Abu Dhabi World RX: Hansen leads Bakkerud after Q2
Driving an ex-works Peugeot 208 for his father Kenneth’s reformed team, Timmy Hansen set a brace of fastest times at Yas Marina to take the overnight lead in World Rallycross’ season opener.
The Swede won the last race of Q1 in front of Niclas Gronholm to better the time set by younger brother Kevin earlier in the session, then maintained track position, but only just, ahead of fellow title-favourite Andreas Bakkerud in their Q2 encounter.
With the Q2 race order reversed following a random draw - a new procedure for 2019 in a bid to alternate whether the slowest or fastest drivers from the previous run get the best track conditions - Timmy Hansen was given ample space in the run to the first corner by his brother, who had started alongside.
Kevin then lost track position to Gronholm and Bakkerud through the opening sequence – turns five, six and seven of the Formula 1 layout.
Bakkerud took his joker on the opening tour, but the older Hansen sibling covered him off with a lap three trip into the extra-route section and stopped the clock with a near identical time to the first run.
Having won his race in Q1 and been fifth fastest, a second place finish to Hansen in Q2 lifted Bakkerud into second overnight, with the racing going on into the evening in Abu Dhabi.
Kevin Hansen lies third with Gronholm fourth.
Double European Rallycross Champion Anton Marklund had a strong opening day of the campaign for GC Kompetition, winning both of his races with the Renault Megane to end up fifth. Double DTM Champion Timo Scheider ended up sixth.
Fastest in the early part of Free Practice, reigning Euro RX champion Reinis Nitiss dropped to second behind GRX stablemate Gronholm by the end of the early running, then was slowed by a puncture and a clutch problem in his Q1 race, leaving him 14th and slowest of those that made it to the finish line.
In Q2, Nitiss won the race to the first corner, had a clean run ahead of Supercar rookie Rokas Baciuska and struggling Brit Liam Doran to be third fastest and climb back to seventh in the overnight classification.
Super1600 champion Baciuska meanwhile impressed on his and the ES Motorsport team’s WRX debut with its Skoda Fabia, a solid 11th in Q1 followed by seventh in Q2 putting him ninth overall.
RX Cartel team driver Doran was slowed by issues with operating the anti-lag on the EKS Audi S1 in Q1, then had gear selection problems in Q2 which hampered his cause further, putting him 13th overnight.
Former triple European champion Timur Timerzyanov was twice slowed by slow punctures, while RX2 series graduate Guillaume De-Ridder had a torrid first day of WRX.
He missed Q1 due to a radiator issue with his GCK Academy Renault Clio, then battled with team mate Cyril Raymond in the opening corners of the final race of the day in Q2.
But he first slowed after the end of the third tour, thinking it was the last lap, and then stopped after the race with a pool of coolant under the French machine.
Standings after Q2:
|1||21||Timmy Hansen||Peugeot 208||50||50||100|
|2||13||Andreas Bakkerud||Audi S1||39||45||84|
|3||71||Kevin Hansen||Peugeot 208||45||38||83|
|4||68||Niclas Gronholm||Hyundai i20||42||40||82|
|5||92||Anton Marklund||Renault Megane RS||38||39||77|
|6||44||Timo Scheider||Seat Ibiza||40||33||73|
|7||6||Janis Baumanis||Ford Fiesta||36||36||72|
|8||15||Reinis Nitiss||Hyundai i20||30||42||72|
|9||14||Rokas Baciuska||Škoda Fabia||33||37||70|
|10||36||Guerlain Chicherit||Renault Megane RS||35||35||70|
|11||123||Krisztián Szabó||Audi S1||34||34||68|
|12||7||Timur Timerzyanov||Hyundai i20||37||31||68|
|13||33||Liam Doran||Audi S1||32||30||62|
|14||5||Pål Try||Ford Fiesta||26||32||58|
|15||113||Cyril Raymond||Renault Clio||26||28||54|
|16||42||Oliver Bennett||BMW Mini Cooper||31||31|
|17||96||Guillaume De||Renault Clio||29||29|
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