28 May 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Heikkinen and Foust help make World RX GB history at Lydden Hill

2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship, Great Britain: Heikkinen and Foust

The second round of the new 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship visited the home of the sport in the UK last weekend. Over 37 rallycross 600bhp Supercars visited Lydden Hill for the World RX of Great Britain round of the series.

Marklund Motorsport Polo RX drivers Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen and Tanner Foust finished fourth and fifth respectively in the exciting Supercar final, while Anton Marklund completed the semi-final in fourth place.

Heikkinen started the final from pole position after going fastest in the semi-final race. The Finn experienced power problems with his Polo, though, and had to settle for fourth place behind Ford Fiesta ST RX driver Andreas Bakkerud, who went on to emerge victorious overall at the 1.4-kilometre long British circuit.

Heikinnen started the final day of the meeting third overall and was fastest in his third heat. In his fourth heat he suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap, which out him in 26th place. But, despite the setbacks, the 23 year-old finished third after the heats and won his semi-final by waiting until the final lap to take his ‘joker’ lap.

‘I had a good start in my semi and my pace was good all the way. Petter Solberg and Andreas Bakkerud made their joker lap in the beginning but I waited until my last lap and kept ahead of them. My start in the final wasn’t perfect and I got stuck behind Robin Larsson’s Audi A1.

‘Then my engine started to lose power for some reason and I finished fourth. It’s obviously not the result I wanted after being fastest in the semi-final. But we are in a good position in the championship and ready for the next round,’ said Heikkinen.

Marklund meanwhile, fought back from a car fire in free practice on Saturday morning to reach the second semi-final where he just missed out on a final slot after contact with Davy Jeanney left his car with a damaged front-left wheel.

Circuit safety staff and Marklund Motorsport mechanics made sure he was up and running for the heats, but a crankshaft sensor failure in the second race held him back.

‘The guys did a fantastic job and managed to get the car on track for the first heat,’ said the 21-year-old Swede. ‘We did some small mistakes but still did the sixth time, which was something good to build on.

‘Unfortunately, a wire had been melted by the fire and that caused the crankshaft sensor to fail at the start of the second heat and I only had 5000rpm, which is about half the revs I should have been using. I drove as quickly as I could but it was too slow and there was nothing I could do,’ said a disappointed Marklund.

Foust was one of the so-called ‘wildcards’ at Lydden, and won at the circuit 12 months ago. He set on a charge on Saturday, winning two heats, but following a mix-up in his third heat he didn’t take his joker lap and received a 30-second penalty, leaving him seventh.

After being eliminated at the semi-final stage, Foust thought he would go no further until he was handed a late call-up to start the final when Reinis Nitiss was declared a non-runner due to a problem with his Ford Fiesta.

The American took his ‘joker’ lap on the opening lap of the final but contact with Petter Solberg left him fifth at the finish, with the Norwegian coming home one place behind.

‘I stalled at the start of my semi and there was no boost pressure in the turbo,’ reported Foust. ‘But I continued to push although when I finished fourth I thought that was it for me, which was the wrong assumption.

‘However, there wasn’t the time to refuel the car for the final and in the end we ran out of fuel and Topi passed me at the final corner. But fourth and fifth for Volkswagen is still a good result.’

Team Principal Jan Marklund was pleased with his team’s results, despite its many problems. ‘For the second race running there were two Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars in the final, which is proof of how competitive we are so early in the season.

‘Unfortunately we had some bad luck this weekend and there were many incidents that affected our results. For that reason I’m disappointed but we are still in a good position in the drivers’ and teams’ standings. We’ll be working even harder for the next race when I am confident we can achieve even better results.’

The third round of the championship will take place at Lånkebanen near Hell in Norway from 14-15 June. First though, the Marklund Motorsport supported by Volkswagen team will be in action again at the X Games USA event at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas from 5-8 June.

Heikkinen and Marklund will drive a pair of Polo RX Supercars – Heikkinen is the reigning Global RallyCross champion and X Games gold medallist.

As a footnote, PoloDriver.com was at Lydden Hill to take in the atmosphere and see the awesome machines that compete in this new, exciting and fearsome series of motorsport. After visiting last year’s European Rallycross Championship meeting at the same round, the weekend promised much for us and didn’t disappoint.

Seeing the cars up close was a privilege. The Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polos are gravel-eating monsters, with near-600bhp, four-wheel drive and body kits which look like caricatures. Similar to the Polo R WRCs in appearance, they are quite technically different.

Polos make numerous appearances, too, with Mk 4F 9N3 cars in the Super 1600 class and 6Rs in both the Super 1600 and Touring Car categories. And the noise! The noise of six World RX Supercars under starters orders on the grid is a cross between very angry wasps (x 1000) and shotguns (x 100) – truly scary.

The racing itself is fast, exciting, and brief, due to the short bursts of heats. That doesn’t detract from the spectacle, though, and the sight of a world-class rally-cum-touring car whizzing a few metres ahead past your nose is something to behold.

The joker lap which every driver must take in each race, adds even further excitement, and can vary the final results wildly. So, fast, exciting races with world class drivers in cars faster to 60mph than Formula 1 cars. It really is time to ask the question: who really does need F1?
Rich Gooding

2014 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

GREAT BRITAIN: FINAL RESULTS

1 Andreas Bakkerud, Olsbergs MSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST: 4m 25.428s
2 Robin Larrson, Bergs Fegen, Audi A1: 4m 25.969s
3 Andrew Jordan, olsbergs MSE AB, Ford Fiesta ST: 4m 26.817s
4 Toomas Heikkinen, Marklund Motorsport, Volkswagen Polo: 4m 31.798s
5 Tanner Foust, Marklund Motorsport, Volkswagen Polo: 4m 35.503s

6 Petter Solberg, PS 100% AB, Citroën DS3: 4m 37.885s

2014 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS


1 Andreas Bakkerud, 49
2 Petter Solberg, 46

3 Toomas Heikinnen, 44

4 Reinis Nitiss, 43

5 Anton Marklund, 26

2014 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 Ford Olsbergs MSE, 92
2 Marklund Motorsport supported by Volkswagen, 70

3 PS 100%, 55

[Images: www.rallycrossrx.com, Rich Gooding]

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