Triple European Rallycross champion Timur Timerzyanov claimed his first win in the world championship, and the first for World Rally legend Marcus Gronholm's team, at Spa-Francorchamps' inaugural RX event.
Timerzyanov started on the second row of the grid for the final at the famous Belgian Grand Prix Formula 1 venue, but led after the opening corner when polesitter Andreas Bakkerud ran rallycross returnee Joni Wiman wide into the turn.
Though Bakkerud had resisted pressure from Timerzyanov through their semi-final, with the positions reversed in the final Bakkerud couldn't live with the GRX Hyundai's pace.
Timerzyanov led from the front, took his joker on the final tour and sailed to a popular win for himself and Gronholm's team.
Bakkerud's cause wasn't helped by contact from RX Cartel team-mate Liam Doran that sent his Audi S1 sideways on lap one when Doran sailed up the inside of Janis Baumanis into the Raidillon hairpin and touched the rear of his colleague's S1 ahead. Bakkerud survived to finish second.
Having been sent into the wall at the first corner and down to last, Timerzyanov's GRX team-mate Wiman passed Timmy Hansen when the Peugeot driver took his joker at the first opportunity, then cleared Baumanis when the Latvian took the extra route on lap two.
Baumanis dropped into a position-swapping battle through Spa's banked loose-surface final corner with Hansen, the Swede eventually coming out on top to finish fourth ahead of the STARD driver.
Wiman was able to take his joker on the fourth tour to maintain a podium position on his first World RX start since the Canadian round in 2015.
Behind Hansen and Baumanis, Doran made it to the end in sixth.
Timerzyanov's victory in his sixth World RX campaign, and the first time he has remained with the same team for two consecutive seasons, came in his 64th series start.
Bakkerud's second podium helped to lift the Norwegian back up the standings after his low scoring opening round in Abu Dhabi.
Championship leader Kevin Hansen went out of the event in the semi-finals after failing to pip Doran at the finish line for the final podium position, but maintained his position at the head of the standings.
Returning 2016 champion Mattias Ekstrom also went out in the semis, having been forced into the wall on the outside of the first corner and lost ground.
|1||Timur Timerzyanov||GRX Taneco Team||Hyundai||6||3m21.352s|
|2||Andreas Bakkerud||Monster Energy RX Cartel||Audi||6||2.002s|
|3||Joni Wiman||GRX Taneco Team||Hyundai||6||2.702s|
|4||Timmy Hansen||Team Hansen MJP||Peugeot||6||5.420s|
|5||Janis Baumanis||Team Stard||Ford||6||7.608s|
|6||Liam Doran||Monster Energy RX Cartel||Audi||6||16.373s|