Monday 26 October 2020

The World RX of Benelux to be held behind closed doors.

The World RX of Benelux set to be held at Spa-Francorchamps will be held behind closed doors, the event organizers have announced.  

World RX first visited Spa-Francorchamps in 2019 and quickly became a fan favorite with its wide banked dirt corner and Eau Rouge hairpin. 

The circuit was originally set to host the third round of the 2020 calendar, but the date was later moved to October due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

In September, the event organizers and IMG announced that the Belgian round would be moved in hopes that delaying the round until November would allow more spectators to attend the event. 

Organizers say that following decisions made by Belgian Authorities, the event will be held behind closed doors due to current circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, despite hopes of welcoming the largest possible audience to the event next month. 

"Following the decisions of the Belgian Authorities, we will unfortunately not be able to welcome you during the 2020 edition of the Spa World Rallycross of Benelux which will be held behind closed doors," the event organizers statement said.

"This is a huge disappointment for the Spa World Rallycross of Benelux team, whose primary motivation has always been to welcome the largest possible audience and to offer them the best possible experience."

"Our number one priority remains everyone’s health! But given the current circumstances, the organisation of this event under regular conditions is impossible."

"Holding the race behind closed doors was therefore the only solution authorized by the Belgian authorities to preserve the sporting aspect of our event."

Spa-Francorchamps will now host the penultimate round of the 2020 World Rallycross Championship season, with the Nürburgring hosting the finale in December.

For more information on ticket refunds, etc. CLICK HERE

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Team Hansen hails 'big step' after win and double podium in Catalunya.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull/Hansen Motorsport
Reigning team champions Team Hansen has taken a big step in Barcelona having claimed their first win and first double podium of the season. 

The 2020 season has ebbed and flowed for the Swedish team, and in the early stages of the season they struggled to find traction on low grip circuits, but despite that their drivers claimed three podium finishes before heading to the World RX of Barcelona (double-header). 

With no wins to there record after a strong championship winning 2019 season, returning to winning ways was there ultimate objective, and following extensive testing prior to the final double-header of the season. The Team Hansen brought some valuable knowledge and updates with them, which provided to work on the 1.133 km track

The Hansen brothers were in the mix all weekend, and on Saturday afternoon reigning champion Timmy Hansen "beat the unbeatable" to register his first win of the season ahead of Johan Kristoffersson and Kevin Hansen. The 'brodium' was on!

Whilst some cynics might have thought it would be a one-off for the Hansen's on Saturday. They were wrong, the Hansen's were back and just as strong on Sunday for round 8 of the World RX championship, but this time with Kevin Hansen ahead of Timmy in the intermediate rankings in third and fourth respectively. 

Sunday saw Timmy claim his second piece of silverware, having finished second in round eight of the World RX season finishing behind Johan Kristoffersson this time around after beating him a day before. 

"It's been a fantastic weekend with a massive step-up in performance for both me and Kevin. We are fighting for wins now which feels great. Yesterday [Saturday] we got it, today [Sunday] not quite, but it's still been a great weekend and I'm happy that the work that we've done in the lead-up to this weekend has paid off," Timmy Hansen said.

"We had great pace today but the race didn't quite go in our favour. I wasn't lucky enough to have any pole position starts today which wasn't ideal so qualified fourth, though I was hoping to beat Bakkerud in the semi-final, even with older tyres, to get myself that all-important front row grid slot."

"The final was carnage. I came up behind Johan and it was the same battle again from Saturday but this time around I couldn't quite manage it," he adds. "The only way to win was to put in a perfect run and I didn't quite put together a string of perfect laps in the final; I wasn't quite able to find that perfect rhythm from the day before."

After a third-place finish a day before, Kevin continued his strong form edging older brother in the intermediate rankings having claimed two second-place finish in Q2 and 3. Whilst his pace was quite promising all weekend, his day would end in the semi-finals. 

The semi-finals saw a very crowded first corner which meant Kevin was shuffled back to fifth place at the start, though he quickly recovered to fourth at turn three, sneaking past Timo Scheider on the inside of the long right-hander.

An early joker to find clear air didn't quite pan out as he caught Tamás Kárai a lap later and, while a brilliant overtake exiting turn six put him into fourth place, too much time was lost to Robin Larsson who held the last spot for the final.

"Today was a very promising day. The car performance was amazing in all three qualifying sessions and I was feeling really comfortable with the adjustments the team had made overnight. My speed was much better today so I was very happy with everything in that respect," Kevin Hansen said.

"We had a bit of a bad start in the semi-final but I felt we were in a good position by jokering first. That's a good place to be, first into the joker, so it was looking promising. Unfortunately, Karai had gone for the complete opposite strategy to us so getting past him lost us the time we needed to make the final."

"Overall this was a very strong weekend, a great return to form, and I feel like I'm getting better every weekend," he adds. "For the first time this year, I was within sight of a victory, and I don't plan to let it out of my sight again for the rest of the year. I'm even more excited to be heading to Spa now with the momentum we've built here, with the team back to winning ways."

With a win and two podium finishes in two days, Team Hansen's quest to retain the teams' championship is back on track. Heading to Barcelona with a 43-point deficit to KYB Team JC, Timmy and Kevin's efforts has narrowed that gap to only 16 points, with two rounds in Belgium and Germany still to go.

Timmy has also leap-frogged Niclas Grönholm to third in the drivers' championship having been six points behind heading into Barcelona. The Swede now has a 16 point advantage over Niclas with two rounds to go, meanwhile Kevin has inched closer to Grönholm and is just 12 points behind sitting fifth in the championship standings. 

"What was most impressive on Sunday was Kevin's level of performance increasing further," Kenneth Hansen, team boss said. "In past years he was slightly behind Timmy's pace but now he's at exactly the same level; sometimes even quicker. So we have two really quick drivers and cars. Today he found the level he's normally capable of delivering."

"Our win yesterday seems to have made Johan even hungrier to make sure he didn't get beaten to victory! He was clearly very determined to make sure Timmy didn't win in the final again today. But having one race like yesterday's final, where Timmy put in an absolutely perfect drive, is still a fantastic performance. My voice is almost gone from pushing Timmy so much on the radio!"

After a challenging start to the season, Kenneth Hansen says his team is back in the game to defend their teams' title, and they will continue to push with an aim to leap-frog KYB Team JC in the standings.

"We're back in the game for the teams' world championship now and we'll be doing everything we can to catch the Audis in the title race," Kenneth warns. "I believe with the direction we're going in and what we've learned this weekend will also help us in Spa. Now we've made a big step for this weekend, finding the next bit of pace will be even harder, as the rate of return on testing gets smaller and we're also quite late into the season now. Plus we need good weather! But we'll do some more testing and see what we find. We never stop pushing!"

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Clutch issues hampers KYB Team JC's push for strong results in Barcelona.

PHOTO CREDIT: JC Raceteknik.
Mattias Ekström's hopes of clinching a second World Rallycross Championship stalled after a challenging weekend at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona plagued with clutch issues, whilst teammate Robin Larsson had a troublesome weekend, as he was involved in a number of on track incidents.

