Two days, four qualifying races, and a Monster full house in the semi finals. That is the headlining news after the second day of racing at round two of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Hockenheim in Germany.As part of the ultimate circuit vs rally double-header, the World RX series touches down in support of the German Touring Car Championship – the DTM – and the action both on- and off-track has been epic so far.
All four M-Claw backed drivers; namely Petter Solberg, Liam Doran, Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud have qualified through to the third and final day of racing, by making the top-12 cut of drivers for the semi finals.
Reigning champion Petter Solberg gritted through a difficult opening day to finish Q1 and Q2 in an uncharacteristic seventh, having been plagued by mechanical issues. The Norwegian racer put in a scorching performance in Q3 to score maximum 50 points and top the timesheets. He was then forced out of Q4 after an impact with a rival on track broke his car’s suspension, and also left him with engine problems. He will start on the second row of semi-final two.
Liam Doran continued to stun the crowds with another awesome performance at the wheel of his JRM Racing Mini RX Super car. Despite a minor technical issue with his car’s handbrake, Liam finished his Q3 race in P4, before backing that up with a huge P3 overall position in his Q4 race. This ensured the British racer finished 4th out of 21 cars in the Q4 results, and the 40 points he earned pushed him up to P10 in the intermediate rankings. He is all set to line up on row three of the second semi-final.
The positive results continued at Hoonigan Racing Division, with Andreas Bakkerud and Ken Block having qualified for semi finals one and two respectively. Both drivers have had a rollercoaster of a weekend so far, battling mechanical issues almost as much as their on track rivals. Andreas will start on row three of the first semi final having placed 11th in the intermediate standings. Team mate Ken will take on semi-final two, after placing 12th in the intermediate standings, just six points behind Andreas.
The stage is set for an epic showdown at Hockenheim. Make sure you check out how it all goes down. Warm up is scheduled for 11am CET (10am GMT / 3am PST).
Petter Solberg – 6th
“It’s unbelievably tough out there, and this season isn’t going to be getting any easier. Every driver in the field is so strong, so we have to be smart and consistent if we are to get where we need to be. The car is fast and I am feeling good. Q3, we really showed our pace, I took maximum points, so that’s great. Unfortunately in Q4 we had some problems. I had a collision with Loeb which broke the suspension on my car; it was a very big hit. We also had engine issues during the race, and the impact finished the car off. We would have qualified fifth overall in the intermediate if we had finished the race in Q4. The damage could have been worse if I had carried on to the finish, so it’s better to minimize the problems. We will be ready to fight in the finals tomorrow, I am confident of that.”
Liam Doran – 10th
“It’s a mega feeling to reach the semis for the second event in a row and I think we’re going into them in a much stronger position than we did in Portugal. I had a couple of issues with the car in Q3 and that meant I had to drive in a different way. But when the team put those issues right for Q4, I found a big chunk of extra speed with the driving style I’d chosen to adopt. That put us in P4 which was an awesome feeling. I think we’ve found some great speed at just the right time and it’s a massive boost that I matched the times of the guys in front today. If I can carry that into the semis and drive just as hard tomorrow, you never know what could happen.”
Andreas Bakkerud - 11th
“I think I managed to keep a good flow on the driving today, and keep it cool when I needed to. I was really just trying to avoid the battles, and get a clean run, but its hard you know?! I love fighting on track, and it’s tough to resist getting drawn in. I had a driveshaft failure in Q3, which was such a shame because I made a strong start, and overall had really good pace. I didn’t know Petter was so close, and I think I left a little bit too much of gap going into the joker, so he did what any other driver would have and dived down the inside. After that I just wanted to keep pace with him, and then the differential broke. It was like driving a 600bhp front wheel drive car! Its sounds crazy but I actually enjoyed it a little bit, as driving front wheel drive took me back to Super1600. I’m just stoked that we have both cars in the semis, and we can battle on again tomorrow. We all know how rallycross finals go, and it’s going to get ugly tomorrow for sure!”
Ken Block – 12th
“It’s been one heck of day – hard to describe really. It’s been a rollercoaster ride. In Q3 I had a great battle with Robin Larsson, and I even felt like at points he was holding me back a little. Q4 was pretty solid too, considering there was a lot of fighting between other drivers in the race, I managed to keep it clean and bring the car home in one piece. However you look at it, it’s a great achievement to have two cars in the semi finals after only the second event. We are still in development mode, but this really shows we are pushing in the right direction. Checking out the DTM during the morning before the racing this evening has been awesome, but I’m really just looking forward to getting back in my own race car for the finals!”