Thursday, 13 August 2020

Could GRX Taneco be 2020's dark horse?

PHOTO CREDIT: GRX Taneco.
Seen by many as not only the strongest team in 2019, but also the potential 2019 World Rallycross Champions, the GRX Taneco took the paddock by storm as they took 3 of the 10 victories throughout the season. The team also fought hard with Team Hansen RX, only to finish second in team standings after the World RX of South Africa. 

This year, however, GRX Taneco will again compete with its two-star drivers, namely Niclas Grönholm and Timur Timerzyanov, with an added third car entered for selected rounds. These will include Krisztián Szabó and Juha Rytkönen. 

Earmarked by many as the driver, who should have taken the 2019 title, Niclas took two victories in Norway (a career first) as well as South Africa. The Finn crossed the line first in Abu Dhabi, only to be stripped from the victory after he made a pass on Kevin Hansen. 

The Finn did well to keep his tabs on the championship, only to lose out to Kevin Hansen, Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud when he sat out of the Belgian and United Kingdom rounds due to an appendix operation. 

Niclas Grönholm and Timur Timerzyanov celebrating at 2019 Cape Town season finale.
PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media.
Teammate, Timur Timerzyanov broke his 6-year streak of bad luck to claim his first-ever World RX event win at Spa-Francorchamps. 

Grönholm jumped back onto the scene in Hell (Norway), with a win after Anton Marklund was disqualified for a technical infringement. 

As the season progressed, the fight between Timmy Hansen and Bakkerud grew more fierce, while Grönholm still managed to set up a consistent points haul. 

Heading for the last round in South Africa, Grönholm still had a mathematical chance of taking the title, yet would have needed to win all his heats and finals, with his three competitors not taking a single point from the weekend. 

From the start, this was a difficult task and although Grönholm evidently knew that this was not possible, he still raced for the win. The Finn raced extremely hard, while Timerzyanov helped the team to a double podium in the end. 

Unfortunately, the Hansen brothers also raced extremely hard, with both brothers also seen in the final. This meant that Team Hansen RX took the teams-championship by a slender 43 points. Grönholm in turn won the event, but his victory was strongly overshadowed as Timmy Hansen and Bakkerud ended the season equal on points and had to debate the end-result in the stewards' room, post-race. 

Although Timerzyanov is yet to be seen in his race car this year, Grönholm already showcased a strong form at Hell during the RallyX Nordic "All-Star Magic Weekend" event. 

A new season will see more progress, but also more competition as Bakkerud will join a very strong GCK team, the Hansen brothers are promised to be more competitive, and Johan Kristoffersson rejoins the grid after a one-year hiatus. 

2020 will certainly be one of the most anticipated seasons in FIA World Rallycross history and the GRX Taneco team promises to be at the head of the field. 

2020 GRX Taneco pre-season testing. 
VIDEO CREDIT: GRX Taneco

Written By: Franco Theron

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