I was back for another year of World Rally Cross championship round in Latvia. Already before the event I made a bet that Johan Kristoffersson will win this one as well; and I was right – not only Johan got the win, he also secured the driver’s Championship, as well as VW got the manufacturer title. Their cars are on different level this year and it seems that only wet conditions can make the field more equal.
Last year it was Sebastian Loeb who got his first and so far, the only, win. This year he made it to the podium as well, but only on the shortest step of the podium.
Mattias Ekström raced into second position and keeps his third place in the championship. It’s really apparent that Audi is concentrating more on another DTM title and it’s very likely that Mattias will get it.
For me it’s the last big event of the year, so I really tried to push the button hard enough, to produce as much good shots as possible. Familiarity with the track helps a lot, also playing slowpoke with the marshals, while moving from one location to another – in a lot of cases, spots between the “shooting points” are better than organised areas.
On a general note, marshals were more relaxed this year and track movement was smoother.
Does your concentration allow you to go #maximumattack lap after lap this close to the barriers? I don’t think so.
Timmy Hansen went quite sideways on this one
Reinis Nitiss and Jānis Baumanis obviously were crowd favourites – fans roared every time their cars passed by.
US was present. Howdy Ken Block.
Nico Müller makes his only second appearance in RX and already raced in the final! Timo Scheider had a similar path last year.
Speaking about Timo. He was on fire during his Q1 – literally. His spotter told him that the car is burning long time ago, but Timo decided that he wants to finish the heat first! What a sport.. or, you know, sponsor obligations :)
Before the start, most of the drivers watch the live coverage to see what are the track conditions
Others chat and prepare themselves
Andreas was posing for some video
Feel the Quattro pull!
It’s like they went to army
Petter Solberg had some bad luck. His wheel broke in one of the heats and later in semi-finals something more serious let go – his collarbone. Accident to forget for him!
Forecast didn’t say about much rain, but boy was it wet out there
Split strategy for Audi
And now the other way round
Rain made the field more equal
“Topi” Heikkinen was leading by the end of first day
Day 2. Title Fight.
Johan was on the way of improving his record and getting 5th win in a row.
Weather still played tricks
Timo’s bonnet was on fire again.. oh now, that’s the new livery they did over night
Two-time DTM champion himself was in a good mood
Young Peugeot drivers know that they must push more
Ken Block was unhappy with his performance, but the biggest downer was that he got hit in one of the early runs
Still, Mr. Hoonigan was pushing his all
Autograph session before the finals is very busy for the drivers. They must meet their loyal fans, but also must remember about the race ahead
There’s also a Monster Energy Rig Riot held every day to pump up the fans and share some Monster swag. Big post about it is here.
Fans of rally cross come in all shapes and sizes
Less then an hour till the final. Drivers are running their semis’. Only top three drivers go to till the end.
Reinis Nitiss wasn’t able to compete in the final, but his fellow countryman Janis Baumanis put on a great show, even though finished outside the podium.
That’s how you welcome a new World Champion
And a selfie from the podium