Trois-Rivieres World RX: Bakkerud in firm title contention with win

Andreas Bakkerud lifted himself into the World Rallycross Championship title fight with a first victory of the season at Trois-Rivieres

Bakkerud started the final in Canada from pole position thanks to a lights-to-flag victory in the second semi-final, and repeated that feat in the main event to score his first win since the Argentina round in 2016.

The Audi driver capitalised when Niclas Gronholm, who had dominated the first day of the event, made a poor start from pole in the first semi-final and did not make the final.

That meant as the next-highest qualifier, Bakkerud claimed pole, which the Audi S1 campaigner converted into an early lead to head Janis Baumanis and Timur Timerzyanov on the opening lap.

While Baumanis applied pressured on the first tour, the Latvian driver dropped away from Bakkerud as he defended his position on lap two from Kevin Hansen, who had started on row three having dragged his Peugeot into the final from ninth at the end of qualifying.

Hansen served the joker on lap three, arriving at the joker merge side-by-side with Anton Marklund - whose GCK Renault Megane was forced into the concrete wall on the outside and out of the race.

A lap later, while Baumanis took his compulsory joker on the loose-surface section, Hansen spun his points-leading Peugeot - which appeared to have lost drive from its front wheels - allowing Timerzyanov to climb into a podium position.

Untroubled up front, Bakkerud took his joker on the sixth lap and rejoined clear of the pack to claim the victory.

That result moved Bakkerud into second in the standings - seven points off the lead - at the expense of Timmy Hansen.

The Swede made an uncharacteristic mistake in Q2 by going off and hitting a tyre wall on his own, then got caught in contact between Bakkerud and Timerzyanov at the first corner in his Q4 race.

Later in the same encounter, Liam Doran had a half spin due to a puncture in front of Hansen and Timerzyanov that meant the three were temporarily stuck otgether on track and lost time.

Hansen came off worst, as his Peugeot suffered front suspension damage, and he did not make it into the semi-finals.

GCK had two of its Renault Meganes in a World Rallycross final for the first time, with team owner and driver Guerlain Chicherit twice setting second-fastest times in qualifying.

Chicherit was slowed by an issue in the main race and finished fourth, passing the ailing Kevin Hansen in the closing stages.

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