G-FORS debuts in Barcelona with a podium finish
G-FORS, the new FIA European Rallycross team running 2 Renault Clios produced and run by FORS-PERFORMANCE, wrapped up a successful debut race weekend in front of 30,000 fans at Circuit de Catalunya with driver Jean-Baptiste Dubourg on the podium in 3rd place.
Saturday’s extreme weather conditions that saw Barcelona drenched in non-stop downpours resulting in very tricky conditions on the track that tested both drivers’ ability to adapt and change tactic quickly, with both Dubourg and Jere Kalliokoski finishing their Q1 in 4th respectively. Jean-Baptiste then won his Q2 whilst Jere finished his in 5th, leaving Dubourg in 7th overall and Jere in 17th at the end of Day 1.
With the sun finally coming through on Sunday and track conditions changing by the minute, the newly built Renault Clio R.S. RX showed quickly improving pace throughout the day with Dubourg finding his rhythm and confidence very quickly and able to finish Q4 in 3rd overall, securing a semi-final spot, whilst Jere, who struggled a little more with finding his rhythm, finished in 14th, thus just missing out of a semi-final place.
Dubourg raced a very strong semi-final finishing 2nd behind Anton Marklund to then face Marklund, Reinis Nitiss, Philip Gehrman, Ulrik Linnemann and Peter Hedström in the first final of the 2018 FIA European Rallycross Championship and
the first ever race-weekend for G-FORS.
A fantastic final saw Jean-Baptiste finish in 3rd behind Nitiss and Marklund securing the first ever podium for the Renault Clio R.S. RX on its debut weekend.
Jean-Baptiste Dubourg commented: “Saturday was a difficult day but I felt that once we managed to pass the first corner we could get good results because the car showed good performance. We had the ability to aim for third or second place thanks to our speed and strategy. Finishing with this beautiful third place, despite a difficult start in the final, holds great promise for success throughout the rest of the Championship. I want to thank everyone who has put trust in me to join the team.”
Jere Kalliokoski added: “The weather conditions on Saturday made the start of the competition difficult, especially as the first corner turned out to be a big challenge to have a chance of success. Sunday, the sun came out and dried the track a little – I gave everything and managed to climb up in the standings but unfortunately it was not enough to get to the semi-finals. This first race allowed me to better understand the performance of the new car in race conditions. I will continue to learn and push myself in future events, and I am super happy for JB and us as a team to see him place third in Barcelona.”
Team Manager Atte Varsta said: “The very first race weekend for G-FORS is now behind us and I’m really happy with how the team performed throughout the weekend. Yesterday, we had to deal with extreme weather conditions, especially for Barcelona, which resulted in battles on the track due to lack of grip and just less performance throughout. Sunday was a lot better and the times improved quickly. JB showed really strong performance and found his confidence in the car in race conditions quickly, for Jere it was a little bit trickier this weekend but we’ve also seen a big improvement and really look forward to him coming into his own in the next few weeks. I think this weekend really showed the potential of the car – super reliable and the speed and potential to win is there. We’re really happy after this first ever race weekend and look forward to a strong season ahead.”