GRONHOLM TAKES ROUND 5 TQ IN RIGA
Saturday 19th of September 2020
Finland’s Niclas Gronholm – the round four winner of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Finland – continued his form by taking the TQ (top qualifier) position in round five at the NESTE World RX of Riga-Latvia and will start on pole position in semi-final 1 this afternoon.
Three different drivers were quickest in qualifying. Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson was P1 in Q1, Gronholm P1 in Q2 then on new tyres Sweden’s Mattias Ekstrom took P1 in Q3. Third in the final qualifying race of the day was enough for Gronholm to take the TQ in front of Kristoffersson.
Ekstrom will join Gronholm on the front row of the grid for semi-final 1 at the Riga RX round. Kristoffersson will start on pole position in semi-final 2 and will be joined by Ekstrom’s KYB Team JC team mate, Sweden’s Robin Larsson, who won his races in Q3 and Q4 in the Audi S1. 2019 World RX Drivers’ Champion Timmy Hansen, from Sweden, was P2 to Kristoffersson in Q1 and ended up P5 in the Intermediate Classification. The Team Hansen driver will start on the inside of row 2 in semi-final 1, next to GRX SET’s Krisztian Szabo, from Hungary. In his second weekend with the GRX team’s Hyundai i20, Szabo was P2 in Q2, behind team mate Gronholm.
Sweden’s Kevin Hansen and Great Britain’s Liam Doran will share row two of semi-final 2. Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel’s Doran was slowed by problems in Q2 but beat team mate Andreas Bakkerud, from Norway in Q3 and was P5 overall in the Renault Megane to climb up the standings. Bakkerud was P9 in the Intermediate Classification and will start on row three of semi-final 2, together with home hero Reinis Nitiss, who has also qualified for the semi-finals on his debut in the ES Motorsport Skoda Fabia and will join Bakkerud on the start line.
The third row of semi-final 2 will be occupied by GRX Taneco’s Timur Timerzyaznov, even though the Russian had broken suspension on his Hyundai i20 in Q3, and All-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Rene Muennich. The first reserve for the semi-finals, if any of the top 12 drivers fail to make it to the pre-grid, will be Germany’s Timo Scheider. The All-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport driver had electric problems with his Seat Ibiza during qualifying.
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