MotoGP World Championship – Aragon Grand Prix

Morbidelli consolidates his leadership

With a fine eleventh place in Aragon, Franco Morbidelli consolidated his status as leader in the “Rookie of the Year” rankings. The good performances by Alex Marquez and Joan Mir in Moto2 moved them together into the top six.

The Races

Despite a penalty imposed during the practice test sessions that forced him to start from the back of the grid, Franco Morbidelli performed creditably on the Motorland circuit of Aragon. Fourteenth by the fifth lap and waiting in ambush behind Bradley Smith and Takaaki Nakagami, the Italian soon attacked to take eleventh place. A position he kept until the finish. His teammate, Thomas Lüthi, for many laps believed he was going to score his first points of the season. Unfortunately, the degradation of his rear tyre at the end of the race did not allow him to do better than seventeenth. In Moto2, Alex Marquez fought it out with Brad Binder before loosing pace in the last kilometres. “I attacked too early in the race: on this circuit, when you use the slipstream of your opponents, you can save your tyres,” said the former Moto3 world champion. “That was the problem. I am still happy I gave everything during I had the race even if I missed the podium at the finish.” Fourth under the checkered flag, Marquez finished two places ahead of his teammate, Joan Mir, who paid his modest fifteenth place on the starting grid in the race.

The Championship

Now with thirty-one points in his pocket, on the eve of the tour of the four overseas races of October Franco Morbidelli is 16th in the MotoGP championship and heads the “Rookie of the Year” ranking. In Moto2, Alex Marquez has dropped back to fifth place in the Championship, just ahead of Joan Mir. Two tiny points separate the two riders of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

The Background

A MotoGP team today means around twenty people. Among them are the “tyremen”, responsible, as their name suggests, for tyre management. At Marc VDS, their names are Nacho Lorenzana and Martin Zabala. To begin with, their tasks include the regular maintenance of the rims that must not cover more than 2000 km in the races. Checking, cleaning, tightening brake discs and pressure sensors … Every day, both of drive their rack to the Michelin tent where the tyres that their team has chosen for the day are mounted. Two hours before the motorcycles take the track, the “tyreman” starts to warm the wheels under electric blankets. Slick tyres are heated to ninety degrees, rain tyres to forty-five degrees. Then, throughout the day, the tyre pressure is controlled by the sensors placed on the rims. A pressure that must constantly be fine-tuned according to the temperature of the track, but also the weather conditions, the wind, the air temperature, and so on.

Lessons learned for the future

Despite once again being competitive, unfortunately the C3 WRC – like many of its rivals – suffered in this weekend’s brutal conditions, its habitual strength sorely tested by the constant damage caused by the incredibly rough stages.

THE STORY OF THE RACE

This was a weekend of firsts: the first Rally Turkey to be held at the new Marmaris hub in the championship and the first time that Craig Breen had led a WRC round. The Irishman was the quickest out of the blocks on Friday on the opening stage’s thirty-eight kilometres plus. His calm and measured approach ensured he then made it to the end of the morning loop in second place, just 6.3s behind the leader, closely followed by Mads Østberg in third, 8.2s off the pace and who had also made a fine start. The Norwegian had in particular set the second fastest time on SS3, just 2.1s behind the championship leader over almost twenty-two kilometres. However, despite taking great care to avoid the most substantial obstacles, both crews then suffered the misfortune of picking up punctures during the afternoon loop. Whilst Breen fell back to eighth position after two punctures, Østberg, still running fifth at the time, retired for the day when the rough conditions ended up breaking a suspension arm and a turbo failure meant Khalid Al Qassimi also had to call it a day. However, the roads proved to be even harder on Saturday’s leg for the new generation WRCs, the endurance of which had never been tested to this extent since their introduction last year. Unfortunately, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT did not escape unscathed. It has to be said that the roads broke up very quickly, unable to withstand the power of the WRCs, with sharp stones and other embedded rocks appearing on the surface. Mads Østberg had to stop with a turbo issue whilst Craig Breen, who had climbed back up to sixth overall despite his unfavourable road position (2nd), had to retire from the rally after his car burst into flames and burned out. The rally ended on a more positive note on Sunday, however, with three consecutive second fastest times for Mads Østberg, whilst Khalid Al Qassimi secured a few manufacturers’ championship points.