Having taken two wins in 2020, at Holjes and Riga, and finishing P2 three times. The 2016 champion had high hopes for the fourth and final double-header at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona having won in 2016 and 2017 and crossed the finish line first in 2018 until he was handed a penalty for contact with Petter Solberg at the first corner. 

Heading into the weekend Ekström had a clear plan, and that was to reduce Johan Kristoffersson's championship lead to single digits, but that plan slipped out the window with a jump start in Q1 due to a clutch issue seeing him finish the session in tenth overall.  

Q2 saw Mattias climb up the rankings to sixth, with a further improvement in Q3 seeing him finish behind Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen, and Andreas Bakkerud. In the semi-final, the Swede finished behind Kristoffersson and progressed to the final where he would finish in fourth place. 

Hard work overnight by the EKS-supported team on Saturday improved the pace of the Audi S1s for round eight on Sunday. Mattias was on a mission and won two qualifying sessions to take 16 championship points for being the top qualifier, and he would start on pole position for the semi-finals. He finished second in the semi-final and was in contention for a podium finish until he made an error at the final corner and spun off the track, handing third place to Anton Marklund. 

After a second-place finish on Saturday (round 7) and a win at round 8 of the championship, Kristoffersson has increased his championship lead to 27 points with two rounds remaining. Mattias needs to ensure that Johan does not outscore him by four points in Belgium to keep his hopes of clinching a second title alive. 

"We came here with the hope of having a good weekend as I like the track and so on, but we struggled quite a lot with starts, with the clutches especially, so that was the main topic of the weekend for Robin and myself," Ekström said. "That was for sure not nice and when you’re focusing on a problem, you also reduce the effort to try and work on the setup. I think we came a bit on the back foot on fine-turning the car, and never really got the momentum going."

"You can only say congratulations to Johan Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen for winning this weekend, they did a better job and we just need to get our heads down, sort out our issues and come back stronger."

Things weren't any better for Ekström's teammate Robin Larsson. Despite posting the fourth-fastest time in Q1, his front right suspension broke seeing him dive nose-first into the tyre barriers after the jump in Q2. And, with a repaired car, he posted the ninth-fastest time in Q3, which wasn't enough to see him progress to the semi-finals. However, KYB Team JC had other plans, as Enzo Ide (JC Raceteknik) made the cut for the semi-finals, he was withdrawn "due to a technical issue", and Larsson would take his place as the first reverse. 

Larsson did not have a good start in the semi-finals, and unfortunately, he was unable to gain the spot required to progress to the finals. He'd have to take an early shower and refocus for round eight. 

Whilst his teammate topped qualifying on Sunday, the double European Rallycross Champion found himself in seventh overall behind Johan Kristoffersson. 

He then finished just behind Ekström in the semi-finals to make the final, then had a good start, but his race ended when he hit Andreas Bakkerud who had been spun at the first corner. 

"On Saturday we were all struggling a bit, we didn’t find the pace, especially for Mattias who was at the top all day but he couldn’t find the last little bit. That’s the bad thing about a double-header weekend, sometimes it takes a whole race in one day to find the answers," Larsson said. "We started Sunday really good but I jumped into a hole in qualifying and got a puncture. In Q3 the clutch was overheating, I think we found every bit of bad luck we could this weekend." 

"The car felt really good, I had a good start in the semi-finals and I was able to be careful for the last three laps, then in the final, I had a really good start but I had nowhere to go when the cars came together in front of me. Hopefully, we have our bad luck out of the way now."

With two rounds of the 2020 World RX championship in Belgium and Germany, KYB Team JC maintains the lead in the teams' championship standings despite Team Hansen reducing the lead to 16 points. 

"It’s been a really, really difficult weekend. Saturday was bad for us, we didn’t have the pace at all and it felt like we almost didn’t earn the speed we had. We really had to work hard on Saturday night and did a good job," Joel Christoffersson, KYB Team JC and JC Raceteknik Team Principal said. "As we have done every weekend it seems we find something on the night after the first race in these double-headers sadly."

"We did some good things and found the speed. Mattias was top qualifier and Robin was P7 in the Intermediate on Sunday, but in the semi-finals we lost the pace a bit against Johan Kristoffersson. I feel sad for Robin for what happened in the first corner of the final, and that we had a problem so Mattias didn’t finish on the podium."

"Team Hansen has done a good job this weekend and caught us a lot in the Teams’ championship, so we really need to re-focus and go to Spa aiming to do some good," he concludes.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Bakkerud "really, really happy" with results in Barcelona despite first corner exit.

PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition.
The 2020 World Rallycross Championship was always going to be an uphill challenge for Andreas Bakkerud (the 2019 vice-champion) having switched from EKS run Audi's to GC Kompetition. 

Having tested the Renault Megane R.S. RX in Cape Town in 2018, he might have had an idea of its performance, but it always takes time to learn the new machinery. But straight off the bat, Bakkerud claimed some good results and even progressed to the finals on two occasions but never truly had the ability to challenge for a win or even a podium due to a lack of performance and mechanical issues with the Megane.

But things would soon take a turn for the better following a test after a Latvian double-header in France, which saw Bakkerud return for form in Barcelona. Whilst Saturday (round 7) wasn't the easiest for the Norwegian, he did however make the final, but was hampered by power steering issues and ended the day in sixth overall. 

On Sunday morning, Andreas registered the ninth-fastest time in the morning warm-up session ahead of Q1, where he would finish behind Mattias Ekstrom and conclude the session in fifth overall. 

And, as the day progressed the Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel driver just got faster and faster. Q2 saw the Norwegian hold off Johan Kristoffersson to win the heat and claim a third-place finish overall.

That's not all folks, Andreas went on to beat the likes of Mattias Ekstrom, Johan Kristoffersson, and the Hansen brothers in Q3, which saw him leap-frog Timmy Hansen and seal pole position in the semi-final. Guess what? He won semi-final 2 by 0.478 seconds ahead of Timmy Hansen. 

Whilst Johan Kristoffersson won the other semi-final from the second row of the grid, he would line-up alongside Andreas for the final. 

Both Andreas and Johan started the final with two new front tyres and as the lights went out Johan appeared to have a better start. While Andreas inched closer heading into turn one. Thinking he was clear, Kristoffersson cut in front of Bakkerud sending him into the tyre barrier, he spun around and was hit quite hard by Robin Larsson who had nowhere to go, his race was over from there. 

It's a question of what could have been? But Andreas is quite pleased with his results in Barcelona despite the first corner exit in the final. 

"Generally, I’m really, really happy about the result this weekend," he said. "Who would’ve thought after the difficulties we faced at the start of the season that we would be here today, on pole position in the final ahead of Johan Kristofferson."

"We even had Johan on reaction time at the start of the final! The squeeze came really suddenly and Robin had nowhere to go but that’s the way it goes sometimes."

