Monday 27 May 2019

REPORT: Timmy Hansen takes championship lead with Silverstone win.

Team Hansen MJP's Timmy Hansen claimed victory at the World RX of Great Britain to become the first repeat winner of the 2019 season.

The Peugeot driver dominated the first day of qualifying, but on Sunday, Andreas Bakkerud turned things around and claimed wins in both qualifying heats. Locked on two qualifying wins apiece, Timmy and Bakkerud would claim victory in their respective semi-finals

Bakkerud would start the final with two new front tyres. The Norwegian got the better start in the final and held the advantage, but Hansen opted for an early joker lap which proved to be the deciding moment in the final.

Having taken the early joker, with clean air Hansen began to hunt down the Norwegian. The Swede set the fastest lap of the day - 38.503s. Bakkerud eventually took the joker lap and the pair would be meters away at the joker merge. Hansen and Bakkerud would be split by a car-length at the checkered flag.

“Today Andreas (Bakkerud) found some more pace and he was able to win both qualifying sessions,” Hansen said. “In the final, he had about a half a car better launch than me, it was tight going into the first corner. Coming out second I knew I had to stay super close. I was absolutely on his bumper just before my joker lap which was a perfect lap."

“I kept on pushing, he went into the joker a lap later, and when we merged I saw that I had a bit more speed and seeing him behind as we hit the finish line was a great feeling. I definitely had to work very hard today to get this result.”

Timmy Hansen claimed the championship lead from his younger brother Kevin who made contact with a tyre barrier on the last lap of his semi-final. He heads to Norway with a four-point lead in the championship standings.

From a family perspective, Timmy admitted he had mixed emotions after Kevin's exit in the semi-final. “The semi-final was good for me but going over the line in the semi I was checking for Kevin and I saw that he was gone and then I heard on the radio that he was stuck in the joker section," he said.

“So it was a shame for him as I had a perfect run in the semi and for him to miss out was tough. It was also difficult to keep my head down between the semi and the final because I had to keep focused on my own race while feeling for him.”

Bakkerud, who proved to be the class of the field on Sunday came up short in his quest to claim his first win of the season in Silverstone.

The Norweigan revealed that all was not well with the Audi S1. “We had some issues with the handbrake. Every time I pulled it the car stalled so I ended up driving without the handbrake in the semi and the final,” he said.

“Belgium was OK because I didn’t feel I had the speed to win but this weekend I definitely felt I could. I tried to use every trick I had in the book so the final result does not feel good."

Despite four podium finishes for the Monster Energy RX Cartel, the race win still illudes the Norweigan. “This is four podiums in a row for the RX Cartel, we had both cars in the final here but just didn’t get the job done. It hurts a bit to sip champagne and not be happy. I almost had it in my pocket today."

"All I can do is keep on pushing and hopefully, the win is nearby,” he adds.

Anton Marklund was another driver who opted for an early joker lap, and it proved to be vital in the final, as he was able to jump Timo Scheider and claim third place. 

“Since Abu Dhabi we have shown good pace and in Spa where we ran top three pace. It was nice to get the starts working in the semi-final and final today and to get some clear air,” he said. “I am very satisfied with a P3 and very happy for the team.”

Timo Scheider would finish in fourth place, just ahead of Krisztian Szabo and Liam Doran in sixth.

World RX of Great Britain - FINAL RESULTS
Briton Oliver Bennett made his first ever World RX semi-final, but after setting the pace, his Mini Cooper caught fire and his race ended prematurely. Silverstone’s jump was the culprit, the Mini bottoming out on the landing and a broken oil seal sparked the blaze.

The second semi-final was red flagged after Joni Wiman [stand in for recovering Gronholm] made contact with the tyre barrier after the jump and his i20 Supercar would roll on its side. As a result, the Finn would go no further due to suspension damage on the front right-hand corner.

“Front row for the semi-final was a satisfying result," said Wiman. "In the semi-final, it all got very messy, very fast. (Janis) Baumanis and (Liam) Doran were fighting hard for the position and after the big jump, I saw an opportunity and went for it. Unfortunately, I got squeezed on to the tyre barrier and rolled the car.”

Timur Timerzyanov went from the high of a maiden World RX win in Spa-Francorchamps to the low of missing the final at Silverstone. “I was concentrating on my own race, but this weekend my result was not entirely decided by me. Next-up is race in Hell, Norway, and that is one of my favourite tacks in the championship so we need to focus on that now,” he said.

Janis Baumanis was the only driver to have reached all three World RX finals prior to Silverstone. However, that sequence was broken when he finished fourth in semi-final two, after being caught up in the Wiman incident.

Mixed fortunes for the GCK teams, Guerlain Chicherit finished fourth in semi-final one while Cyril Raymond narrowly missed out – ending 13th overall despite a win in Q4.

Guillaume De Ridder's luckless streak continues, he was the victim of contact from Doran who got out of shape over the jump in Q3. The Briton collided with De Ridder on landing forcing him to retire with suspension damage.

The team worked speedily to get him out for Q4 but missed pre-grid by seconds, ending any hopes of advancing to the semi-finals. It was a bitter end after he had taken a race win in Q1 on Saturday.
World RX Drivers' Championship standings.

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