|PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
The short, narrow Circuit of the Americas World RX circuit proved difficult to master, even for the leaders.
Day one got off off to a slow start with the GRX Taneco drivers only clocking the ninth and tenth-best times.
On Day two conditions were abit tricky due to overnight right. Niclas Grönholm clocked the second-best time in the warm-up and took eighth place with some superb driving in Q3. Seventh overall, he just needed to play safe in the last qualifying session. He took tenth place, enough to secure a slot for the semi-final.
Timur Timerzyanov met his match on the initially slippery track, which dried quickly. Caught out by the change in grip, he finished 13th in both qualifiers and fell short of the semis.
"It was really difficult today.We were eleventh after Q2 and we lost a lot of ground on the Sunday. We played the wrong tactics in Q3 and were unlucky in Q4," said Timerzyanov. "Together, that cost us our ticket to the semi-finals. But, looking on the bright side, it was our first time on the circuit, which proved a tricky one, so we learned a lot.”
Having made a promising start from the second row in the second semi-final, Grönholm wound his way through the pack to third place. Challenged by Andreas Bakkerud, he conceded defeat and fell to fourth in the final laps. Despite losing his place in the final, he came away from the first World RX of USA feeling upbeat.
“It was a satisfactory weekend.Obviously, there were ups and downs, so we weren’t ideally placed in the semis. All the same, we pulled off a good start and were in a position to challenge. It just wasn’t to be this time,” said Grönholm. “It was a tough round, very close, but it was practically impossible to overtake so I didn’t get the chance to get past again."
The Finn is looking forward to the penultimate round of the World RX championship, and targets a good result in Germany. "The car is perfect for the circuit and having banked two good results, I hope we can make it to the podium this time."