Yet to win a race this season, Andreas admits that he really wanted to win in Barcelona, but won't give up on his pursuit of glory in the GCK prepared Renault Megane R.S. RX. 

"I wanted this win really badly and I’m not giving up now," Bakkerud adds. "We did everything we could this weekend and I’m really proud of the entire team and everyone involved both here and back at home. Thank you!"

Written By - Junaid Samodien.

GRX Taneco rues lack of grip at Barcelona double-header.

It was a weekend to forget for GRX Taneco who was struggling with a lack of grip at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

The Finnish squad had high expectations for the final double-header of the season in Barcelona after finding some improvements after the Latvian double-header, but they were soon brought down to reality with Timur Timerzyanov bowing out in the semi-finals at round seven (on Saturday).

And, while it looked a bit better for Niclas Grönholm who made the final. He finished in fourth place and admitted that his Hyundai i20 was lacking grip. 

Whilst Saturday did not bring the desired results, GRX Taneco worked into the night to analyze why they were lacking grip and make the necessary changes for Sunday's round, but unfortunately, both GRX Taneco drivers were still struggling with grip and were unable to match the pace of their rivals. 

Despite lacking grip, Grönholm admits that the team has taken a step forward with race starts (launches), and he believes that he had the right tire strategy, but he was unable to make use of it. 

"We had good starts and I must say that is a big step forward from where we were at the beginning of the season, but out on the track we still struggled with the grip," he said. "I think we were also very good on the tire strategy, but just couldn’t take the advantage of it."

"Now it will be a long break before we go to Belgium, and I really hope we can find a solution and be more competitive in the next race."

Missing the draw on Saturday evening for round eight, Timur started his day off in Q1 Race 1 where he finished behind Robin Larsson and was sixth overall with two qualifying sessions to go. 

Whilst leading Q2 Race 3 in the early stages, he did not have the pace to match the likes of Kristoffersson and Bakkerud. And, would finish behind his teammate Niclas in fourth seeing him drop a position in the overall standings to P7 overall. 

Q3 saw the GRX Taneco drivers both have great launches, but Anton Marklund had other plans and led the race into turn 1/2, while Timo Scheider also got the best of the duo, which meant Timur would finish behind his teammate once again. 

In the semi-finals, the Russian made it through the first corner last, and despite a first lap joker he was only able to jump Enzo Ide to finish in fifth-place where his weekend would end. 

"It was a tough race today [Sunday] and the track evolution didn’t make my day any easier," Timerzyanov said. "At some moments we were able to deliver, but overall we are not where we want to be and we need to work on finding the overall pace."

Jussi Pinomäki, the GRX Taneco Team Manager says despite reaching a new low, the only way is up, and his team will use the month break between Barcelona and Belgium to bring the team back to the top again. 

"It’s not a simple sport and I guess that’s what makes it so attractive. Everyone has their ups and downs, and at the moment we are quite down," Pinomäki said. "But it means that there is only one way to go from here - and that is up. Everyone in the team is working really hard to bring us back at the top and now we have one month to do it."

After eight races of the season, Niclas Grönholm is currently fourth and Timur Timerzyanov tenth in the drivers’ standings, while the GRX Taneco squad hangs onto third in the teams' standings.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Monday 19 October 2020

"I couldn't be happier" as Kristoffersson takes a step closer to third World RX title.

Johan Kristoffersson took firm control of the World RX Drivers' Championship with a win at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona on Sunday.

The two-time champion has had a weekend of ups and downs, but through bumper bashing adversity, he stood up and fought back. Despite being the top qualifier and winning his semi-final. The Swede did not have it easy with the resurgence of the Team Hansen and a strong Andreas Bakkerud. 

He was involved in hard battles all Saturday, including a great fight in the final where Timmy Hansen challenged Johan through the first corner. Hansen went on to win ahead of the Swede who finished second. 

The contact with Hansen at the first corner saw Johan shed some bodywork including his front bumper. 

"That made the car a bit understeery, which is evident on this track. But I'm happy with 27 points. You don't lose the title on a performance like that," Kristoffersson said.

The draw for round eight on Sunday indicated an even tougher mission for the double world champion, and so it was. From difficult starting positions, he was only fifth overall after the three qualifying rounds, meaning he would start on the second row for the semi-finals. 

"No matter what we did, we ended up behind someone. It was frustrating," said Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS boss Tommy Kristoffersson.

However, Johan turned his fortune around. With a very good launch in the semi-finals, he slotted in behind Mattias Ekström. He jokered on the third lap and managed to pass Ekström for a win.

"That joker strategy was absolutely perfect," Johan said.

Starting on the outside of Andreas Bakkerud on the front row of the final. He had another great launch and was a full car length clear before braking for turn one. However, there was contact in the first corner, which ended Bakkerud's race and despite crossing the finish line first. Johan was under investigation for the incident and was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the FIA Stewards.  

"I was a bit worried but I would have been disappointed with another decision from the judges. Johan was ahead of Andreas with the length of a car," Tommy Kristoffersson said.

Having clinched his fourth win of the season, Johan has now taken a step closer to a third FIA World Rallycross Championship having increased his lead in the championship by 27 points. Should he outscore Mattias Ekström in Belgium, he would seal the title with a round to go. 

"I'm so satisfied. I couldn't be happier than this," the championship leader added.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Hard work pays off as Marklund claims podium in Barcelona thriller.

PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition.
Anton Marklund says Bilstein's hard work has paid off at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona after a challenging first half of the season. 

With a glimpse of pace in the season opener in Holjes, Marklund appeared to be a regular contender for a spot in the finals, but unfortunately, as the season progressed he would only be a regular in the semi-finals. 

Following on from the Latvian double-header in September, Bilstein and GC Kompetition studied data, conducted some tests, and found some good improvements. 

And, while testing results can bring some high expectations, GCK Bilstein were on the money in Barcelona with Anton just missing out on a place in the finals by 1 second on Saturday afternoon. After round seven, the Swede admitted that with some overnight fine-tuning he could claim a good result on Sunday. 

The GCK driver started his first qualifier on Sunday morning on the outside (of turn one) alongside Timo Scheider, Tamas Karai, and Niclas Gronholm.

Fourth through the first corner wasn't the best way to start the day, but he chased down the leader, and with an alternate strategy, he jokered on the last lap and powered alongside Timo Scheider who defended the inside line blocking Marklund and he would finish in P3 (10th overall). 

The second qualifier saw Marklund drop into second behind Scheider having been squeezed into turn 1. He gained position into second on lap 3 before overtaking Timo Scheider on the last lap to take the chequered flag, moving up seventh overall.

For the final qualifier, he started on pole, and while Gronholm and Timerzyanov had a much better launch he fought back to take the lead on lap 3 and he hung on from there to cross the checkered flag and stamp his pass into the semi-finals. 

Starting from the second row of semi-final 2, Anton had a clean start and took the inside line slotting into third after turn 1. He maintained the position and pushed ahead to create enough distance to join the pack in fourth following his joker in lap 3. He crossed the final line in third, which meant he would have a third-row spot on the grid for the final.

