KRISTOFFERSSON, HANSEN WIN SEMI-FINALS AS WEATHER TURNS
Johan Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen will start on the front row for the World RX of Portugal final after winning their respective semi-finals in changeable weather conditions at Montalegre.
A thrilling semi-final one would see Kristoffersson snatch the lead on the exit of the first turn before reeling off a series of rapid laps to ensure he'd come out of his joker lap comfortably ahead en route to the win and a front row in the final. Indeed, the Swede was able to take full advantage of contact for his rivals through the opening bend after Kevin Hansen impacted the rear of Mattias Ekstrom, who in turn pushed team-mate Andreas Bakkerud, sending the EKS Audi Sport drivers wide.
Significantly, their delay would play Guerlain Chicherit - who dived for the joker on lap one - back into contention, the GC Kompetition driver doing enough to ensure he'd slot between Bakkerud and Ekstrom once they had taken their joker laps to secure his first ever World RX final start. It means last year's World RX of Portugal winner Ekstrom, Marcus Gronholm and Hansen - who failed to finish - progress no further.
With the heavens opening with sleet and snow for semi-final two, the racing would prove similarly dramatic as Petter Solberg got away slowly only for the Norwegian to claw back ground and benefit from contact betweenJanis Baumanis and Kevin Eriksson ahead on lap two to finish in third place. Ahead of him, Team Peugeot Total's Sebastien Loeb led initially, but with conditions worsening Hansen would slip up the inside of turn one on lap five to take the win and the front row for the final.
World RX of Portugal Results here HERE
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