WHEN IT RAINS IN HELL
Thursday 11th of June 2020
Rallycross is a sport proud of being able to operate in all weather conditions; the heat of Cape Town; snow in Montalegre; under lights at Yas Marina – rallycross can do that.
There have been many wet events in the history of the FIA World Rallycross Championship too, some both wet and dry in the same weekend. But not many have been as extreme as the World RX of Norway at Hell 12 months ago this weekend.
A hot weekend near Trondheim ended moments before the start of the semi-finals at Hell RX 2019, when a torrential swept across the circuit, changing conditions in minutes. The World RX Supercars, which were already lining up in pre-grid, were changed to wet tyres, but nothing could prepare the drivers for how wet and slippery the circuit would be.
The front row of the grid was well rubbered-in by that stage of the weekend, so it was GC Kompetition’s Guerlain Chicherit who got the launch just right from P6 on the grid (rain on the rubber on the front row meant that rows two and three had more grip) in semi-final one to take the holeshot, but as the cars slipped into the braking area, his Renault Megane RS RX was hit by Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov and sent into a spin. GRX Taneco’s Timerzyanov took the joker, as his teammate, Finland’s Niclas Gronholm took the lead and went on to win. ESmotorsport’s Kevin Abbring was P2 and Team STARD’s Janis Buamanis was third as Timerzyanov dropped back.
P6 starter in semi-final two, Great Britain’s Liam Doran, also made the best start in the conditions and took the first turn joker. Team Hansen’s Kevin Hansen led the race from Doran’s Monster Energy RX Cartel teammate Andreas Bakkerud, from Norway, on the standard lap, but at the end of the race it was Doran who took the win to ensure a front row start for the final. GCK’s Anton Marklund took P2 and Kevin Hansen was P3.
In the final, pole starter Gronholm led for the first turn, but then Abbring took the lead and Gronholm dropped to P3. Doran led the pack of drivers to take the joker, and the British Bomb looked set to fight for the win until a technical problem for the Audi S1. Marklund was the driver to cross the line first and take victory, but he was later excluded for a technical infringement. Kevin Hansen finished P2 in the race but was given a time penalty for contact, so it was Gronholm who scored his first FIA World Rallycross Championship win in the crazy weather conditions.
Watch the race again here.
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