CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS: LATVIA FORM GUIDE
Friday 13th of September 2019
The battle to become the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Drivers’ Champion is set to hit fever pitch in the ninth and penultimate round of the Championship this weekend at the Neste World RX of Latvia.
But, out of the three drivers at the front of the fight for the title, only one has ever finished on the World RX podium in Riga, three years ago, when Latvia RX joined the World RX schedule in 2016.
A wide range of drivers from a number of different teams in the competitive World RX field this season could claim victory this weekend, but all three of the Championship protagonists will hope to improve on their previous results at Latvia RX…
Driving a Ford Focus RS RX for the Hoonigan Racing Division, Bakkerud qualified second in the Intermediate Classification, but third in semi-final two meant a row three start in the final and he finished the final in P4, one place behind Team Peugeot Hansen’s Timmy Hansen, who joined France’s Sebastien Loeb on the podium.
In the rain-hit event, Kevin Hansen, who had already won the European Championship title a round earlier, took the Euro RX TQ (top qualifier) in Riga, but was beaten to victory in semi-final one, then had a spin at the start of the final. He produced a fight-back drive to finish second to Norway’s Tommy Rustad.
Remaining with the Hoonigan team, Bakkerud was the only one of the three 2019 title challengers to make the final at Riga RX in 2017. He finished fourth, one place in front of local hero Janis Baumanis. Kevin Hansen just missed the final with fourth in semi-final two, but Timmy Hansen was fifth in semi-final one.
Timmy Hansen qualified P4 for the Latvian round of World RX in 2018, with a quickest time in Q3. Bakkerud qualified P6 and Kevin Hansen was P10, putting all three into semi-final two. It was the Hansen brothers who made it a 1-2-3 behind Sebastien Loeb in the semi, Bakkerud missing out on the final after he made a good start away from the line in the semi but got squeezed between the Peugeot 208s of Hansen and Loeb and lost time.
But, in the final, Timmy and Kevin would only be P5 and P6.
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