FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
RD4: KOUVOLA RX - FINLANDE
A round of comebacks for the Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel
RD 4 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship saw the Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel put down some epic comebacks as Liam Doran fought his way from a p17 to a p14 overall, having posted the 5th fastest time in Q3 with a fantastic race win following a Q2 DNF as a result of a broken wheel bearing. Meanwhile, Andreas Bakkerud bagged a spot in the final having fought through contact in the semis to finish the race event in 6th.
Following a p7 and p9 in the morning’s warm up on the Finnish track, which had transformed entirely from Saturday’s race conditions as a result of rain overnight, Doran and Bakkerud lined up together for Q1 of round 4 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship with Doran the only one on slicks while the rest of the grid raced on wet tires. Bakkerud raced through into p2 behind Ekstrom while Doran slotted into p4, positions both of them retained through to the finish line.
Despite some challenges with traction at the start, Q2 saw Bakkerud put down a great run boldly overtaking Hansen on the last lap to finish in 3rd.
Meanwhile, Doran put down an incredible performance fighting into the lead of his Q2 and overtaking two cars in the process before disaster struck in the form of a broken, front right wheel bearing, which resulted in a DNF. Never one to give up, Q3 saw Doran fighting back - a race that had him shoot into the lead to take the win. Despite the track evolving further in the following races, he posted the 5th fastest time of the qualifier and moved up into p14 overall.
Meanwhile, Q3 had more race battles in store for Andreas who pushed into 2nd into the first corner and continued to defend his position to cross the finish line ahead of Timmy Hansen with the 2nd fastest time of the qualifier bagging him a solid semi-final spot.
Following contact in the semi, Bakkerud finished in 4th, however, a 5-second penalty to Rytkonen pushed him up into p3 and secured the Norwegian the coveted spot in the final.
The final didn’t quite go Bakkerud’s way as his Megane’s windscreen wipers succumbed to the thick mud and Bakkerud raced the remaining laps blindly to finish the race event in 6th.
Q1 P13 / Q2 P18 / Q3 P5
“Happy with that clean last run today. I think it showed that the car and I have the pace to perform, we just haven’t been able to put it fully together yet and perform as a pair. We changed the car’s set up throughout the day and you could definitely feel the difference in the last qualifier.”, Liam commented.
P6 IN FINAL
Q1 P5 / Q2 P11 / Q3 P2
“Overall, we’ve made many, many steps in the right direction - we didn’t have any big technical issues but the super tricky conditions impacted our overall performance. We’re proud to have put the car into the final to fight against 5 top drivers and this is where I think we should play all the time. Considering the quickly changing conditions, I think we tactically played our cards right but had some small issues in the semi-finals and finals, which we need to analyse further and work on ahead of Riga. I have full confidence that we will be spraying champagne at the end of the day there.”, Bakkerud added.
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