Niclas Grönholm withstood immense pressure from Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström to take his first win of the season on World RX’s return to Finland.
|PHOTO CREDIT: GRX Taneco.|
Grönholm produced his best qualifying performance of the season in the Intermediate Classification to end up second and take 15 championship points at the Kouvola track. He then won semi-final two in treacherous conditions to earn a front-row start for the final.
Kristoffersson had a clean start in the final with Niclas right behind, and as Johan ran slightly wide into turn one. Grönholm swept around the inside to take the lead. From there on, he held the lead in difficult wet and slippery conditions fending off a quicker Kristoffersson, and then Mattias Ekström, when Johan took his joker (lap) on lap three.
The GRX Taneco driver was able to withstand the pressure from Ekström and Kristoffersson to cross the line first and win at his home round of the championship.
"We found a bit more speed [on Sunday]. Maybe a little in the car, but mainly in myself – I kept calm the whole day, and that was crucial for winning this event," Grönholm said.
"The final was a bit stressful because Ekström and Kristoffersson were on my tail, but I kept my racing line as knew that they won’t overtake me on the outside because it was so slippery there."
The 24-year-old Finns win in Kouvola (third win in his career) is an important result for the team, as they expected a stronger performance at the Höljes doubleheader, but within the short gap between the events. The GRX Taneco squad worked on their Hyundai i20 Supercars to find some improvements, which paid-off in Kouvola.
"This is a very important result for our team. Everyone has been working flat-out for the past week and this win means a lot for the whole team," Niclas said.
Written By - Junaid Samodien
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