13 May 2019
Timur Timerzyanov took a popular and long-awaited maiden World Rallycross victory at Spa-Francorchamps to make it three different winners from three rounds this season.
The Russian is a two-time European rallycross champion and seven-time event winner in that series, but his best final result in the world championship prior to last weekend was a brace of third-place finishes in 2014 and ’16.
He finished second to top qualifier Andreas Bakkerud in first semi-final ahead, with Liam Doran taking the final transfer spot, eliminating championship leader Kevin Hansen before final for the first time this year. Wildcard entry Joni Wiman won the second semi-final ahead of Janis Baumanis and Timmy Hansen, in a race that also eliminated 2016 world champion Mattias Ekstrom, who was making a one-off return.
In the final, Timerzyanov started on the second row of the grid behind Bakkerud and Wiman but made a good start to lead out of the first corner. He headed Bakkerud as Wiman attempted to clear both with a move round the outside which didn’t pay off.
Behind them Baumanis made contact with Doran, taking the Brit out of contention, while Barcelona winner Timmy Hansen avoided the first lap carnage and took an early joker to find some clear air.
Timerzyanov and Bakkerud began to gap the field after the first lap, with the Hyundai driver slowly pulling further away from Bakkerud. By the fourth lap Timerzyanov’s lead was up to 1.2 seconds. Wiman meanwhile had recovered from his failed move on the opening lap and was sitting in third.
With only two laps remaining, Bakkerud jokered in the hope that the clear air would allow him to close the gap to Timerzyanov up front. However, the strategy didn’t pay off, and although Timerzanov briefly lost momentum when he took the slower route on the final lap, he was able to hold onto the lead. Bakkerud did hold onto second, beating Wiman who employed a similar strategy, jokering a lap before Bakkerud, albeit to no avail.
Hansen finished fourth, despite making contact with fifth place finisher Baumanis on the third lap. Doran was also able to finish the race, despite the opening lap incident, and finished sixth and last, more than 16 seconds off the pace.
Despite missing out on the final, Kevin Hansen continues the lead the championship, ahead of brother Timmy Hansen. Timerzyanov’s win – which was also the first for Hyundai in the series – moves him up to third, ahead of Baumanis and Bakkerud.
Niclas Gronholm missed the entire Spa round due to appendicitis, and as a result slipped out of the top three to sixth. However, he remains ahead of final qualifier Doran, Timo Scheider, Kirsztian Szabo, and Anton Marklund.
|Guillaume De Ridder||10|