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World RX Spain: PSRX driver Solberg heads the order on first day

Volkswagen driver Petter Solberg continued the PSRX team's 2017 title-winning form by topping the order in the first day of the new season in Barcelona

With the usual format of the drivers being split into four races making up Q1, and then four races making up Q2, the first session was plagued by heavy rain, although it did ease for Q2.

Solberg was second fastest to ex-DTM racer Mattias Ekstrom in Q1.

Solberg then took the lead of the final race of the day in Q2 when leader Sebastien Loeb spun his Peugeot 208 halfway through the opening lap, and Ekstrom's team-mate, Andreas Bakkerud, dived into the joker lap at the first opportunity.

From there on in, Solberg led the race comfortably to set the fastest time to move into the top spot in the intermediate classification, as Ekstrom battled with Bakkerud.

Reigning champion and wet weather specialist Johan Kristoffersson had been third fastest in Q1, but was fifth and last of the runners in the final Q2 race on lap one.

He cleared the EKS duo when they jokered as Peugeot driver Loeb had his spin, then after he had jokered, Bakkerud re-passed Ekstrom at the final corner to seal second behind Solberg and ahead of Kristoffersson and Ekstrom.

At the end of the day, three of the most experienced drivers in the field, Solberg, Ekstrom and Kristoffersson, hold the top three positions in the order after their joint performances in Q1 and Q2.

Bakkerud had a consistent day to hold fourth as he debuts as an EKS Audi driver, while Team Peugeot runner Kevin Hansen recovered from a spin in Q1 to take third in Q2 and move to fifth overall.

STARD driver Janis Baumanis impressed with sixth in the overall classification in the Manfred Stohl-developed Ford Fiesta, despite being docked five seconds in race one for hitting a track marker.

Second in the Q2 timesheets was Timmy Hansen, older brother of Kevin. Timmy had retired with damage sustained in a Q1 impact with the barriers.

He rose to seventh in the overnight classification thanks to his Q2 time, four places ahead of team-mate Loeb.

The Frenchman was 17th and slowest in Q2, hampered by broken left-rear suspension, and is 11th overnight.

Behind Timmy Hansen, Olsbergs MSE's Robin Larson holds eighth overnight ahead of the new Prodrive built Renault Megane RS RX cars.

Jerome Grosset-Janin is the highest placed of the French driver pairing in ninth, his team-mate Guerlain Chicherit in the hunt for a semi-final start in 10th.

Behind Loeb in 11th was Niclas Gronholm, debuting the GRX Hyundai i20. Timur Timerzyanov - Gronholm's Hyundai team-mate - chased Bakkerud in their Q1 race but was slowed in Q2 traffic and lies 13th at the end of day one.

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