WRX Norway: Marklund claims first series win at suddenly wet Hell

Double European Rallycross champion Anton Marklund claimed a maiden World Rallycross victory as conditions suddenly turned torrential at the Norwegian round at Hell

WRX Norway: Marklund claims first series win at suddenly wet Hell

Heavy rain hit the Lankebanen circuit minutes before the semi-finals started, which rendered event-long tyre strategies useless as all 12 cars switched onto wets.

After following his day one performance with another fastest time on Sunday morning to top the Intermediate classification on his return to the series, Niclas Gronholm started from pole position in semi-final one, the first drenched race of a weekend that had been baked in sunshine.

He overcame the conditions in a tense encounter to secure pole for the final, where he was joined by a semi-final two winner Liam Doran.

The race to the first corner in semi-final one had been won by Guerlain Chicherit from row three, but the GCK team owner was spun by contact in the low-grip braking zone.

Doran got the best launch in semi-final two and dived straight into the joker, won the race and lined up on the front row for the final.

In the main event, despite a first row featuring lots of rubber making it extra-slippery in the wet, Doran made another good start and headed straight for the joker, but it was row two starter Kevin Abbring, making his WRX debut, who took the lead by taking a wide line at Turn 1.

Behind, polesitter Gronholm dropped to third after a tussle with Kevin Hansen through Turns 1 and 2, as Doran led Marklund and Baumanis through the joker.

Abbring led up front and started to gap Hansen and a fired-up Gronholm, the Finn trying everything he knew to get by the Swede's Peugeot 208, while behind Marklund hassled Doran as he had throughout the second semi-final.

For the first four laps, Doran and Marklund closed on the leading trio before Abbring ducked into the joker on lap five and plummeted down the order.

On the main lap inside the joker, Gronholm and Hansen made contact, with both getting sideways and almost losing position, while Doran backed out of the throttle into Turn 2, knowing the pair ahead still had to take the joker.

But, going down the hill to Turn 3, as Doran's Audi S1 suffered a technical issue, Marklund dived up the inside and moved into third, which became first when the leaders took their joker on the final tour.

Hansen and Gronholm returned to the main circuit in second and third, with Gronholm fending off Janis Baumanis to the finish as Marklund crossed the finish line to claim his maiden win.

Abbring ended his first event fifth and Doran made it to the end in sixth.

Timmy Hansen continues to lead the drivers' championship standings from his brother Kevin.

After the final, Hansen was given a one-second penalty by the stewards for pushing Gronholm and gaining an advantage.

The penalty swapped their positions, with Gronholm now second and Hansen third.

It is reverse of the scenario in the opening round of the season at Yas Marina, where Gronholm lost a maiden WRX win after being deemed to have pushed Hansen in the final.

Gronholm also received a reprimand in the Norwegian final for making contact with the rear of Hansen's Peugeot during the race.

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About this article

Series World Rallycross
Drivers Anton Marklund
Author Hal Ridge
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