Victory for Rustad in EuroRX

2015-06-23

Marklund Motorsport endured a weekend of bad luck at the fifth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the Estering in Germany.

Volkswagen Polo RX drivers Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen and PG Andersson set a series of competitive lap times throughout the weekend but were unable to convert the pace into semi-final qualifying positions. Heikkinen was fifth fastest in the first free practice but experienced a technical problem before the start of the first heat and missed his race, meaning he had to start in the first race of heat two with the track at its dirtiest. The Finn was unable to recover the qualifying positions required to make it into the semi-finals.

Heikkinen ended the event 13th, just missing out by on a semi-final start. “The weekend was bad for us really. We had a really good practice, so that was a good start to the weekend, but it was really bad luck before the first heat where we had a problem. Then I was in the first race for the next heat and it was really wet conditions,” said Heikkinen. “I think we need to focus race by race now, the car feels good and I think we can get a good result in at the next round in Holjes.”

Andersson finished the weekend in Germany 14th, one place behind teammate Heikkinen. His event was hampered by crashes and poor starts. “I caused my problems myself this weekend. I had one good start and three quite bad starts in the heats. When I was slow off the start line I got caught in some battles where I shouldn’t have been, so that was the biggest problem. The car felt good but I broke the steering in the first corner in the third heat and had no time, so that’s what put me out really. We have to fight back and be strong in Holjes,” said the former Junior World Rally Champion.

The Estering event was also the second round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship, which Norwegian Tommy Rustad won, driving his Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo RX run together with HTB Racing. Rustad set times good enough to be second overall in the World RX standings after four heats, and claimed maximum European Championship points through the weekend. Rustad is now just two points off the EuroRX championship lead. “I’m very happy. The last time I won in a European Championship race was in 1992, driving Martin Schanche’s car, so to win is a great feeling. I’m very satisfied with the pace – the car is working very well and we’ve found a setup that suits me,” said Rustad, who will also race at the next round of World RX in Sweden. “If everything works as it did this weekend, I think I can get to the final at Holjes – that would be really good.”

Marklund Motorsport team manager Michael Schneider felt that the team had the pace in Germany with the Volkswagen Polo RX and will now focus on the next event in Sweden, which takes place in just two weeks. “We were unlucky here with the first heat draw lottery and then again with Topi’s problem before the first heat. Had he just been able to move a meter away from the start line, he would have been in the semi-finals and it would have been a completely different story. The track changed a lot between the first and last races in the heats and that worked against us. Topi always did what he could in the races he was in but the conditions were better in the later races. PG had two crashes, which didn’t help us, but Tommy did a perfect weekend. He’s shown the potential of the car here and we are really looking forward to the team’s home race in Sweden where we hope to have all three cars in the semi-finals.”

The next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Holjes, Sweden (3-5 July).

 

Germany World Rallycross Final Result: 

1 Davy Jeanney (Peugeot 208)

2 Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3)

3 Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208)

4 Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo)

5 Tord Linnerud (Volkswagen Polo)

6 Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Fiesta)

13 Toomas Heikkinen (Volkswagen Polo)

14 PG Andersson (Volkswagen Polo)

 

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings:

 1 Petter Solberg 138

2 Johan Kristoffersson 103

3 Andreas Bakkerud 88

4 Timmy Hansen 79

5 Davy Jeanney 77

6 Reinis Nitiss 77

7 Toomas Heikkinen 63

8 Mattias Ekstrom 61

9 PG Andersson 50

 

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings:

1 Ford OlsbergsMSE 165

2 SDRX 162

3 Team Peugeot-Hansen 156

4 VW Team Sweden 142

5 Marklund Motorsport 113

6 EKS 89

 

 Germany European Rallycross Final Result:

1 Tommy Rustad (Volkswagen Polo)

2 Jerome Grosst-Janin (Peugeot 208)

3 Fabien Pailler (Peugeot 208)

4 Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Citroen C4)

5 Joni-Pekka Rajala (Saab 93)

6 Jonathan Pailler (Peugeot 208)

 

FIA European Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings: 

1 Jerome Grosst-Janin (Peugeot 208) 55

2 Tommy Rustad (Volkswagen Polo) 53

3 Ole-Christian Veiby (Volkswagen Polo) 40

4 Frode Holte (Hyundai i20) 33

5 Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Citroen C4) 32

6 Joni-Pekka Rajala (Saab 93) 32