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Motorsportverslag: Wêreld-kruisrenkampioenskap 2018

Deur Neels Rabe.

Wêreld-kruisrenne (Rallycross RX) is motorsport se ekwivalent van krieket se T20. Dit is kort, intens en skouspelagtig soos geen ander FIA wêreldkampioenskap nie. ‘n Kykie na die inskrywingslys onthul ‘n verdere geheim tot die sukses van hierdie reeks. Groot name soos 2003 Wêreldtydrenkampioen Petter Solberg, die 2004 en 2007 Duitse Toermotorkampioen asook 2006, 2007 en 2009 wenner van die Wedren Van Kampioene, Mattias Ekström, en natuurlik die een wat deur sommige as die beste ooit beskou word, Sébastien Loeb, laat enige motorsport-entoesias se oë water. Loeb het die wêreldtydren toneel vir nege jaar oorheers (2004 – 2012) waarna hy gedeeltelik uitgetree het. Tussendeur het hy ook die Wedren van Kampioene drie keer gewen, die Pikes Peak Heuwelren (Hill Climb) in die VSA se baanrekord verpletter, en vele ander prestasies.

Deelnemers aan RX is die kaliber renjaers wat met 600 perdekrag motors mekaar die stryd aansê op teer/grond bane van ongeveer ‘n kilometer lank. Die vier kwalifiserende uitdunne is slegs 4 rondtes lank, terwyl die semi-finaal en finaal oor 6 rondtes beslis word. Die resultaat? Absoluut asemrowend!

Dis nog ‘n jong kampioenskap wat in 2014 die eerste keer wêreldstatus gekry het. Petter Solberg was die eerste twee jaar wêreldkampioen. Hy word die eerste man wat twee verskillende FIA wêreldtitels verower. In 2016 is dit ‘n koel en kalm Mattias Ekström in sy Audi wat die kampioenskap inpalm. Ekström het aan die einde van 2017 DTM finaal vaarwel toegeroep om hom in 2018 uitsluitlik op die Wêreld Kruisrenkampioenskap toe te spits. Dis opmerklik dat Mattias nie meer so rustig voorkom as in die verlede nie. Alhoewel gewoonlik baie vinnig, kruip daar tog meer foute in as in die verlede, en is sy gebruiklike netjiese jaag styl effens wilder as in vorige jare. Is dit miskien die druk wat hy op homself plaas noudat hy nie meer hoofsaaklik ‘n DTM-jaer is nie?

In 2017 het Volkswagen hul toetrede tot die kampioenskap gemaak nadat die fabriek aan die Wêreldtydrenkampioenskap onttrek het. Hul Polo was onmiddellik ‘n wenner in die hande van Petter Solberg. Dis egter spanmaat Johan Kristoffersson wat die seisoen oorheers om sodoende sy eerste wêreldtitel te verower.

Hoe lyk die prentjie in 2018 na afloop van die derde rondte in België? Beter as ooit! Die rede hiervoor is dat Peugeot en Audi duidelik hulle nuwe motors heelwat ontwikkel het sedert 2017. Verder het die Prodrive-ontwikkelde Renault reeds ‘n finaal gehaal tydens die vorige byeenkoms in Portugal. Die ander nuwelinge, Hyundai, het albei motors (Niclas Grönholm en Timur Timerzyanov) in België in die semi-finaal gehad.

Goeie nuus vanuit ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse oogpunt is dat die wedrenne lewendig gevolg kan word op die reeks se Facebook bladsy (https://www.facebook.com/fiaworldrallycross/). Dit stel ons instaat om nie net die aksie te geniet nie, maar om ook die jaers te leer ken en op hoogte van die reeks te wees wanneer die finale rondte van die 2018 kampioenskap in November op die Killarney renbaan buite Kaapstad plaasvind. Na elke byeenkoms is daar ook ‘n twee uur lange program wat afgelaai kan word wat die hele naweek se wedrenne dek en verskeie onderhoude insluit.

Rondte 3 – België (12-13 Mei 2018)

Die Peugeot Total Span se Sebastien Loeb beur vorentoe om as wenner van hierdie rondte uit te tree.

Nadat Johan Kristoffersson die eerste twee byeenkomste van die jaar gewen het, is dit Sébastien Loeb wat die bordjies verhang in België. In wisselende weersomstandighede kom hy ongeskonde deur ‘n paar rowwe uitdun rondtes om die finaal oortuigend te wen. Spanmaat Timmy Hansen moes die bykans onmoontlike vermag in die tweede semi-finaal. Kort na die wegtrek eindig hy in die laaste posisie as gevolg van die (gebruiklike) chaos in draai een. Op ‘n baan waar verbysteek bykans onmoontlik is, wys Hansen hoe dit gedoen word deur derde te eindig. Sodoende kwalifiseer hy vir die finaal. Hierdie hoogtepunt van die byeenkoms word beslis tussen die drie voorste vervaardigers met beide motors van Audi, Volkswagen en Peugeot wat kwalifiseer het.

Hoeveel die oorwinning vir Loeb beteken, sy eerste sedert Latvia 2016, was duidelik op sy gesig leesbaar. Gaan die Franse legende ‘n tiende wêreldkampioenskap by sy reeds ongeëwenaarde nege titels byvoeg? Ons sal in November in Kaapstad uitvind!

  1. Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208)
  2. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo R)
  3. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208)
  4. Mattias Ekström (Audi S1)
  5. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo R)
  6. Andreas Bakkerud (Audi S1)

2018 Kampioenskap na afloop van 13 Mei:

  1. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo R)  –  75
  2. Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208)  –  66
  3. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo R)  –  65
  4. Andreas Bakkerud (Audi S1)  –  61
  5. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208)  –  59
  6. Mattias Ekström (Audi S1)  –  59

Die volgende rondte is 26/27 Mei op Silverstone.

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