EKSTROM STOPS KRISTOFFERSSON, WINS ON DAY TWO OF NESTE WORLD RX OF RĪGA
Neste World RX of Rīga
Neste World RX of Rīga, round six of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, concluded today in the CSDD Biķernieki circuit. After a thrilling battle in the final, Mattias Ekstrom came out on top, beating his main rival for the title, Johan Kristoffersson. Latvian driver Reinis Nitišs finished the event in thirteenth place, while Jānis Baumanis was second in his debut in electric rallycross series Projekt E.
Mattias Ekstrom (KYB Team JC) got off to a great start on Sunday’s round of Neste World RX of Rīga. After winning both Q1 and Q2, he was also leading the intermediate classification. Ekstrom continued his dominance, winning his semi-final and following that with a victory in the final as well, after managing to keep yesterday’s winner Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo GTI RX) behind him in an exciting battle. Robin Larsson, Ekstrom’s teammate in KYB Team JC, managed to reach the third step of the podium, beating Timmy Hansen, Niclas Gronholm, and Kevin Hansen.
Reinis Nitišs had an eventful day. After contact with Krisztian Szabo shortly after the start, the Latvian driver’s ESmotorsport prepared Skoda Fabia Evo RX hit the wall. Thanks to a different Joker lap strategy, Nitišs managed to regain one position, giving him the thirteenth fastest time in Q1, which was followed by an eleventh place in Q2. Getting off the line quickly was a problem throughout the day and was the case again in Q3, so Nitišs had to settle for thirteenth place overall in Neste World RX of Rīga.
Reinis Nitišs: “I believe that today showed our actual pace on track and reflected the reality. There was no way to get a better result. It is not like I missed the semi-final because I got unlucky or made a mistake. Both I and the team understand the situation – Rīga was the first competitive outing of the season. Before the event, we had only two days of testing, so the event was also used to try out some things. Tomorrow, we will stay here for the official tests, as we are all ready to do a bit more work. To battle for the top positions, it is important to be around and see what others are doing. If you miss half a year, the others make huge steps forward and it is very difficult to catch back up. Thank you to the spectators who came to the event in both the grandstands and standing room area. Reaching the semi-final yesterday was more than we expected and being in third place for one and a half laps gave me a fantastic emotional boost for both days of the event.”
The Projekt E event also concluded today. In Q3, Jānis Baumanis damaged the suspension of his Ford Fiesta ERX in the first corner and had to settle for fourth place. After a fantastic start, he did manage to get in the lead of Q4, but Cyril Raymond chose a different Joker strategy and came out on top by less than half a second. In the final, Raymond, driving a Citroen C3 ERX, used the inside line provided by having pole position to his advantage, and then maintained his lead throughout the run, with Baumanis concluding his Projekt E debut in second place.
Jānis Baumanis: “Before the final, we had an idea of what was going to happen. Both I and Cyril had saved a set of new tires for the final. I had quietly hoped that he would use these tires in one of the previous heats, but his strategy was the same as mine. He got into the lead at the start, and I could not get close to him after that. Anyhow, it was a good battle. After the finish, I did a few donuts for the fans, I hope they enjoyed it. I am happy to be the first and only driver to have driven in, and been on the podium of, all the currently active World and European Rallycross Championship classes. Lots of improvements can still be made on the car, but it was really fun to see what it is capable of already.”
The FIA European Rallycross Championship for Supercar had a thrilling conclusion as well. Oliver Eriksson, driving a Ford Fiesta, managed to get into the lead and come away with a victory in the final, while the Volkswagen Polo of Sondre Evjen, running in second place, had lots of smoke coming out of it after contact with a wall. Still, the Norwegian managed to hold on to second place, after the drivers behind got slowed down due to another car spinning out on the racing line. Jean-Baptiste Dubourg (Peugeot 208) crossed the finish line in third place.
All Neste World RX of Rīga results are available HERE.
FIA World Rallycross Championship event Neste World RX of Riga 2020 is possible thanks to the support provided by the Rīga city council, event title sponsor Neste, and our partner Road Traffic Safety Directorate (CSDD) and supporter Pafbet.
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