Friday 5th of June 2020

New Zealand’s Shane van Gisbergen came oh-so-close to claiming the rallycross holy grail of an event clean sweep, in the first of a new series of virtual FIA World Rallycross Championship events at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi last weekend. Only a P2 in semi-final 1 denied the rallycross newcomer a perfect event. 

What is a clean sweep?

A clean sweep means setting the quickest time and taking victory in every session on track that counts towards the end result. That’s all four qualifiers, the semi-final and the final. Although the practice sessions and warm-up in a World RX event are also official track time, the times from those do not count towards the event results.

The FIA World Rallycross Championship was two-and-a-half-years-old when the first ever clean sweep was achieved by Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud in his home round at Hell, in 2016. Driving a Ford Focus RS RX as team mate to Ken Block for Hoonigan Racing Division, Bakkerud was P2 in free practice to Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov and started second in Q1 Race 4 with Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson on pole position. But, Bakkerud was able to jump ahead of Kristoffersson and even after the joker laps remained in the lead to win the race and set the quickest time. After that, he started on pole position in the last race for the following three qualifiers, semi-final 1 and the final.

Timerzyanov was quickest again in the Sunday morning warm-up and was P2 in the Intermediate Classification. He won semi-final 2 in front of Norway’s Petter Solberg and Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom, and mounted a challenge to Bakkerud in the final but finished P6 when his hopes were ended by a puncture. Watch the event again here.

It was another two years before anyone equalled Bakkerud's feat, Kristoffersson achieving the same level of domination, again in Norway, for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team.


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