QUESTIONS FOR PIERRE BUDAR, CITROËN RACING TEAM PRINCIPAL

How would you assess this first outing in Turkey for the C3 WRC?

Well, it is certainly positive that the C3 WRC was fast again, despite the unprecedented nature of the stages. Right from the word go, both Mads and Craig were fighting for a podium place, with Craig even managing to win the longest and hardest stage of the rally. We were also right on the pace on Sunday, so clearly, the car has the performance level. Having said that, we nonetheless discovered during the weekend that the level of endurance demanded by this race was a lot greater than usual. The stresses placed on the cars were especially extreme and the roads, which were pretty rough to start with, broke up very quickly, something that our C3 WRC had not previously encountered. In these tough conditions, we also had to contend with some technical issues, which we had not had before. It’s true that we haven’t had a rally like this one, which is so hard on the cars, on the championship calendar for many years. However, we gathered a lot of information throughout the weekend. Using what we learned about the road surface here, added to the brand’s previous experience on events such as the Acropolis Rally or Safari Rally in Kenya, we already know how we can come back better prepared next time.

How would you assess the performance of the team?

I would like to pay tribute to the mechanics for the excellent work they did during each service, managing to fully repair and rebuild the cars in the very limited time available. They weren’t content to just work on the C3 WRC to which they had been assigned. They guys chipped in on the next car as soon as they had finished work on their assigned C3 WRC and an armband became available (limiting the number of people working on a car in service). I think that really shows just how united and together this group is.

HIGHLIGHTS

A new rally obviously means new pace notes must be taken in just two runs in recce, at a much reduced pace. With the longest stage of the rally (Çetibeli, 38.10km) – also regarded as the most formidable, daunting test – scheduled as the opener on Friday morning, it would become apparent very quickly who had worked well in recce…

And it was Craig Breen that produced a stunning drive to win the stage, confirming from the outset the very strong pace of the C3 WRC on this surface and the Irishman’s ability to adapt to new stages. Craig’s stage win also meant he led a WRC round for the first time in his short career. It was an almighty performance given the conditions, with constant changes in pace and road profiles, on perhaps the roughest surfaces seen in the WRC for a long time. The crews were not only forced to avoid the sharpest stones, but also contend with poor visibility caused by hanging dust on the stage.

Bol d’Or – Success stalemated

Success stalemated

Leading the way until two-and-a-half hours from the finish, the SRC Kawasaki team finally passed the finish line of the 82nd Bol d’Or in seventh position. A huge disappointment for Gilles Stafler’s men.

Last year, on the Castellet circuit, the Kawasaki #11 threw in the towel before the end of the first hour of the race. Randy de Puniet had been forced to retire during his first relay, while he was largely in the lead. This year,the Kawasaki SRC team were stalemated once again. Everything had started well for Gilles Stafler’s men. Taking the lead after setting a new track record of 1’54″007 during the practice test sessions, Randy de Puniet and Jérémy Guarnoni and David Checa, Kawasaki’s new rookie for the 2018/2019 season, were in good shape. Despite a small fuel outage of no consequence after three hours of racing, a change of saddle at the beginning of the night for a lighting problem, and a puncture a few hours later, Gilles Stafler’s team thought they were on the road to victory, being three laps ahead of the Honda FCC. Motorbike mechanics unfortunately decided otherwise. “I had a first warning before passing the handlebars to Jeremy,” said Randy de Puniet. “The shifter was not working properly and I was having trouble shifting gears.” Guarnoni had to go to the pits several times to allow the mechanics to identify the fault and to change the parts in question. In the end, the Kawasaki passed under the checkered flag of the 82nd Bol d’Or in seventh position, eleven laps behind the winner.

