Kristoffersson, with Olsbergs MSE’s Robin Larsson also on row two. Team Peugeot Total’s Kevin Hansen and GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm will line up on row three.
Timmy Hansen will start on pole position for semi-final two with team mate Sebastien Loeb alongside, ahead of EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud, who lost time behind Hansen on the first lap of Q3 rac three and was fourth quickest. GRX’s Timur Timerzyanov, Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis and GCK’s Guerlain Chicherit will complete the semi-final two grid.
Belgian hero Francois Duval beat Chichert in Q4 and was 11th quickest but just missed the semi-finals in 13th.
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