Driver

RAYMOND COMPLETES CLEAN SWEEP ON OPENING DAY AT LYDDEN

Cyril Raymond picked up from where he had left off at Mettet on the opening day of action at Lydden Hill today (27 May), as the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires thrilled fans with a series of spectacular races at rallycross’ spiritual home.

On the 50th anniversary of the sport – and at the place where it all began – it was only fitting that the stars of tomorrow should produce some of the most exciting racing for the capacity crowd to lap up, and at the end of the day, it was Raymond who was continuing to show a clean pair of heels to his pursuers – with British hero Dan Rooke his closest challenger.

There were qualifying heat triumphs for Raymond, Guillaume De Ridder, William Nilsson, Glenn Haug, Tanner Whitten, Anders Michalak and Simon Olofsson. With one race left to run in the all-important fight to reach the semi-finals, Raymond leads the way from Rooke and Whitten [see full classification below].

Q1

R1: In a lively affair, Jessica Bäckman made the early running under attack from Sandra Hultgren, with Simon Syversen finding himself muscled aside by fellow early joker Guillaume De Ridder and Hultgren after her own joker lap. The flying De Ridder hit the front as Bäckman jokered and rejoined in second, with a late challenge from Hultgren backfiring and allowing Syversen to regain third.

R2: Simon Olofsson led from pole, but an early joker by William Nilsson proved to be the key to success as the younger Swede leapfrogged his countryman to win. Sondre Evjen was the master of late-braking at the hairpin to snare second ahead of Tanner Whitten, with a last lap error for Olofsson relegating the early leader to a fifth-place finish.

R3: Home hero Dan Rooke leveraged his pole position advantage to steal the initial march, but the reigning British Rallycross Champion ultimately had no answer to the prodigious pace displayed by defending title-holder and Mettet winner Cyril Raymond. Anders Michalak made the most of an early joker to vault Vasiliy Gryazin and Thomas Holmen into third.

Q2

R1: Glenn Haug led away from pole and had just enough pace to withstand a late-race attack from Olofsson to clinch the top spot, as Syversen prevailed in a three-way tussle with Andreas Bäckman and Hultgren for third.

R2: Whitten got the jump on pole-sitter Evjen at the green light to sweep around the outside into the lead, with the pair thereafter holding station all the way to the chequered flag. Holmen got the better of Vasiliy Gryazin in a duel of the early jokers for third.

R3: Rooke pulled an almost identical move to Whitten to snatch the initiative away from Raymond at the start, although the Frenchman immediately fought back and once his British rival jokered, the Frenchman made the difference to rejoin ahead. De Ridder came on increasingly strong as the race progressed to take the chequered flag a close third.

Q3

R1: As Gryazin converted pole into the lead, Hultgren overhauled Andreas Bäckman for second into turn one but it was the early joker played by Michalak that truly paid dividends, with the Swede gaining the undercut on all of his rivals to prevail. Jessica Bäckman pipped the fading Gryazin to a well-deserved second place.

R2: Olofsson made it to the first corner before pole-sitter Evjen, while there was drama for Holmen, who took to the grass during the joker lap. As Olofsson sped to an untroubled win, Evjen did his best to keep the leader honest before indulging in an entertaining wheel-to-wheel scrap with Syversen – a duel that was ultimately resolved in favour of the latter.

R3: Raymond led Rooke and Whitten away from the lights, as Haug jumped De Ridder in the joker lap only for the Belgian to repay the favour with a late-braking move at the hairpin at the end of the opening tour. Rooke and Whitten proceeded to push Raymond, but neither was able to make any discernible impression as the defending champion held on to make it a clean sweep for the day at the end of a tremendously fast-paced affair.

Intermediate Classification:

1. Cyril Raymond 150 points
2. Dan Rooke 135 points
3. Tanner Whitten 121 points
4. Guillaume De Ridder 119 points
5. Sondre Evjen 112 points
6. Glenn Haug 107 points
7. William Nilsson 107 points
8. Simon Olofsson 106 points
9. Anders Michalak 105 points
10. Simon Syversen 104 points
11. Thomas Holmen 101 points
12. Vasiliy Gryazin 101 points
13. Jessica Bäckman 99 points
14. Sandra Hultgren 93 points
15. Andreas Bäckman 92 points

 

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