Superbike World Championship – Portimao

Rea, from record to record

For Jonathan Rea, the Portuguese weekend of the World Superbike championship resulted in a double six. Six straight wins in the championship and six victories in Portimao. The Kawasaki rider is really impressive.

The Races

With Jonathan Rea, even the most incredible victories seem to be disconcertingly easy. The Kawasaki rider is even better today than he was yesterday. An easy winner on Saturday afternoon, Rea made a point of honor of scoring a new success the next day despite his ninth place on the starting grid. After being stopped for a few laps behind his teammate, the Brit slipped out of Chaz Davies’ wake to bring to his World Superbike record to sixty-six wins. Fifth in the first race after qualifying in sixth place, Tom Sykes finished fifth the next day as well. On the side of the Pucetti team, Toprak Ragatlioglu finished eighth in the first race before falling in the second. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo made it to the top ten with a solid ninth place, just ahead of Hector Barbera who recently joined the Italian team.

The Championship

By leaving with a full bag of points again, Rea strengthened his position as championship leader in Portugal. With four hundred and twenty points on the clock, he is now one hundred and sixteen points ahead of Chaz Davies. Fourth overall, Tom Sykes has kept contact with Marc Der Mark who precedes him. In Supersport, Hikari Okubo has moved up to fifteenth place in the championship with only three races left.

The Background

Nothing and no one seems to be able to prevent Jonathan Rea’s triumphal march to a fourth World Championship title in a row. In Portugal, the Kawasaki rider left his opponents behind him. Easily the winner of the first race of the weekend, he went looking for a second success the next day against Chaz Davies ready to do anything to win in turn. In vain. Jonathan Rea had the last word, scoring on the Portimao circuit his seventh win in a row, the sixth since joining Kawasaki. After his two twin-wins in Laguna Seca and Misano, the Brit has added two new victories to his impressive series. He has already notched up twelve successes this season and could well be crowned champion again during the next event at Magny-Cours. “I had another amazing weekend thanks to the work of the entire team,” he said. “Once again, I had a great bike at my disposal.” The triple world champion knew how to ride it to perfection.

Sebastien Loeb scores another podium for Peugeot at RX Latvia

The 9th round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Latvia was extremely closely-fought: to the extent that the winning margin in one of the Qualifying races (Q1) was just 0.009 seconds – or 23 centimetres on track! In the end, it was another podium for Team PEUGEOT Total, with Sebastien Loeb taking 3rd position, his 3rd straight podium finish in Riga and 6th of the season so far. On top of that, all 3 PEUGEOT 208 WRX lined up together in the Final: a great achievement for PEUGEOT in only its 1st year in this complex discipline. Even if the Final race didn’t entirely go to plan for Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen, who finished 5th and 6th respectively, it was still a strong team showing, with a useful points haul. Loeb was the second-best points-scorer of the weekend, while Team PEUGEOT Total scored more points (45) than any other team in Riga. PEUGEOT Sport remains in line with its target of challenging for wins, and there is still plenty to hope for from the next adventure in the USA, in just 10 days.

QUOTE/UNQUOTE

 

Bruno Famin, PEUGEOT SPORT Director
“Despite a Saturday that was quite tricky for us, with a few incidents in the Quali 2 session, we were able to fight back on Sunday, with 2 strong performances in Quali 3 and Quali 4 this morning, which led to an extremely strong Semi-final: I will admit that we were quite proud of this achievement. The Final was less good, which characterises what was quite a mixed weekend for us in the end, with some positives and some negatives. On the positive side, we have seen once again that the speed of the car is very good, allowing Sebastien to claim his 6th podium from 9 events. On the other hand, it’s clear that we still have some work to do, as we expected in our very 1st year with a full factory programme on the FIA World Rallycross Championship. The launch off the line is still one of our weakest points. We will be applying ourselves to that task, diligently and humbly, over the coming weeks and months. Again, I send all my thanks to all the people involved in this project, who are working relentlessly behind the scenes.”

