WORLD RX A FULL 2018
GCK & PRODRIVE CELEBRATE FINAL ROUND OF THEIR DEBUT SEASON IN CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA.
GCK celebrate final round of their debut season in Cape Town, South Africa
FIA World Rallycross Championship newcomer team, GC Kompetition, wrapped up its debut season in front of 27,000 fans at the picturesque Killarney racetrack in Cape Town, famous for its iconic views of table mountain with both GCK Megane R.S. RX in the semi-final.
A hot and dusty track greeted Saturday morning’s practice with strong winds making it interesting for both GCK drivers as they raced the GCK Meganes on the Cape Town track for the first ever time. Guerlain Chicherit finished practice 1 in P8 right behind Ekstrom with Anton Marklund in P11 hot on Eriksson’s heels.
With the sun continuing to beat down on the quickly gathering crowds, Guerlain lined up for race 2 of Q1 sandwiched between Robin Larsson, Petter Solberg and Kevin Eriksson as well as Mattias Ekstrom on the outside. Guerlain put down a good start but was overtaken by Ekstrom into the first corner, making Chicherit joker behind Larsson at the first opportunity. He was held up in traffic for the remainder of the race, finishing in 5th and 14th overall.
Anton lined up outside alongside Timerzyanov, Kevin Hansen, Andreas Bakkerud and Timmy Hansen for race 4 of Q1. Following a good start, Marklund stayed on the outside and was third into the first corner but is then being turned into and pushed out to sit in fourth behind Kevin Hansen. He managed to stay close to the pack, jokering in lap 3, where he went wide, losing time to sit behind Timerzyanov to finish in 5th and 10th overall.
Following a grid change for the 2nd qualifier of the South African race weekend, as Demoustier was unable to make the start, Chicherit started on the outside with Eriksson and Larsson. He put down a great start, taking the lead from the outside following a battle into the first corner, continued to race cleanly, jokering in the last lap to finish first, putting him in 9th place overall following Q2.
Anton lined up for Q2 on the far outside again, with Mattias Ekstrom, Kevin Hansen, Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov alongside him.
Following a good start, Marklund kept out of trouble into the first corner to go far on the outside and followed Ekstrom into the 2nd corner in 2nd position. Staying hot on Ekstrom heels, he followed him into the joker on the last lap, coming out just ahead of Kevin Hansen to finish in 2nd and 7th overall.
By the end of day 1, both Megane R.S. RX are in the top 12, with Anton in 9th and Guerlain in 11th.
On Sunday morning, Anton and Guerlain line up together for race 3 of Q3 with Anton sandwiched between Sébastien Loeb and Kevin Hansen and Guerlain between Timmy Hansen and Timo Scheider.
A massive squeeze at the start and a lot of contact saw Marklund in 3rd, GC in 5th into the first corner. GC jokered in lap 2, while Marklund jokered in lap 3, coming out ahead of Scheider and Chicherit in 3rd and they finish their race in 3rd and 5th, with Anton in 8th and Guerlain in 13th following Q3.
The final qualifier of the race weekend saw Guerlain line up for race 2 with Kevin Eriksson on the inside and Robin Larsson, Niclas Gronholm and Grégoire Demoustier on the outside.
Gaining in confidence on the track, Chicherit put down a good start and battled into 2nd position through the first corner. He took the joker in the first lap, quickly managing to catch up with the pack to cross the finish line in first having outraced the others as they joker.
Race 3 of Q4 saw Anton line up with Scheider on the far outside and Andreas Bakkerud, Kevin Hansen and Timur Timerzyanov on the inside.
A little too keen, Marklund unfortunately jump started, so was faced with an additional joker lap as a penalty. He took both jokers in lap 1 and 2, pushing to catch up with the pack and managing to finish on a good time in 5th, putting him in 8th overall.
ollowing all qualifiers, both GCK drivers have fought hard enough to win back the points putting both GCK Megane R.S. RX into the semi-finals.
Both Anton and Guerlain lined up together for the 2nd semi-final of the Cape Town round in front of an excited crowd, with Loeb and Solberg in the front row, followed by Ekstrom and Marklund, as well as Scheider and Chicherit.
Following a good start for both, turn 1 saw a massive amount of contact with everyone battling for the lead, resulting in a slow puncture for Marklund who is at the back of the pack with Guerlain in 3rd. The following two laps had the crowds at the edge of their seat as the fighting continued, resulting in suspension damage for Chicherit following contact with Scheider ending his race weekend and season in lap 4 with a DNF.
Marklund managed to race into p4, defending his position despite only racing on 3 tires to finish 4th ahead of Scheider.
Anton commented: “What a weekend – a bit of a messy semi-final with a lot of tangling up front resulting in contact and me ending up last into turn 1, from where I jokered in lap 2 and managed to come out in front when Timo jokered. However, we had a slow puncture from the initial contact and by lap 3, we lost the tire so from then on it was just about fighting to keep position 4. It was a massive battle with Timo but I managed to maintain my position with only 3 tires. Of course, we were hoping for a better result but we fought well and I’m really happy with the performance of the team and our pace throughout this final race of the season. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with GCK and I feel we’ve brought the project further together as a team with ever-improving pace. It’s been a lot of hard work and a great team to be working with, so I’m ending this season really happy.”
Guerlain added: “What a debut season for GCK. I’m as excited as ever to be part of this fantastic Championship. It’s been a massive year of learning for us and we had a lot of ups and downs as we were working on this brand-new car and team. We’ve made huge progress and have shown that we can be competitive and now we have to work on consistency. We now know what we have to do to make the cars even faster and will come back stronger next year. We have a clear objective for next year as we achieved this year’s of racing the full Championship and develop the cars, so I’m really excited to see what we can achieve in 2019. Thanks so much for all of your support this year, it’s not always been easy, it’s a tough sport but the entire team is giving everything to provide awesome cars and racing to watch and you all have been amazing in following and joining this crazy journey. Thank you.”
GCK Media: Nini Mikolajski
Media Prodrive Motorsport
FIA World RX Championship 2018
26 November 2018
Categories: RRM WRC ARGENTINA 19 AÑOS