Reigning World Rallycross Champion Timmy Hansen claimed his first victory in over a year by beating points leader Johan Kristoffersson in the first instalment of the series’ Barcelona double-header.
Peugeot driver Hansen, the 2019 Barcelona winner, qualified second in the intermediate classification and started from pole for semi-final two, where he overcame brother Kevin Hansen during the race with a superior joker lap strategy.
Double World RX champion Kristoffersson headed qualifying, then dominated the first semi-final to secure pole for the final, giving himself a good chance to continue his run of winning at least one round at each meeting this year.
The Volkswagen Polo driver duly survived being squeezed in Turn 1 to lead for the opening five laps, but behind, Hansen was on a charge.
Having saved new tyres for the last encounter, Hansen chased Kristoffersson for the opening two and a half laps, as behind Mattias Ekstrom (Audi), Andreas Bakkerud (Renault) and Niclas Gronholm (Hyundai) took their jokers.
On the third tour, Hansen also took his compulsory extra route, returning to the standard lap in third, ahead of Ekstrom. He was released into second when Kevin Hansen took his joker on lap five, while edging down the gap to the race leader.
Kristoffersson dived into the joker at the sixth opportunity as Hansen moved through on the standard lap to take track position.
Using his extra momentum along the circuit’s back straight upon exiting the joker, Kristoffersson looked to Hansen’s inside into the long left-hander. The two made contact but despite smoke billowing off his left-rear tyre, Hansen held on through the final corners win for the first time since Latvia last year.
Making his first visit to the rostrum since the second Holjes race in August, Kevin Hansen made it a double podium for the Hansen team, while Gronholm finished fourth after passing 2016 World RX champion Ekstrom – who had been hampered by clutch problems during the qualifying races – on lap three.
Bakkerud remained just behind Ekstrom to the end, the Norwegian having battled power steering issues on his Megane intermittently throughout the day.