Sebastien Loeb, PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo #9 – 2nd in Riga
“The weekend went quite well: we made a good start right from Q1, then we struggled a bit more in Q2, hitting a barrier, which cost us some time. Q3 and Q4 today were especially good: I think we have a solid pace but the problem we have is that the 3 manufacturers here have nearly the same speed, so it’s very hard to make a difference on the track, and at the moment we’re not consistent enough at the race starts. Quite often I lose a place by the 1st corner, and that’s actually what happened in the Final today. But I’m happy to be back on the podium, of course! We just need to find a little bit more to be challenging for the victory and that’s going to be our objective between now and the end of the season. There aren’t any miracles in this sport, but you just have to work hard to understand how to improve. It’s definitely only a question of time, for the whole team.”

Timmy Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo #21 – 5th in Riga
“I’m happy with the result of this weekend overall and I think 5th is a fair reflection of what I deserved. My start wasn’t perfect in the Final and I was probably missing a bit to be challenging at the very top, but overall the speed was very, very good and we’ve seen some good progress; especially when we ended up with 3 PEUGEOTs in the Final. If we carry on working in this way, I think we can definitely achieve our goals. My highlight of the weekend was Qualifying 3: it’s a race that we won, where we were able to run in clean air and maximise all our opportunities away from traffic. I really enjoyed myself driving the PEUGEOT 208 WRX Evo. Now I will fly to the USA, where I will participate in the Nitro Games organised by Travis Pastrana prior to the next WRX race. So it’s only fun ahead!”

Kevin Hansen, PEUGEOT 208 WRX #71 – 6th in Riga
“I’m actually more than happy: I’m really delighted. I got through to the Final, for the 4th time this year, and I raced well all weekend. What makes me particularly pleased was the way that we reacted to the setbacks we experienced on Saturday. It was looking really tough but with the help of the team, we dug deep and were able to fight back: it’s really an extraordinary group of people here who never give up. From my perspective, I feel that I’m learning more all the time with this car and that we’re continuing the learning curve that we embarked on. I’m eager to make more progress now!”

NEXT ROUND (#10/12): USA – September 29th & 30th
​The FIA World Rallycross Championship resumes in a fortnight, from 29-30 September, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. This venue is also home to the United States Grand Prix, but the rallycross track is a brand new purpose-built facility in the stadium area between turns 12 and 15, located in a natural amphitheatre so that fans can see the entire layout from any seat. The event also promises a festival-type atmosphere, with music and other entertainments scheduled as well as all the WRX action on track.

MotoGP World Championship – San Marino Grand Prix

Morbidelli overtakes Syarhin

By finishing twelfth in the San Marino Grand Prix, Franco Morbidelli has overtaken Hafizh Syahrin in the “Rookie of the Year” standings.

The Races

In great shape during the practice test sessions, ninth after four laps of the race, Franco Morbidelli got off to a great start in his national Grand Prix: the rider lives a few kilometres from the Misano circuit. Fighting it out with Bautista and Iannone, the reigning Moto2 world champion unfortunately suffered when his tires began to deteriorate. “As the laps went by I started having problems and had to slow down because I could not brake properly,” he said. “I also lost too much time when I accelerated.” Twelfth under the checkered flag, the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS rider was finally satisfied with having scored some valuable points on his home ground. For Tom Lüthi, the thirteenth race of the season turned into an ordeal. Unable to find the right settings during the practice test sessions, the Swiss rider had to settle for twenty-second place. “I had trouble finishing the race, I couldn’t attack,” he regretted after the race. In Moto2, Joan Mir was fifth. “I finished the race well after struggling to find my pace during the first part of this Grand Prix,” said the reigning Moto3 World Champion. “We’ll have to find out what went wrong to do better during the next race in Aragon.” Hit by an opponent shortly after the start, Álex Márquez managed to make a great comeback from 32nd to 18th place.