With no new tyres for the final, he was at a slight disadvantage, and with a reasonable start, he managed to avoid the first corner melee involving GCK stablemate Andreas Bakkerud and Robin Larsson to slot into P3. With a first lap joker, he was right on the rear of Ekstrom and began pilling on pressure. As Ekstrom spun off the track, Marklund claimed third where he would finish, successfully claiming his first podium of the 2020 season with GCK Bilstein. 

"I’m really really happy for all of GCK and Bilstein," Marklund said. "While I was at home trying to relax and doing analysis in between races, they’ve worked super hard at the workshop and the factory to bring us a race-ready car with significant improvements since Finland RX."

"I’m just so happy that they’ve made it work and they now have a car that races extremely well and is fully back on pace. We just have to build on this now and we have a race win in us still." 

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Doran left frustrated after troublesome outing in Barcelona.

PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition
Plagued with bad luck in the first half of the 2020 World Rallycross Championship, Liam Doran has had a slightly better outing at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. 

Whilst he claimed his best result of the season in Latvia, the British bomb had a better pace in Barcelona but was not able to capitalize on it through costly mistakes. 

On Saturday (round seven) he jumped the start in Q1 and so did Mattias Ekstrom both driver were handed the customary 2 lap joker penalty, but once the race got underway the Brit led through the first corner and opted to take the joker on lap one, and as the race progressed he was able to jump Ekstrom and had slightly better pace then his teammate and brought it home in second place (ninth overall).

He went on to claim another second-place finish in Q2 (P8 overall) but had a slightly more challenging Q3 finishing in 11th overall. 

Tenth overall after the three qualifying sessions, he progressed to the semi-finals, but it all went downhill from there as he lost front-wheel-drive and exited the race registering a DNF.

Speaking after round seven, Doran said: "All-day the car has been performing great off the start and feels really fun to drive. We made some changes ahead of the semi-finals to get some more traction and it worked a little too well, unfortunately. I then messed up the first corner by stalling and dropped to the back."

"Another small mistake ahead of the jump saw me hit the barrier and spat me out the jump the wrong way, which I just managed to save. It’s frustrating to make mistakes for sure, especially as we had a good start to the day, which then didn’t end quite as well but we go again tomorrow and try to build on today’s pace," he adds.

Back on track for round eight on Sunday morning, Doran posted the eighth fastest time in the morning warm-up and was all set for another day of action. 

Q1 saw Doran drop to P4 after contact in turn one and jokered straight away. He then began chasing down Mandie August and overtook her on the last time to finish in third. 

Lining up alongside Bennett, August, and Guillerme in the second qualifier, Doran’s race finished unexpectedly. Having led the pack for all 4 laps despite a misfiring engine from lap 1, he struggled to keep control into the last corner ahead of the chequered flag due to repeated misfires, resulting in him ending up in the wall and spinning around before crossing the line in second place. And, while the Brit was in 12 overall after Q2, the engine issues were too significant to get fixed ahead of Q3 leading to his early exit from the weekend's action. 

"It’s been a frustrating day for me in Barcelona," he said. "The car felt good and I felt in control until the engine issues reared their head and unfortunately there was no way to continue."

"Having made some mistakes yesterday that cost us to now have an early finish today is frustrating but there’s nothing to do about it really, it’s motorsport."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Sunday 18 October 2020

Kristoffersson comes out on top in Barcelona despite a first corner incident

Johan Kristoffersson claimed his fourth win of the 2020 World Rallycross season in Barcelona, after an action-packed final.

It was a challenging day for the double world champion who was stuck in traffic all day, while his championship rival capitalized in clean air to claim the top qualifiers spot. 

Could Kristoffersson fight back?

The heat was on.. In the semi-finals, Kristoffersson started on the second row of the grid but made quick work of Kevin Hansen and Robin Larsson to claim second-place behind Ekström, he then leap-frogged his championship rival with an earlier joker lap to secure a front-row start for the final. 

Having struggled in the first half of the season, Andreas Bakkerud showed some great pace, and actually won Q3 ahead Mattias Ekstrom, and that was not all folks. Andreas also won semi-final two ahead of Timmy Hansen and Anton Marklund to claim pole position for the final. 

Lining up for the final, Andreas and Johan used two new front tyres, while Timmy Hansen behind had a set new tyres on his Peugeot 208 and Ekström behind with one new right front tyre. 

At the start, Kristoffersson got away well and briefly pulled a cars length clear of Bakkerud who was on the inside. On the turn into the first corner, Johan took a tighter line squeezing Andreas who hit his rear and bounced up. Seconds later, Bakkerud caught the wall on the inside as a direct result of that pitching him into the tyre barrier and ricocheting into the path of Robin Larsson who had nowhere to go. 

The collision instantly took Bakkerud and Larsson out of the race, while Mattias Ekström who had a bad start and had to steer around the stranded car.

Kristoffersson made it through turn one with a missing front wing (fender), while Timmy Hansen and Anton Marklund sneaked through the turn one melee, and the pair began to there race. 

Marklund jokered on lap one promoting Ekström to third, while Timmy Hansen closed the gap and was glued to Kristoffersson's rear bumper. The Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver opted for an early joker on lap 3 and was immediately on the rear of Ekström who was running in third at the time. 

On the next lap around, the two-time champion posted the fastest lap of the race, a 44.113-second lap. 

While Mattias Ekstrom made a rare mistake going into the final corner and running off the track. Stalled for a few seconds, and later got going well behind Marklund. 

Timmy could not capitalize on the clean air upfront, while Kristoffersson inched closer lap after lap. The gap fell as Kristoffersson upped his pace. Hanging on upfront, Hansen jokered on the final lap and come out in second 2.737-seconds behind Kristoffersson who claimed his 24th career win. 

After the race, Kristoffersson was asked what happened at turn one, to which he replied: "I didn't see anything because I was in front."

"I had a very good start, there was a lot of grip on the start line. I saw Andreas bog on the start in pre-launch and I bogged in pre-launch, and then I turned everything on, and then I had a great start. I saw Andreas drop back. So, I didn't expect him to be there. I thought that he was further back then he was... I almost had a car length and when I braked into the first corner he came like a rocket. I couldn't do anything differently to be honest."

Kristoffersson joked after the race that he jokered ahead of Timmy Hansen this time, after losing out yesterday (round 7). 

"I saw that Timmy had four new tyres and I had two new tyres. But today I gave it absolutely everything to manage to get him and I am just so happy," he said. "We had the pace all day, but we couldn't really show it because we have been in traffic every session. First of all the semi-final was very nice and then the final. So, I feel a bit relieved."

Heading into Barcelona, Team Hansen conducted an extensive testing programme and found some much-needed performance after lacking traction at earlier events. 

Timmy is quite pleased with his weekend overall at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. "As a whole, it's a fantastic result. We have been putting in all that work and it paid off this weekend," he said. "The win yesterday will definitely be the highlight. That is something that I will carry with me and to share the podium with Kevin yesterday." 

