|PHOTO CREDIT: GRX Taneco|
Saturday started with wildcard entry, Toomas Heikkinen, setting the fastest time in the first Qualifying session. The Finn ended the opening day in P2 in the overnight standings, while Timerzyanov and Grönholm were aiming to improve their pace, to get higher up in the standings on Sunday.
Day two saw more close fights on track with Niclas Grönholm making it up to fourth place overall in the Intermediate standings before the Semi-final, while Toomas Heikkinen was involved in contact fights of Q4 and dropped to P5.
Timur Timerzyanov was also part of the door-to-door racing of Q4 and had a disastrous result due to the puncture and broken suspension, but still managed to secure the last spot of the Semi-final.
"Things just didn’t go our way in this race. We need to stay cool and focused and do our best again in Latvia and South Africa," said Jussi Pinomäki, GRX Taneco Team Manager, reflected on the race in France.
The GRX Taneco drivers were the benchmark all weekend with great starts, but they were unable to convert the starts to strong results. In the final, Niclas Grönholm had a superb start to inch half a car ahead of Andreas Bakkerud but a squabble for the lead at turn one led to both drivers running wide and rejoining at the tail end of the running order.
"I had great starts all weekend long, also in Semi-final, where I was first in the first corner and with six clean laps managed a front-row position for the Final. Unfortunately, there I had a contact with another competitor [Bakkerud] on the first corner, and finished at the end of the pack," said Grönholm.
"Overall I must say that performance-wise it was another good weekend, but it’s a bummer that we are not higher in the standings. Two more rounds to go, and I hope we can have a better result there."
Despite a strong start to Q1, Timur Timerzyanov ended the opening day in seventh overall, and on day two he just about scraped through to claim a semi-final spot by five intermediate points.
"It was a tough race, especially on Sunday, when I had to start from the outside line in the Qualification runs and try to fight through the field. In Semi-final I had a small chance to make it to the Final, but this time the fortune was not on my side," said Timerzyanov.
Toomas Heikkinen, showed an impressive turn of speed on his return to World RX in the third GRX Taneco Hyundai i20 Supercar. The Finn missed on out a place in the semi-final after finishing in fourth place in the second semi-final.
"I really enjoyed my return to the FIA World RX field," said Heikkinen. "The team gave me a great car and I managed to be up to the pace with the Top guys of the Championship."
"After the first day I was hoping to make my way all the way up to the Final, but contact with another racer left a little impact on car’s performance in the Semi-final and my race ended there."
TEXT - Junaid Samodien