The Championship

In scoring four points in Misano, Morbidelli has climbed back to sixteenth place in the MotoGP Championship and now leads Hafizh Syahrin in the “Rookie of the Year” standings. In Moto2, Álex Márquez has dropped to sixth place overall, just behind teammate Joan Mir, who took advantage of his new top five to move up the standings and get closer to Lorenzo Baldassari.

The Background

Next year, the team Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS will no longer race in the MotoGP category. So its team owner has decided. “We began in the Moto2 class from its inception in 2010,” recalls Marc van der Straten. “We expanded our team in that class and won many victories over the seasons, going as far as to win the title of world champion in 2014 with Rabat, then in 2017 with Franco Morbidelli. Whether with Tito, Franco, Álex, or later with Scott Redding and Mika Kallio, we have won more than thirty races and scored more than 80 Moto2 podium finishes. We have become the reference team of the Grand Prix intermediate class. In 2015, we decided to move into MotoGP as well, but the results have so far never been what we were hoping for. The choice to run in the premier-class category was never really mine, and that’s why I have decided that next year the Marc VDS team will return to what it was at its origins, a family team designed to serve as a springboard for talented young riders.” In parallel to that program, the Marc VDS team will also be involved in the five new MotoE World Cup events.

An exciting and challenging home outing for team Peugeot Total in France

World RX #8/12 – Lohéac, 1/2.09.2018

5th and 6th places for Timmy Hansen and Sébastien Loeb respectively in the final at Loheac wasn’t the result that Team PEUGEOT Total wanted on home territory in front of 80,000 enthusiastic fans, but nonetheless all 3 drivers showed considerable fighting spirit and pace through the weekend. Only a series of circumstances and racing incidents compromised their chance to do better – but this is all part of the frenetic and closely-matched sport of rallycross, where just the smallest misadventure can have big consequences. The team’s Junior, Kevin Hansen, also showed plenty of speed, going as far as the semi-final. Next up is Latvia in 2 weeks, where the whole team will be concentrated on ensuring a better result.

ILS ONT DIT…

Bruno Famin, Peugeot Sport Director:“This round showed us all the joy and frustration of motorsport in general and rallycross in particular. It’s clear that the net result is below our expectations, but we also witnessed some very good things too. We saw the potential of the 208 WRX, with some great lap times, and Sébastien’s semi-final race was also exemplary, as he went from 6th to 2nd entirely on his own merits, without anything unusual happening. But it was clear that the stars weren’t quite aligned for us to do well: we started the weekend off with a draw that didn’t really work in our favour and then there were some racing incidents that didn’t help us either, such as the contact between Loeb and Chicherit that broke the power steering and resulted in Seb setting just the 18th time, which dropped him down to 12th in the overall classification. In rallycross, everything has to work well from start to the finish of the weekend. And while the reliability and performance of our car can’t be questioned here, we need to keep working hard to make it less susceptible to these things that can always happen during a race weekend, and so get closer to victory.”

Timmy Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX Evo #21 – 5th in Lohéac:“It’s been amazing to race in France, in this incredible atmosphere in front of everyone who is supporting us at PEUGEOT, with full grandstands wherever you look! So I hoped to get a better result for everyone than 5th: it’s not bad but we were definitely aiming higher. I think we did everything we could in the final, but 5th was the most we could achieve. We have to be happy because we did our job the best we could under the circumstances, but we also have to go back and do our homework to improve for the future. We have all the pieces: it just needs to come together. The start procedure, chassis and engine of the PEUGEOT 208 WRX are already great.” 