"Today, it didn't quite go our way in the race. I think our pace was actually maybe better for us today and the car is going definitely progressing. I was lucky in the final with the carnage and came out quite well and in a good position. After that, I tried to take the battle to Johan, but today it went to him. So, congratz to him!" 

Anton Marklund, who also escaped the first corner carnage opted for a first lap joker, and after Ekström's mistake, he followed Hansen across the finish line in third place to claim his first podium of the season, while Ekström eventually finished the final 19.397 behind the race winner. 

"It's a big relief because we had that podium in Holjes in the first race and we finished P3, and unfortunately we got a penalty and moved down and after that, we didn't have the pace and the team has been working so hard and Bilstein have been working there arses off, and now it starts to pay off," Marklund said. "The car is starting to behave very well and we started to have the pace."

The FIA investigated the first corner incident between Kristoffersson and Bakkerud, and deemed that Bakkerud was at fault:

"After reviewing all of the video evidence MVRC from several angles car #3 (Kristoffersson) and #13 (Bakkerud) were in front row. #3 had a better start with a full car length ahead leaving enough space on his left side. Then #13 drove full speed without braking before T1, he then collided with #3. #13's right front wheel touched the left hand rear wheel of #3 and crashed into the wall. #13 was then pushed by #4 who could not avoid the collision. Based on the above facts the stewards decided to take NO FURTHER ACTION."

After a strong start on Sunday, Kevin Hansen started on the front row for semi-final one but was covered off by Ekström with Larsson attacking around the outside and Kristoffersson on the inside. With a first lap joker, Kevin attempted to undercut the field, but unfortunately, he got stuck behind Tamas Karai and was unable close the gap enough to Larsson in the closing stages of the semis and would go no further. 

While Timo Scheider also had good pace today but also missed out on a spot in the semi-finals along with Tamas Karai.

Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov had a day to forget, as they both failed to progress past the semi-finals. It was no different for Enzo Ide (JC Raceteknik) whose day also ended after the semi-finals.

With two rounds of the championship remaining, Johan Kristoffersson now has a 27-point lead at the top of championship standings, meaning should he score four more points than Ekström in Belgium, he would be crowned a three-time World RX champion. 

While Timmy Hansen is still in with a mathematic chance just 56 points behind Kristoffersson with two rounds remaining. 

Written By - Junaid Samodien 

Masterful Ekström heads qualifying for second Barcelona round.

Mattias Ekström topped qualifying for round eight of the 2020 World Rallycross season in Barcelona as championship leader Johan Kristoffersson failed to top a session for the second time this season.

The 2016 champion was the pacesetter in Q1 and Q2, with Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel's Andreas Bakkerud topping the table in Q3 to secure a pole position start for semi-final two. 

"To be honest I am surprised [to beat Ekström]," Bakkerud said. "I was the first car into the first car. Oh my god!"

Kristoffersson has not had the Sunday that he had hoped for finishing sixth in Q1 after taking a risk on higher RPM for the launch. While he tried to undercut the Hansen brothers on the inside, he was wary that a third reprimand could result in a five-point penalty, which could prove costly. In Q2, the Swede went backward off the line but came out in third as the race played out he progressed to P2 behind Andreas Bakekrud which meant he would finish the session in fourth overall. 

Q3 saw three five-car races following the withdrawal of Liam Doran. Kristoffersson would start on the outside, but was last through turn 1, while Bakkerud led the way from Ekstrom, Kevin, and Timmy Hansen. 

Ekström jokered earlier than his rivals in hope that he can undercut Andreas Bakkerud ahead, but the Norweigan had other plans and only took his joker lap on lap 3 seeing him leapfrog his former teammate. While Kevin Hansen who stayed out managed to pass Mattias as well to the claim second. 

Stuck behind Bakkerud and Kevin Hansen, Kristoffersson would end the session in fifth place, and for the first time this season, he will line-up on the second row of the grid for the semi-finals. 

Kevin and Timmy Hansen have enjoyed another strong day finding themselves in third and fourth respectively in the standings. 

Anton Marklund completes the top six ahead of Robin Larsson who will make the semi-finals this time after Enzo Ide was sacrificed on Saturday.

Despite winning Q3 Race 1, Larsson went backward off the grid due to a clutch issue, but it was like the seas parted for the reigning Euro RX champion as everyone he closed in on seemed to have an issue and he passed them with ease. 

"I had a problem with the clutch at the start. It slips from the gears to turn one," Larsson said. "The car feels good, but it's been one of those tough weekends when everything goes wrong." 

It's been a tricky morning for Niclas Grönholm who has been struggling to find the pace yesterday but admitted that Sunday has been slightly better. "The car was good in the morning practice, but the track is developing in the wrong direction," he said. "It's hard to be in the last heat. We have no luck!"

Timo Scheider who has had endless mechanical issues yesterday has had a slightly better Sunday splitting the GRX Taneco team-mates with Timur Timerzyanov in tenth. 

Tamas Karai and JC Raceteknik's Enzo Ide take the final two spots in the semi-finals. Ide was investigated for an incident with Oliver Bennett and was handed a three-second time penalty. 

All-Inkl Muennich Motorsport's Mandie August will miss out on a spot in the semi-finals by a single point, while Q2 race 1 winner Oliver Bennett has also missed out and will not progress any further after finishing the three qualifying sessions in 14th overall, ahead of Patrick Guillerme, and Liam Doran.

Doran's day came to a premature end due to engine issues while leading in Q2. The Brit was leading his heat race but an engine misfire earlier in the race led to engine failure on the final lap, which resulted in a spin and contact with the barrier as he crossed the finish line. 

"It started well and lead the race. Then I had an engine problem in the middle of the first lap then had an engine failure," Doran said. "The engine just let go and then had no engine to pull me out of the wall."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Saturday 17 October 2020

Hard work pays off as Team Hansen claims first win of the season.

Determined to get back to winning ways, Team Hansen arrived at Circuit de Catalunya with a number of updates after completing a few days of testing prior to the Barcelona double-header, and it has shown that these updates are in fact working. 

Whilst traction has been an issue for the team in the first half of the season, they seem to have found a solution this weekend, as reigning champion Timmy Hansen claimed his first win of the season in emphatic style, with younger brother Kevin Hansen finishing in third place to give the team a double podium. 

Timmy continued where he left off in 2019 by winning a nail-biting fight against championship leader Johan Kristoffersson by the slimmest of margins 0.417s. 

"There has so many times I've been chasing Johan since 2017 when they entered with that Polo. We have been chasing it as Team Peugeot-Hansen, Peugeot as a factory team, and now as Team Hansen the privateer, so it feels like we've beaten the unbeatable today," Timmy Hansen said. "This result is a big box tick for me; It's something I've been trying to achieve for a long time, to beat that car and driver combination in a World RX final."

With improved traction and pace, Timmy believes that his can be a lot faster tomorrow with some fine-tuning. 

