Progress at Loheac

2015-09-08

Swedish rallycross team Marklund Motorsport finished fourth in the semi-finals at the ninth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Loheac in France, in front of 75,000 spectators (06 September) and showed a significant improvement in pace throughout the weekend.

Finnish star Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen qualified for the semi-finals in his Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar and only just missed out on a place in the final by finishing fourth after he experienced a minor problem. Heikkinen had started the day well with third fastest time in heat three on Sunday morning. Double Junior World Rally Champion PG Andersson ran inside the top ten for the majority of the weekend but made a mistake in the penultimate corner of his heat four race and qualified 13th, one place away from the semi-finals.

Heikkinen was pleased to make the semi-finals and feels the pace of the Volkswagen Polo RX has taken a significant step forward. “Things are getting better. There were so many guys here that could have made it into the final. I think we have done some more improvements and taken more steps. We need to keep doing that and we will not be far away at all at the next race. We just need to find a few tenths. It’s an amazing feeling to race in front of so many people,” said Heikkinen, who is looking forward to the brand new circuit at Barcelona in Spain for the next event. “For me, the new tracks work very well, it’s really good that nobody has been there before. It’s a big challenge and I think we can be fast there.”

Andersson was disappointed not to make the semi-finals after his heat four mistake, due to the competitive nature of the event in France. “After heat three I was in 12th and thought it was looking okay. In heat four I made mistake in the long right-hander and lost the right line, came out on the dust and was wide into the next corner. I lost about 1.5 seconds,” said Andersson. “If I had been five tenths quicker it would have been enough, so that is annoying. It was in my hands and I made a mistake. It’s very tight, especially in between seventh to 15th.”

Marklund Motorsport team principle Michael Schneider thinks the team proved in France that they had the pace to run at the front for the remainder of the World RX season. “We have improved a lot, we saw that at the last event in Norway and again here. We showed that from the first free practice until the semi-final. We had a small issue in the semi-final so Topi could only follow the others but not push as hard any more. We will do more testing before Barcelona and we have some more updates in the pipeline. We are going in the right direction,” said Schneider. “What happened to PG shows the field is very competitive, if he would have finished ahead of Larsson in the last race, it would have been ninth for him, but that’s how it is.”

The next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Barcelona, Spain (September 19–20).

France World Rallycross Final Result

01 Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208)
02 Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3)
03 Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Citroen C4)
04 Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo)
05 Mattias Ekström (Audi S1)
06 Robin Larsson (Audi A1)

07 Toomas Heikkinen (Volkswagen Polo)
13 PG Andersson (Volkswagen Polo)

 

FIA World Rallycross Championship drivers standings

01 Petter Solberg 219
02 Timmy Hansen 182
03 Johan Kristoffersson 156
04 Andreas Bakkerud 152
05 Davy Jeanney 146
06 Mattias Ekström 139
07 Reinis Nitiss 123
08 Toomas Heikkinen 109
09 Robin Larsson 76
10 Timur Timerzaynov 68
11 PG Andersson 67

 

FIA World Rallycross Championship teams standings

01 Peugeot Hansen 328
02 Ford Olsbergs MSE 275
03 SDRX 244
04 Marklund Motorsport 192
05 VW Team Sweden 182
06 EKSRX 156