MID-SEASON REPORT: TOP MOMENTS OF 2018 SO FAR
We've reached the mid-point of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship and it's nearly time for Canada, so let's take a look back at the key moments so far!
Catalunya-Barcelona’s first corner
After battling until the very final race of 2017 at Cape Town in South Africa for second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship, EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Petter Solberg picked up where they left off in the very first race of 2018. The former World RX Champions clashed at the first corner of the final at Catalunya-Barcelona, Solberg’s victory hopes ending in the wall on the inside. Ekstrom was disqualified from the final for the incident and Solberg’s PSRX team mate Johan Kristoffersson claimed the win. Andreas Bakkerud finished on the podium in his debut for EKS Audi Sport.
GRX’s Hyundai debut
Marcus Gronholm’s GRX Taneco Team doubled its efforts for World RX 2018 with a pair of Hyundai i20 Supercars for Finland’s Niclas Gronholm and Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov. In the car’s very first World RX round, Gronholm qualified for the final and finished as top of the drivers not supported by a manufacturer in fourth.
Portugal’s Montalegre circuit in Portugal has experienced all kinds of weather since World RX began in 2014. Snow was forecast in the lead up to round two of the 2018 season, but the winter weather held off until Sunday afternoon, when the semi-finals and final were almost a complete white-over.
Loeb’s second World RX win
Although France’s Sebastien Loeb is the most successful rally driver of all time, until round three at Mettet, he had only won one World RX event. That changed in Team Peugeot Total’s 2018 specification 208 WRX in a double podium for the French team, with Sweden’s Timmy Hansen third.
Dizzee at Speedmachine
Silverstone in the UK hosted the British round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the first time in May as part of the Speedmachine Festival, where as well as World RX, the RX2 International Series and Americas Rallycross drivers provided incredible action on track. Fans were also treated to Group B car displays, street food and live music, including a lively set by Dizzee Rascal on Saturday evening.
Volkswagen clash in Silverstone semi-finals
In the semi-finals at Silverstone, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson made contact at the first corner, Kristoffersson’s Volkswagen Polo R Supercar hitting the tyre wall and causing a red flag with the circuit blocked by track furniture. Solberg retired from the re-started as a result of the contact, but Kristoffersson went on to score his third win of 2018.
Kristoffersson’s clean sweep
Only once in World RX history had a driver achieved a ‘clean sweep’ (winning every qualifier, the semi-final and final) before 2018. The first ‘clean sweep’, for which he was awarded a golden broom at the end of season awards in Argentina, was set by Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud in 2016 driving a Ford Focus RS RX. He did so at the Hell circuit in Norway, the same track where reigning champion Kristoffersson repeated the success this season.
Hansen vs Ekstrom in Sweden final, GCK’s first podium
The most famous World RX final corner in history was when Sweden’s Timmy Hansen passed Mattias Ekstrom in the last corner at Holjes in 2015. This year, the pair came together again in the last corners of the final at Holjes, but this time Hansen was put off the track. Ekstrom finished third but was dropped to sixth with a penalty, and Hansen was given a reprimand for confronting Ekstrom about the move after the race. Ekstrom’s demotion meant Jerome Grosset-Janin scored a first podium for Guerlain Chicherit’s GC Kompetition team with its Renault Megane RS.Share this story on facebook Share this story on Twitter