"I believe we can go even faster tomorrow. There are still things we can fine-tune for this track and I know the more work there is, the faster we'll go. So I'm feeling very hopeful for tomorrow," he said. "If we can achieve the same again tomorrow as what we managed today that would be fantastic. Right now I'm happy and grateful for today's result but tomorrow it's about refocusing, doing another three qualifiers and two finals. Who knows, maybe we'll come home with two first-place trophies?"

Kevin Hansen also claimed his second podium of the season, after his second place at the team's home round in Sweden. He slotted in behind Timmy in the final and came out well clear of Niclas Grönholm securing third at the finish line.

"It's been an amazing day. It's great to get some pay-off for all the hard work we've been putting in since Finland and finally we're back on the top step with a 'brodium'!," he said. "This is an amazing place to do it, the site of our one-two finish last year, to come back to the top and win again."

"Our speed has definitely improved since the last round, so we definitely deserve this result. We need to keep our head down now; we've got a good car and we can improve it further. There are still some small things on my side that can be improved to unlock more speed."

"I'm in a good place for tomorrow regarding tyres, so generally, I'm really happy with how the weekend is going," he concludes.

14-time EuroRX champion and Team Principal, Kenneth Hansen finds some satisfaction that his team was able to chase down the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS Polo R Supercar. 

"It was absolutely fantastic to watch the end of this race, with Timmy chasing down the Polo; a very good factory car that we've had some difficulty matching the pace of in the past," he said.

Whilst Team Hansen claimed their first win of the season, Kenneth says the team needs to continue working as they have not found a perfect set-up just yet.

"All the development, testing, brainstorming we've done so far needs to continue this weekend because we haven't found a perfect set-up yet," he adds. "But we continued to improve our set-up throughout the day and planned our tyre strategy well, which made a difference."

"We really needed this one-three result today, to really demonstrate our performance and potential again with meaningful results. Now, we will focus to try and repeat this performance tomorrow."

"It will be difficult but we are feeling confident and we won't be staying still with our development either; we will be trying more changes to close the gap even further."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Kristoffersson extends championship despite second place finish in Barcelona.

Johan Kristoffersson extended his championship lead despite a second-place finish at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. 

The double World Champion arrived in Barcelona with a mission to keep the distance to Mattias Ekström, without taking big risks. His competitors had other things in mind, and gave him a tough Saturday. 

"I picked up 27 points today. You don't lose the title because of days like that," Kristoffersson said. 

Q1 saw Niclas Grönholm squeeze Kristoffersson into the wall at the first corner, but his Volkswagen Polo was only left with minor scars and from there he was untouchable crossing the line 3.137 seconds ahead of Gronholm, Bennett, and Scheider.  

In Q2 an aggressive first corner saw Robin Larsson squeeze the Marklund and Kristoffersson. The latter hit the tyre barrier seeing him launch up on two-wheels and coming out behind Larsson and Timmy Hansen while Marklund hit the rear bumper of Kristoffersson. 

Comfortably in the lead, Larsson's right suspension broke seeing him hit the tyre barrier, and while Timmy Hansen took the lead, but he was quickly hunted down by Kristoffersson with a damaged Polo R Supercar and ultimately be overtaken based on joker strategy. 

"Yes, the car is really well built. That could have ended much worse," he said.

Kristoffersson rounded off by winning Q3, finishing top qualifier for the fifth time this season, and picking up 16 points.

In the semi-finals, he got another knock on the rear end from Ekstrom and stuck on to lead and comfortably win the semi-final securing pole position for the final. 

The final got off to a bang, on the front row the Swede had four used tyres while Timmy Hansen on the outside had four new tyres. Whilst Johan got off to a good start, Timmy Hansen hugged the inside line and Johan hit the barrier at the first corner looking front bumper and bodywork but still led the race. 

"When I lost the front the car it became somewhat understeery," he said

Despite lacking some front end performance, he took the fight with Timmy all the way to the finish line, in what was a real rallycross battle from both of them. Both Johan and Timmy were reprimanded by the stewards for two separate collisions in the final.   

"The Hansen team were strong today. Timmy and the whole Hansen team have done a fantastic job between the races, I’ve seen they’ve been testing and pushing on and that’s what keeps us on our toes as well," Kristoffersson said

Tommy Kristoffersson, the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS boss explains the team's tactics today.

"We could have been more aggressive with tyre and joker strategy, but today we wanted to secure qualifying points and a starting position up front for the semis and final. Collecting points was more important than securing the victory," he said.

The strategy/tactics worked out well, as Ekström was not having one of his best days, and Johan extended his championship lead from 17 to 25 points.

Written by - Junaid Samodien

Marklund happy with performance in Barcelona despite missing out on finals.

GCK Bilstein's Anton Marklund has been left satisfied after showing promising pace at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona. 

Despite missing out on a spot in the finals, the Swede's weekend got off to a promising start with a third-place finish in the first qualifier. 

With the fastest drivers going first in Q2, Marklund would start in third-place alongside Timmy Hansen and Johan Kristoffersson on pole position. The funnel-like turn one saw four cars squeeze for the lead with Robin Larsson attempting an aggressive overtake around the outside, which basically put the squeeze on Marklund and Kristoffersson who was on the inside, ultimately seeing the latter go up on two wheels. Anton brought his Renault Megane home in third-place.

Q3 saw Anton line up on pole alongside Gronholm, Ide, and Bennett. Putting down a fight for position with Gronholm but lacking grip, Marklund finished the race in second with a 10th fastest time overall putting the Swede in eighth and onto the second row of the semi-finals.

With the Hansen's making it through turn one in the lead ahead of Gronholm. Marklund and Larsson fought all the way into turn 3, where the Swede opted to take the joker lap and come out at the tail end of the field. The GCK Bilstein driver fought back to jump Robin Larsson, but it wasn't enough to get of Gronholm for the final spot in the final. 

"Bilstein has put in a new evolution of the damper since the last round and this hard work has really paid off, the car feels great which I think we proved with our practice time and the p3 in Q1," Marklund said.  "Q2 and Q3 were more of a struggle with significant impact in Q2 and some miscalculations in Q3, which had us miss out on the first row of the semi-finals."

"The car felt fantastic again in the semi-finals and we just missed out on a spot in the final having got stuck in a little bit of traffic. P4 today feels great though because I can really feel the potential of the car for tomorrow now."

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Icecool Kristoffersson is World RX top qualifier again at Barcelona

Johan Kristoffersson survived an incident in Q2 to continue his strong run of form and claim the top qualifiers spot in the seventh round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Barcelona. 

After dominating in Q1 by 3.137 seconds over Timmy Hansen, and topping Q3, the Swede fought back in Q2 after being pitched onto two wheels at turn one in an incident deemed to be caused by Robin Larsson who squeezed across the front of Marklund and Kristoffersson. 

For the incident, 10-points were deducted from Larsson's Q2 classification, which saw him drop to the tail end of the field. The Swede felt that the penalty was quite harsh: "It was a rough Q2. Got a 10 point penalty after turning into the first corner. I don't know how we are supposed to race. Then something broke after the jump."