Sébastien Loeb, Peugeot 208 WRX Evo #9 – 6th in Lohéac“In the end it was a nice final, very intense. I did a good semi-final too and enjoyed racing the 208 WRX throughout the weekend. With the position that I had on the start line in each race this weekend, it was always going to be difficult and that proved to be the case. We ended up with 6th in the end, which is actually not too bad all things considered because at one point we were 12th after qualifying. It’s not the result we wanted but we have to accept it for what it is and move on. The thing that I am convinced about is that we have a good package. We just need to put everything together. I’m looking forward to a brighter weekend for the whole team in Latvia.”

Kevin Hansen, Peugeot 208 WRX Evo #71 “It was a strong weekend: we struggled a little bit during practice, but we came back really well. We had some great races and showed really good pace, but I couldn’t quite keep it all the way to the end. I think to be just outside the final though, with all the factory cars there, was the maximum we could do. So I was happy with my performance for that reason but of course we still wanted to be in the final! I know I’m still young and we still have plenty to learn. Loheac is always special and it was very cool to see the fans supporting me. It’s definitely been a memorable and educational few days in France.”

Results of final race in Lohéac

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSON – 03:44.787
2. Andreas BAKKERUD – 03:45.127
3. Petter SOLBERG – 03:45.571
4. Mattias EKSTRÖM – 03:45.945
5. Timmy HANSEN – 03:46.210
6. Sébastien LOEB – 03:46.362

Drivers’ championship standings after round #8/12 

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON / Volkswagen Polo R – 224 pts
2. Andreas BAKKERUD / Audi S1 – 165 pts
3. Petter SOLBERG / Volkswagen Polo R – 160 pts
4. Timmy HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 158 pts
5. Mattias EKSTRÖM / Audi S1 – 157 pts
6. Sébastien LOEB / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 151 pts
7. Niclas GRÖNHOLM / Hyundai i20 – 95 pts
8. Kevin HANSEN / PEUGEOT 208 WRX – 86 pts
9. Janis BAUMANIS / Ford Fiesta – 68 pts
10. Timur TIMERZYANOV / Hyundai i20 – 66 pts
11. Guerlain CHICHERIT / Renault Mégane RS – 44 pts
12. Robin LARSSON / Ford Fiesta – 22 pts
14. Kevin ERIKSSON / Ford Fiesta – 15 pts
15. Tommy RUSTAD / Volkswagen Polo – 14 pts

Team’s championship after round #8/12

1. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden – 384 pts
2. EKS Audi Sport – 322 pts
3. Team PEUGEOT Total – 309 pts
4. GRX Taneco – 161 pts
5. GC Kompetition – 103 pts
6. Olsbergs MSE – 67 pts

Next round

The next round of the World Rallycross Championship is just two weeks away in Latvia. The fast but technical Bikernieki circuit is located only 15 minutes from the centre of the Latvian capital Riga. It measures 1.294 kilometres in length, with 60% asphalt and 40% gravel. Sébastien Loeb won the first World RX of Latvia in 2016 and will be looking for another strong result together with his Team PEUGEOT Total team-mates.

GCK wows crowds at homerace debut in Lohéac

2nd September, Lohéac, France

As round 8 of the FIA World Rallycross Championship saw 80,000 fans gather in Lohéac, France, for what is one of the biggest, most anticipated events of the season, 25 supercars battled it out on tarmac and the gravel dirt section in blazing sunshine and GC KOMPETITION celebrated its “home race” and the re-introduction of British driver Liam Doran after his 2-year Rallycross hiatus with both GCK Mégane R.S. RX reaching the semi-finals.

Following two days of testing for both Guerlain Chicherit and GCK’s newly announced driver, Liam Doran, in France, both boys put down promising speed in Friday’s practice session with Liam turning heads posting the 5th fastest time while Guerlain finished Friday’s practice in 12th, moving up to 9th in Saturday morning’s practice.

