Mettet (B) – Six rounds of World RX, six winners! Toomas ‘Topicross’ Heikkinen is the new name on the list after winning the Belgian round of the championship. With the oldest driver on the podium only 25 years old (Kristoffersson) it’s clear that the youngsters ran this weekend’s World RX. Youngest guy on the podium? Timmy Hansen, being second overall and 22 years old.
Duval misses out on finals
What started out as a clouded but dry day in Belgium, ended up a wet race during heat 4. Difficult conditions or not, if local hero François Duval wanted a spot in the finals, this is where he had to do it. With excitement coming towards him from the public, he gave it his best. They got to see a Duval that was literally pushing his self and one of his fellow competitors to the limit. The contact helped him gain a place, but it still wasn’t enough. Even a last minute position change at the finish line brought some extra hope. The crowd was cheering him as he went back to the paddock, but soon Duval had to find out that the race was over for the day. No finals..
Solberg in, Solberg out
Henning Solberg already had the same problem as Duval for missing a heat finish. Yet another flat tyre ruined heat 3, but Henning took his revanche in heat 4 by posting a fifth time onto the timeboards in proper rainy conditions.. He was only just beaten by brother Petter by half a second. Petter however, did make it to the finals, as well as Pontus Tidemand.
Before the finals it’s still a VW 1, 2, 3 with Heikkinen, Marklund and Kristofferson. But the excitement is only just started!
Nitiss could still save it
In the semi-finals the twelve best drivers of the weekend lined up. Amongst them World RX leader Nitiss, one of the few drivers that failed to finish one of the heats, but managed to score enough points to make it to semi-finals. That however was the end station making it a good opportunity for Petter ‘Hollywood’ Solberg to take over the lead in the general championship standings.
Car failures for WRC stars
It was Heikkinen taking the early lead into the final of the supercars, but as ‘Topi’ took an early joker, Petter Solberg took the lead. It was looking very promising for the WRC stars as Pontus Tidemand was placed second overall at that time. Promising, but at the same time worrying as Solberg’s car looked not straight on the wheels. But he isn’t the only one in trouble. “First Petter got a problem with the right rear, I don’t know what, then I almost passed him and my car was stopping the engine. That’s life!” stated Pontus Tidemand. So Tidemand on the edge of a podium and fell off. What with Solberg? As the rounds progressed Solberg’s car looked more worrying. A clear suspension problem and a race that was a few laps too long for Solberg. Heikinnen took the advantage and took the win founded on own speed. Small WRC star positive? It’s Petter Solberg that takes the overall lead in the standings after 6 rounds! He leads over Nitiss and Heikkinen.
Only satisfied faces on the podium. Heikkinen in first place stated “I’m very thankful to my team – they have made such a huge effort and the car is excellent”. The man with a story to tell however was Timmy Hansen. He couldn’t believe what was happening in the final. ““The final didn’t go to plan, I think I was last on the first corner and then I made a mistake and dropped even further but the next few laps I just went flat out and was right behind Topi at the end.” said Hansen. Last man on the podium, Kristoffersson would have already been happy with his spot in semi final. Mettet RX being only his second World RX outing, made his podium position look extra strong.
In Super 1600 the win went to the small Twingo of Baumanis, while the Touringcar win stayed in Belgium with Baelus (Volvo C30) taking the win. The next round is 7 and 8 August, the first overseas round in Canada, home of Jacques Villeneuve!