Larsson currently misses out on a spot in the semi-finals by a single point but could make the cut should JC Raceteknik withdraw Enzo Ide. 

Reigning champion Timmy Hansen finished second in the intermediate classification showing that Team Hansen's recent tests and upgrades have assisted in solving their traction issues. Whilst his 2019 rival, Andreas Bakkerud finds himself in third-place overall. 

While Bakkerud's GCK Renault Megane R.S. RX was being rebuilt following his crash in Latvia, the Norweigan got behind the wheel of Marklund's supercar to test some tweaks and improvements which has proven to work this weekend.

"Very, very happy that we scored my first qualifying heat win with the Renault Megane. So, absolutely very happy with the boys and the girl's work from the team. I think we did a great development since Riga and we are looking better now," Bakkerud said. 

Kevin Hansen, a bit under the radar this weekend with fourth-place overall. While championship contender Mattias Ekström in fifth overall after battling with clutch issues throughout the three qualifying sessions.

"Again we are struggling with the clutch. We haven't found the issue yet," the Swede said having won his Q3 heat race. 

A dejected Niclas Grönholm leads the GRX Taneco duo in sixth with Timur Timerzyanov in seventh. 

"It's been quite difficult. It's not getting any better. It's quite disappointing not to have the speed and also the car is not easy to drive," Niclas said.

Anton Marklund, Timo Scheider, and Liam Doran complete the top 10 with Oliver Bennett, and Enzo Ide also advancing to the semi-finals. 

Doran was reprimanded by the FIA Stewards for not respecting a car on the left-hand side in Q3. 

As mentioned earlier, Larsson might not advance to the semi-finals should JC Raceteknik allow Enzo Ide to take his spot on the grid. 

Tamas Karai, Patrick Guillerme, and Mandie August have also failed to progress semi-finals and will return for more tomorrow morning 

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Friday 16 October 2020

PREVIEW - Can anyone stop Kristoffersson in Barcelona double-header?

The heat is on! SIX DOWN... with four to go. The fourth and final double-header of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship will take place at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona this weekend.

Barcelona will play host the final double-header of the season, and with this, we'll see minor naming changes. Instead of a standard name across the full weekend. The event organizers have opted for two names for each round.

Round seven on Saturday is named to support the local bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, Logitech G FIA World RX of Pirineus-Barcelona 2030 while round eight on Sunday is named the Logitech G FIA World RX of Catalunya.

This year's round at Circuit de Catalunya will be held behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, all competing teams and event organizers and officials will be operating on reduced staffing levels to comply with the FIA safety regulations with 295 accredited personnel, a reduction of 55 personnel compared to Latvia. All personnel are required to provide a negative PCR test before they are allowed to enter the circuit. 

FIA World Rallycross Championship

The unprecedented 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship will continue this weekend after a 26-day break. Three different drivers have taken event wins this season, while Johan Kristoffersson leads the way having won rounds one, three, and five. 

The double World Champion has established a 17 point lead at the head of the championship, with closest rival Mattias Ekström aiming to stop his Swedish compatriot in his tracks. Ekström returned to the championship this season in place of Janis Baumanis with KYB Team JC and has won rounds two and six. 

The 2016 World RX champion has a clear plan of what he needs to do this weekend. "If I want to be world champion I think it’s pretty fair and square, I need to beat Johan at least twice and I have two chances this weekend on Saturday and Sunday to bring the lead down to single numbers. That means from 17 down to nine, beating him by eight points," he said. "That is the hope and the target."

Ekström's teammate, Robin Larsson, is currently fifth in the championship having claimed his first podium with a third-place in round six of the championship in Latvia. During the break between the Latvian and Spanish rounds of the championship, Larsson has been helping Enzo Ide get up to speed. 

Ide was sidelined for much of last season following an accident at home that left him in an induced coma for several months. The Belgian will return to World RX this weekend at the wheel of a third JC Raceteknik Audi S1 Quattro. 

GRX Taneco's Niclas Grönholm was one of the favorites heading into the season but has not had the start to the season that he had expected despite picking up a win at round four of the championship in Kouvola. And, while it hasn't been the easiest of seasons for the Finn, he currently holds third place in the championship. His teammate at GRX Taneco, Timur Timerzyanov has had the pace but has ultimately fallen foul to ontrack incidents and mechanical issues, he is currently in ninth-place in the championship standings.

Reigning world champion Timmy Hansen is still in the championship hunt just 55 points behind championship leader Johan Kristoffersson. While younger brother and teammate Kevin Hansen is sixth in the championship. 

The Hansen brothers have had a good record at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona having claimed a one-two finish last season, and will aim to replicate that result this weekend. 

Whilst the updated Peugeot 208 WRX hasn't been as strong as the team expected. Both Kevin and Timmy spent their downtime testing their supercars and found some much-needed improvements. 

"I've conducted many rallycross tests over the years and the results we got out of our test last week were some of the best we've ever had. I'm very excited to be coming to Barcelona with this fresh approach we've got and the multiple updates we've brought with us," Timmy Hansen said

Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel's Andreas Bakkerud returns after a 120km/h crash in Latvia. He confirmed that his Renault Megane R.S.RX has been rebuilt and is ready for this weekend's action, while Liam Doran is hoping that his run of bad luck has ended. 

Timo Scheider has shown his potential at the wheel of the AllInkl-Muennich Motorsport Seat Ibiza, but last time out, it was a weekend to forget for the double DTM champion who was disqualified for the incident with Andreas Bakkerud. 

This weekend Scheider will be partnered by Mandie August who replaces Rene Muennich and becomes only the second female driver to start a World RX event.

GCK Bilstein's Anton Marklund will hope for better luck this weekend after suffering with a number of technical issues this season. 

After a tough start to the season, UNKORRUPTED announced their withdrawal from the Spanish round of the championship citing: "We have found significant issues that can not be addressed in time to be race-ready."

The French squad will hope to solve their issues ahead of the final two rounds in Belgium and Germany later this year. 

Joining the Permanent Competitors in Barcelona is Tamas Karai who will return in his Audi Supercar having also competed in the World RX of Finland double-header. 

Xite Energy's Oliver Bennett is back! The Brit returns to the championship after missing the opening six rounds. He will be driving his redeveloped Mini SX1. While Frenchman Patrick Guillerme will conclude the 16-strong driver line-up in his Hyundai i20. 

The GRID for Q1 - ROUND SEVEN of the FIA World Rallycross Championship.


Situated within turns 10 to 15 of the 4.6km Formula 1 circuit, the World RX track at Barcelona is 1,135km long and consists of 60% tarmac and 40% gravel. It uses parts of the F1 track in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. A significant change as a safety improvement since last year, the inside of rallycross turn three – the long right-hander in the first gravel section – is now lined by a steel guard rail which replaces the tyre wall previously used.

