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Lydden European Rallycross: Tanner Foust wins season opener

Tanner FoustTanner Foust triumphed in the opening round of the European Rallycross Championship at Lydden on Monday.

The American started the six-car final from pole in his OMSE Ford Fiesta after winning the afternoon's opening semi.

He took full advantage of that fact to lead away from the line, his cause aided by fellow front-row starter Timur Timerzyanov electing to drive through the joker section - which all competitors must do at least once during each race - on the opening lap.

The reigning champion and winner of the second semi-final dropped to fourth as a result, but was still a threat to Foust until his left-front tyre punctured on lap three.

That left the Russian's Hansen Motorsport team-mate Timmy Hansen, second fastest in the opening semi, as the only other serious threat.

Having shadowed Foust for the first four laps, the Citroen DS3 driver's challenge faded when he had to take successive joker laps after being judged to have jumped the start.

Foust was therefore free to claim outright victory, ahead of Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme's Ford Focus and Davy Jeanney's Citroen C4.

Hansen, who had led the order heading into the semis, was fourth.

Former World Rally champion Petter Solberg fell victim to a puncture in his semi and could only finish fifth, missing out on the final.

Brother Henning, driving a Saab 9-3, overtook him late on, but missed out on a spot in the final as he came home fourth.

The elder Solberg was only the 14th-best driver in the heats, but secured a semi-final spot after the withdrawals of Alexander Hvaal, Liam Doran and Andreas Bakkerud before the opening semi.

Pos  Driver                    Car              Time           
 1.  Tanner Foust              OMSE Ford        4m23.844s 
 2.  Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme  Leppihalme Ford   + 4.392s
 3.  Davy Jeanney              JSA Citroen       + 6.265s
 4.  Timmy Hansen              Hansen Citroen    + 8.086s
 5.  Julian Godfrey            Godfrey Ford     + 11.143s
 6.  Timur Timerzyanov         Hansen Citroen    - 2 laps
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Hansen leads after qualifying heats
Hansen claims early Lydden lead