You have to go back to the Euro RX of Finland in 2012 to find Timur Timerzyanov’s last RX win. It was a year he totally dominated the Euro RX Championship. He would also win the title in 2013 but would go winless.
Since then, in the World RX era, he went without luck. A year in the Hansen Peugeot, followed by years in various Fords netted just two podiums. Last year he joined the new GRX Hyundai squad but the car was new and it was always going to be a tough run.
This year, though, it was always going to be different.
And so it proved. Come round 3, the Benelux RX at the new track at Spa and he was on fire. A track that suited the style of the more flamboyant drivers like Timerzyanov and Liam Doran, they could attack the long gravel area, the long corners and really use the horsepower to pull them through.
Timerzyanov attacked the track. Spectacular over the jump, sideways through the stadium. You could tell he was enjoying himself.
“I only have positive words for this track because I win here!” Timerzyanov said to RacerViews.
“I don’t remember the last time we were so long at full throttle – it is amazing how to drive this track. Eau Rouge, you feel it.
“You need to keep the speed, you need to drive every corner to give you an open strategy. There were so many fights between the guys. It was a clear fight. It gives you so many options. The long gravel corner, it is an unbelievable thing.”
That being said, he had to translate that into on track performance. It was a safe qualifying for Timerzyanov. 8th, 6th, 4th, 4th to put him 5th after the qualifying session.
He was in semi-final one and took second. Just 2 tenths off the pace of Andreas Bakkerud who was top-qualifier in the RX Cartel Audi.
That result gave Timerzyanov time to consider his tactics for the final.
“I knew I could follow the guys. I tested it in the semi-final, behind Andreas, it was difficult tactically as I knew you lose at the entry to the joker lap but in the final I tried to concentrate mostly on the start.”
The start of the final would be about the first corner. Bakkerud and Joni Wiiman – in the other Hyundai – on the front row.
“It was 50/50 really, I did my job on the start line and the other guys opened the door and I was able to take it.
“From there I continued to drive my own race. I tried to concentrate on myself. It is the biggest thing I need to do actually. The last few race, the last few years, I have worked with myself. I know I have good speed but need to calm down and be stable.”
He ran a good race, leading from the front. Always solid, attacking but not wild. He would take the joker on the final lap, after Bakkerud took his. It would be a run to the line.
But a very, very slight error saw him run into the loose gravel. It was heart in the mouth stuff. The crowd, his team held their breath.
“For me I wanted to say to myself, ‘you done it wrong’ but give the last horsepower from myself to the engine, to the throttle to get out from the deep gravel.
“I went through the gears I have in my car and go flat out.
“When I looked to the right side, there was no one coming and I was flying through the jump as the speed was high. I never think I exited the joker lap so fast!”
And to his right, Bakkerud was not there. It was just clear space. Timur had done it, won by 2.002 seconds, to take his, GRX and Hyundai’s first World RX win.
You could tell how much it meant to the Russian by his post-race celebrations. This was not a by-the-numbers celebration. It was raw emotion. And the rest of the paddock also felt the same.
It was 64 events since his last win. A man who describes RX as ‘being in his blood’ brings so much to the sport and the knows it and his win was popular.
“It is like, I don’t understand this at the moment.
“I need to come back to my team and see all the guys who put maximum effort to this one. We have done a great job during the weekend and during the year.
“I am really happy. It is bad that Niclas can’t join us here but we are waiting for him in the next race and will continue to fight for the World Championship.”
Undoubtedly the Peugeots will take some catching this year but as we saw this round, the GRX Hyundais are there. They have the pace and the drivers have the pace. Afterall Niclas won round 1 on the road before taking a penalty and Wiiman finished third in Spa.
It bodes well for the Championship and undoubtedly, it bodes well for the fans. If for nothing else, for personalities like Timerzyanov to win brings a lot of fun to our screens.
The RacerViews info
By Sam Tickell
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