August 13, 2016

New World Champion to be crowned, Hagberg crashed out

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Nitro Touring Car will get a new World Champion this evening as defending champion Alexander Hagberg’s race came to a end on the 1/8 Finals this morning in Gubbio.  Struggling from the start of the event, never featuring strongly on the time sheets, the Xray driver would qualify 34th putting him second on the grid for the Semi B final.  With pole sitter Alessio Agostinelli flaming out on the restart, a timing issuing forcing the race to be stopped after the original 09:00 start, Hagberg took the lead of the race and looked in control.  However 12 laps in to the 20-minute final, the Swede’s race was to come to an end as Joe Kerry excited the pitlane and made contact with Hagberg.  With the contact resulting in a chunked rear tyre Hagberg would have to pit to change the tyre bringing an end to his chances of progressing.  Having struggled like Hagberg in qualifying and bumped up to the 1/8 final after winning yesterday evening’s 1/16 final ahead of Paolo Morganti, JJ Wang would again take the win ahead of his fellow US driver to progress to the 1/4 final.  Australia’s Jeff Hamon would secure what should have been the final bump up spot after holding off the recovering Agostinelli, who after setting the fastest lap of the race, was less than 2-seconds back but after the race Morganti was disqualified for a bodyshell infringement.

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‘I’m really disappointed by this kind of reckless driver’, was Hagberg’s reaction to the incident.  He continued, ‘I was leading easy and then Joe Kerry rejoined from the pitlane and crashed me while I was on the racing line.  This chunked my tyre and I had to come in to change it’.

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Commenting on his race, 2014 Finalist Wang said, ‘its been a rough week but something has pulled through for the finals’.  Fifth in Bangkok, the Mugen driver said ‘its getting better but a little too late’.  On his car he said, ‘we built a completely new car after qualifying and while it’s not the fastest car it is good for finals’.  While he didn’t suffer the same faith as Hagberg, the Shanghai based driver was also less than complimentary about the driving standards saying, ‘there are some crazy drivers out there’.

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In the second of the 1/8 Finals another World Champion’s campaign would come to an end with Daniele Ielasi only able to finish 6th.  Running WRC’s first touring car creation at the race, the 2008 Champion always faced a tough challenge compounded by the fact he has no team-mates with which to share set-up information.  The race would be won by Italian driver David Loppini, leading from start to finish, ahead of the similar Xray of Alessio Menicucci with Dutch Serpent driver Daan Jacobs complete magical Top 3 to bump up.

View complete event results here.

View the event image gallery here.

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