World Rallycross Montalegre: Nitiss holds surprise overnight lead
|By Hal Ridge||Saturday, May 3rd 2014, 16:57 GMT|
Supercar debutant Reinis Nitiss heads the order after the first two heats at round one of the World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre in Portugal.
Nitiss' OlsbergsMSE team-mate Andreas Bakkerud is second overnight ahead of the Marklund Motorsport pairing of Topi Heikkinen and Anton Marklund.
Reigning European champion Timur Timerzyanov was fastest in heat one in the barely tested Hansen-run Peugeot 208.
He went quickest again in heat two, but was disqualified following first corner contact with Petter Solberg that put the former World Rally champion out of the race.
That left Nitiss on top overnight, to his surprise and delight.
"This is unbelievable. Really, really unbelievable," said Nitiss. "We have done some good testing, but the speed of these cars still surprises me, everything happens a lot faster than in Super1600.
"I can't believe that we are fastest, but it shows that when the car is good we can do well, and the car is really good."
Jacques Villeneuve got caught up in traffic in his first heat race, and was then slowed to a crawl in heat two with a puncture.
The Canadian sits 14th overnight and will need to climb at least two places by the end of heat four to qualify for the semi-finals.
Villeneuve's Albatec team-mate Andy Scott had a good day despite a broken exhaust in heat one. He sits seventh overall heading into day two.
Koen Pauwels provided the surprise of the day, a pair of constant heat times putting the Belgian driver fifth overall.
Brit Liam Doran had a frustrating day, not even starting a race with technical troubles before heat one and missing the start of his second heat.
Russian rallycross newcomer Nikita Misyulya heads the order in Super1600. Ulrik Linnemann would have been top, but although fastest in both heats he was given a penalty in heat one for missing the joker lap.
Volvo C30 driver Daniel Lundh is top in TouringCar, while Sebastien Eriksson was fastest in RX Lites.
Overnight standings: Pos Driver Team/Car 1. Reinis Nitiss Olsbergs Ford 2. Andreas Bakkerud Olsbergs Ford 3. Topi Heikkinen Marklund VW 4. Anton Marklund Marklund VW 5. Koen Pauwels Pauwels Ford 6. Alexander Hvaal Solberg Citroen 7. Andy Scott Albatec Peugeot 8. Alexander Theuil Theuil Citroen