The first win of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship goes to Kevin Hansen after Gronholm receives a penalty.
Kevin Hansen became the first winner of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The GRX Taneco driver of Niclas Gronholm won on track but later received a penalty for contact with Hansen. This is the first win of Hansen’s World RX career.
Gronholm won the second semi-final after dropping back to fifth to put him on the front row alongside Hansen.
The start of the race was close with pole sitter, Kevin Hansen with Hansen taking the lead into turn one. Gronholm was running nose-to-tail with Hansen and gave the leader a nudge from behind which sent Hansen sideways. The Hyundai i20 took over the lead with Hansen dropping back. Gronholm went on to take the win from Hansen.
Liam Doran took his Monster Energy RX Cartel to the podium. The Brit took his joker lap at the start after being pushed out of the order and went on to recover to third.
Janis Baumanis finished the final in fourth ahead of the second Audi of Krisztian Szabo.
Timo Scheider had a good start to the final where he ran in the top three, however, he appeared to have a problem onboard and dropped to the back of the order.
Missing out on the final from the first semi-final was Timerzyanov after a close battle with Doran on the final lap. Whilst Anton Marklund picked up damage to the rear of his car after Reinis Nitiss launched over the curb and the top of Marklund’s car in turn one. Nitiss was a retirement.
The three who did not make it through from the second semi-final had all suffered problems. Guerlain Chicherit looked to have a problem early on whilst Cyril Raymond was running with a puncture. Rokas Baciuska picked up damage to the car after contact with Gronholm at the merge from the joker lap which saw Gronholm cut the corner.
Leading the driver’s championship after the first round is Kevin Hansen with GRX Taneco at the head of the team’s championship.
The World RX returns in three weeks for the World RX of Catalunya.
This article has been updated.
Feature Image Credit: FIAWorldRallycross.com