Things heated up quickly as Guerlain lined up on the grid for race 3 of Q1, sandwiched between Ekström and Baumanis. Following a good start, Chicherit was squeezed into turn 1 pushing him to the back of the pack from where he fought back to finish in P4.
Liam’s Q1 race followed, with him lining up 5th on the grid on the far outside. Putting down a good start, he spectacularly pushed around the outside to beat Kristofferson into the first corner taking the lead of the race to the delight of the roaring crowd.
Kristofferson managed to overtake Doran on the exit of turn 3, who in turn continued to chase Johan down until he crossed the finish line in 2nd, putting him in 8th overall on his first race following his return to Rallycross.

Q2 saw Guerlain get off the line quick and he continued to race strongly avoiding some first corner contact, tucking in behind Eriksson and racing away from the pack, putting down the 4th fastest time of the day to finish 2nd behind Eriksson and 11th overall.
Liam’s Q2 saw him get pushed out wide into the gravel, losing time, but catching up again quickly to joker in the first lap behind Kevin Hansen, from where he continued to push to catch up with the rest of the pack overtaking Baumanis to finish 4th, putting him in 10th overall with both GCK Mégane R.S. RX part of the top 12 drivers after day 1.

Sunday saw both GCK drivers determined to put down even more competitive speed, which Liam quickly achieved, winning his Q3 and putting down a new fastest lap of the day in the process. Some super strong, fast and fearless racing, that saw him avoid contact and collision behind him, left Liam in a strong 4th place overall following Q3.

Guerlain put down a great start in Q3 but contact into the first corner saw him squeezed into the dirt, from where he
managed to fight back to finish 3rd behind Timmy Hansen and Petter Solberg. Smooth, aggressive driving throughout saw him take the chequered flag ahead of Loeb and Kevin Hansen putting Chicherit in 8th overall following Q3.

Q4 saw GC finish in 3rd ahead of Baumanis and Eriksson, having put down a good start, fighting into the first corner and continuing to push throughout the race, finishing behind Timmy Hansen and Petter Solberg.

Liam put down a good start in race 5 of Q4, tucking in behind Kristofferson, but impact from one of the Audis into turn 2 took him backwards into the gravel, from where he continued to hunt the others down to finish the race in p5 with a good time . With Liam in 6th overall and Guerlain in 11th overall following Q4, both GCK Mégane R.S. RX made it into the semi-finals.

Race 1 of the semi-finals saw Guerlain take on Ekström, Kristofferson, Timmy and Kevin Hansen as well as Grönholm while Liam took on Bakkerud, Solberg, Timerzyanov, Eriksson and Loeb.
While Guerlain lost some time into the first corner, he put down some strong, impressive race pace and finished 5th ahead of Grönholm, a great showcase of a weekend of huge improvements with the car and a big stepping stone for this new team.

Liam put down a strong start in his semi-final, however, initial contact resulted in him having a flat tire which ended the race for him with a finish in 6th.

Guerlain Chicherit commented : “What a great weekend. It’s been a crazy few weeks and months for us and the entire team has been working so hard and has been fully committed to continuously developing our GCK Mégane R.S. RX further and trying new things to make it truly competitive. Having Liam come onboard for Lohéac and testing with him beforehand was awesome – his experience and input was not only helpful with the Mégane but also for me and my driving. Racing in front of my home crowd and seeing the incredible support was the best and I’m so glad we were able to provide them with a strong racing performance and give them a feel of what the Mégane is capable of.”

Liam Doran a ajouté : “I absolutely loved this weekend – I’m so stoked to have been given this opportunity to return to Rallycross. The car is awesome, the team is awesome and it’s just such a professional environment to be in! This was probably the best ever race weekend for me, even just because it allowed me to really come in and just focus on racing and getting the most out of the car – of course, the result isn’t quite what I wanted but that’s racing. To work with the team on improving the car further and being able to support Guerlain as well was hugely satisfying! I’m ecstatic that I’ve been given this opportunity to race and I think the decision to give me this chance and for me to take it, was definitely the right one. The GCK Mégane R.S. RX has huge potential and it’s been great to be able show that to the fans and fellow drivers this weekend.”