What to look out for:

Turn One: Like the previous round in Latvia, Barcelona's first turn on the rallycross circuit has a funnel-like effect. It's only used on the first lap before joining the main track but as a high-radius corner a few hundred metres after the start. Expect plenty of nudging between drivers trying to get the holeshot.

Joker exit: The fastest part of the circuit is the back straight, which runs between turns 12 and 13 of the F1 track in the reverse direction. While those on the regular lap have track position and the inside line, cars exiting the joker have a huge momentum advantage with higher corner exit speed. Look out for bold around-the-outside passes here!


2015 - Petter Solberg 

2016 - Mattias Ekström.

2017 - Mattias Ekström.

2018 - Johan Kristoffersson.

2019 - Timmy Hansen. 

2020 - ?

BROADCAST TIMES and SCHEDULE for Rounds 7 & 8 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona (CET):

The livestreams for the events will be carried on the official World RX Facebook page and YouTube channel:


Round Seven (17 October 2020)

Free Practice: Saturday 8:30 am

Q1: 10:20 am

Q2: 11:50 am

Q3: 13:40 pm

Semi-Finals and Final: 16:00 pm to 18:00 pm

Round Eight (18 October 2020)

Warm-Up: 8:30 am

Q1: 9:30 am

Q2: 10:50 am

Q3: 12:40 pm

Semi-Finals and Final: 15:00 pm to 17:00 pm

Written By - Junaid Samodien

Thursday 15 October 2020

Team Hansen hopes to "close the gap" with updates in Barcelona.

Defending team champions Team Hansen returns to Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona where they claimed a double podium in 2019 and will hope to replicate that result once more this weekend. 

It's been a season of highs and lows for the Hansen's who hoped to start the season as strongly as they had ended it in 2019, but things didn't go their way from round one. But there was some light at the end of the tunnel with Kevin Hansen securing the teams best result of the season, a second-place finish at round two of the championship in Sweden followed by two third-place finishes for reigning champion Timmy Hansen, but the team will hope to claim there first win of the season in Barcelona, Spain. 

As in 2019, the team has struggled with grip issues on low abrasion track, and they often excelled on high grip tracks, but during the Latvian-Barcelona "break" the team have been flat out testing in an attempt to find some much-needed improvements. 

"We've been pushing really hard with our testing programme since Latvia. We want to be winning races this year so we're pushing the limits beyond what we'd normally do, running our equipment for much longer than usual to make sure we get it right. But I like this level of commitment we're taking, which of course carries some risk with it," Timmy Hansen said. 

"I've conducted many rallycross tests over the years and the results we got out of our test last week were some of the best we've ever had. I'm very excited to be coming to Barcelona with this fresh approach we've got and the multiple updates we've brought with us."

Barcelona represents a strong opportunity for the team to score its best result of the 2020 season to date, having been the site of a 1-2 finish for Timmy and Kevin last April. The 1-2 finish last year meant the Hansen brothers would join an exclusive club alongside the Schumacher and McRae families in having siblings score a 1-2 finish in an FIA championship event.

While Johan Kristoffersson has been the benchmark this season, Timmy hopes that the multiple updates they have will assist them in closing the gap to the double World Champion this weekend. 

"I'm feeling optimistic but the only way to know how much difference it's going to make is once we're up against the stopwatch at a race weekend. The car does feel drastically different, in a positive way, so my hope is that this is the step we've been looking for," Hansen adds.

"There are so many good things going for us at this track, considering our history of results here and the updates we're bringing, so I hope that will close the gap enough for us to win some races this year."

In the lead-up to the World RX of Catalunya this weekend, both Team Hansen drivers have been quite busy. Timmy has been hard at work testing updates to the team's Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar, and testing the Spark Odyssey 21 E-SUV for Andretti United Extreme E team, while Kevin made his rally raid debut with the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team at last week's Andalucía Rally, finishing fourth in the SSV class.

"While Timmy was testing I was taking on a great new adventure in Andalucía, racing a buggy with the Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team. It's the most fun thing I've done all year and I'm so glad I was given the opportunity to try it out," Kevin said.

"But now I'm switching back to the complete opposite of rally raid, with short racing on a circuit. This is my job, my passion, my life. It's been a month now since we were last in the 208 Supercar, so I can't wait to get the rallycross feeling back."

While Team Hansen has had good results in recent years at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, on the 1.135KM track. Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen are both seeking their first wins of the 2020 season and will hope that the new updates will bring them the desired results. 

"We had a great result here last year but of course, we can't take anything for granted, considering how strong our competition is. But we haven't been servicing the cars and sleeping since Riga. We've been doing testing and we've now got some updates on the cars that have shown positive signs," team boss Kenneth Hansen, said. "If those signs are as good as our first impressions suggest, this could be a good weekend for us."

Kenneth Hansen confirmed that the team focused on finding different set-up options, tweaks to the chassis and engine, and optimizing the set-up of the dampers in hope of finding some much-needed performance. 

"There were limits on how much we could test due to factors like the weather but we've done several test days with different set-up options, tweaks to the chassis and engine, and further optimizing the set-up of our Öhlins dampers," he said.

"The plan is simple: to be battling for wins again. Let's see what happens this weekend."

Written By - Junaid Samodien.

UNKORRUPTED withdraws from Barcelona double-header.

PHOTO CREDIT: GC Kompetition.
GC Kompetition has on Wednesday announced that the UNKORRUPTED team has been withdrawn from the Barcelona double-header this weekend. 

After redeveloping the team's Renault Clio R.S. RX in the off-season. With updates including the installation of the ORECA Megane spec engine, new BOS dampers, and significant work on the weight distribution. The team had high expectations heading into the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship. 

In a season preview video, the team highlighted weight reduction and the ability of the Clio R.S.RX to brake a lot later due to it's lighter weight, however, the first race of the season was a true reality check for the French squad with only Rokas Baciuska progressing to the semi-finals, but that's where the semi-final appearances would end. 

Kevin Abbring entered the fray in Finland but struggled to get to grips with the Clio R.S. RX sliding sideways on a few occasions and only bringing home a 13th-place finish. 

It was back to the drawing board heading into the Latvian double-header which saw the team run different set-ups and differential changes. The team also announced that they would use the Riga double-header as a test event to gather as much data as possible for a pre-Barcelona test, but following the results, GCK made the decision to withdraw the team from the Spanish double-header this weekend. 

"At GCK, we've made the decision to withdraw the UNKORRUPTED team from the upcoming FIA World Rallycross Championship event in Barcelona," the team's statement said. 

"Following additional test sessions after Riga RX, we have found significant issues that cannot be addressed in time to be race-ready."

"While we're not known to shy away from adversity or give up, this decision is the safest and best thing to do at the moment. We appreciate your support through this and our drivers and team will continue to work hard to bring you exciting race action in the future." 

Rokas Baciuska took to social media to explain the reasoning behind UNKORRUPTED's withdrawal: "So sorry, but #unkorrupted team decided not to participate in Barcelona race. Since the car is just not competitive, I don't see the point in rating. My goal is not to pull back."

Written By: Junaid Samodien