The final race day of the 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship in Cape Town, South Africa, brought the season’s most spectacular race action to the screaming crowds as GCK battled 3 drivers into this year’s last semi-finals, having fought their way back despite an engine change, a missed race and a DNF.
ANTON MARKLUND – P4 SEMI-FINAL
Q3 P7; Q4 P16
Marklund jokered in the 1st lap of Q3 following a massive battle into the 1st corner with Marklund pushing into 3rd but then was squeezed over the jump to drop into 5th. He overtook Guillaume in lap 3, battled in the last lap with Scheider and overtook him to finish in 3rd.
Disaster struck in Q4 for Marklund as engine troubles had him stuck on the start line unable to race. Pushed back into p11 overall, he started his semi-final from the 3rd row. The mechanics gave their everything and successfully changed the engine just in time for the semi-final.
Marklund dropped into p6 following the start, he managed to overtake Szabo and Baumanis, jokered straight away to race into 5th but got stuck behind Szabo again until overtaking him in the final lap to finish the race in 4th.
“Not the easiest weekend, we were struggling with the starts and traffic and missed out on a really clean race to properly show our pace here. Dropping from a 2nd row spot in the semi-final to the 3rd row after the engine blew up in Q4 made it difficult but we tried our best and the mechanics did a great job to fix the car between Q4 and the semi-final. Unfortunately, we had a problem with the throttle of the engine and our risk with the joker didn’t pay off as I didn’t have the full power needed to overtake Szabo. It is what it is, we had a great season and I’m proud of what the team achieved and the development we have done during the season allowed us to show that we have truly competitive pace.”
GUERLAIN CHICHERIT – P4 SEMI-FINAL
Q3 P9; Q4 P6
Putting down a great drive in Q3, Chicherit pushed ahead into 2nd following Bakkerud despite a massive squeeze following the start. He jokered in the last lap coming out ahead of GCK Academy driver, Cyril Raymond, to cross the finish line in 2nd.
Q4 had Guerlain put down a good start to then overtake Timerzyanov in a fantastic move following the first corner, taking the lead. He managed to outrace Baumanis following the joker to take the chequered flag.
In p8 overall following all qualifiers, Guerlain lined up on the 2nd line of the 2nd semi-final.
Following a great start, Chicherit battled with Scheider to race into p3 behind the Hansen brothers. Huge contact pushed Chicherit around and into p6, breaking his suspension and giving him a flat tire. He finished the race in 5th.
“It wasn’t to be this weekend for me – I had a great time racing though and our commitment and pace were there. It’s been an incredible season of development and learnings for us as a team and I’m very proud of what we have achieved with everyone continuing to push even in the face of adversity. We definitely never gave up and the considerable development can be seen in our increasingly competitive pace and the results we managed to push for. Our preparations for next season start tomorrow and I’m excited to share our plans soon.”
CYRIL RAYMOND – P15 O/A
Q3 P15; Q4 P13
Battling into the 1st corner of Q3 with plenty of contact, Cyril jokered in the first lap. A great move saw Raymond overtake Bennett following the jump. Hewent on to overtake Furazhkin when the Russian jokered to finish the race in 3rd.
Cyril’s 2019 season finished following Q4 with a p15 overall. Having raced Q4 alongside GCK Academy team mate Guillaume De Ridder, he finished the race in 4th.
“My first FIA World Rallycross Championship is now done and of course I’m a little disappointed with my result this weekend because we had the pace for the semi-final and final but my mistakes around the trackmarkers cost me that – I think I’m the king of the track markers now :). Still, I had such a great experience this year with GCK and want to thank Guerlain and the team for the amazing job on the Clio – we improved a lot every race and for next year, the Clio is well prepared, so it’s good for the future. Now, we prepare for the off-season and let’s see what the future holds.”
GUILLAUME DE RIDDER – P5 SEMI-FINAL
Q3 P10; Q4 P10
Sunday’s racing kicked off with a fierce battle into the first corner of Q3 for Guillaume, which he came through in 2nd behind Gronholm. He jokered in the 2nd lap to finish in 5th.
In Q4, De Ridder jokered in the first lap following contact through the first corner, which lost him time. He finished in p3, putting him in p10 overall, grabbing a spot in the semi-finals.
Guillaume started his semi-final showing good pace but then made a mistake in turn 4, crashing into the side of GC Kompetition team mate Guerlain Chicherit and thus missing out on a spot in the final. Following the race, Guillaume received a 10-sec penalty for the move.
“Overall, it should’ve been a good weekend for me because I made it to the semi-finals for the second time of the season. We clearly had the pace to be in the top 8. We showed great pace on Saturday night with a top 3 in Q2 and also this morning with a top 5 in the warm-up. Unfortunately, during the last 2 qualifiers, I was pushed at the start and ended up in traffic so didn’t quite get the pace. While I found back the pace in the semi-final, I unfortunately made a huge mistake, which resulted in contact with my teammate Guerlain, which I’m really gutted about. I didn’t make many driving mistakes this entire season, so this one hurts. I want to thank the entire team and my team mates for this season, thanks for all your hard work.”