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GRC Insider: Meet Timur Timerzyanov

Photo credit: Kirsi Tikka

While Marcus Gronholm won’t be running in the Global Rallycross Championship season finale at SEMA on October 30, Olsbergs MSE and Best Buy Mobile have come up with just about the best possible replacement driver available for the No. 3 Ford Fiesta: current European Rallycross champion Timur Timerzyanov.

American fans aren’t likely to recognize the native of Tatarstan by anything more than his car’s distinctive livery. But rest assured, Timerzyanov’s GRC debut has been well earned; he’s been one of the strongest drivers in the ERC in each of the past two seasons, competing against many GRC drivers in the process.

2011 saw Timerzyanov join the series full-time with Kenneth Hansen Motorsport, driving a Citroen C4 in all ten rounds of the championship. That year, he took his maiden ERC victory in Belgium on the way to a third place finish in points. Only current GRC regulars Sverre Isachsen and Tanner Foust beat him, while he beat a field that also included Toomas Heikkinen, Liam Doran, and Andy Scott on a full-time basis.

This year, Timerzyanov missed the first round of the ERC season due to visa problems, but he made up for it with two wins in the next three races to take a seven point advantage over Foust into the halfway point of the season. He then won four consecutive races to score a maximum of 80 points in the second half of the season, putting the title out of reach.

Image via Ford Racing Facebook

Timerzyanov ended the year with 148 points, the best champion’s score since team owner Hansen had 151 in 2008. However, Hansen also had an extra championship round in which to score points.

For the majority of the field who have raced against Timerzyanov, they won’t expect anything other than one of the best rallycrossers in the world to show up. The added challenge for the field is that Timerzyanov will be driving a Ford Fiesta, the most prolific car in the GRC this season with three wins and 10 podiums. But Timerzyanov will have to adjust to the tighter layouts of American rallycross, which also include the gap jump that many European rallycross fans dislike.

If American fans want to know what to expect from the Tatar on Tuesday, they have to keep in mind two things. The first is that the best driver in the best car usually wins, as Gronholm did in both Charlotte and Texas and Sebastien Loeb did at X Games in a Hansen-prepared car. The second is that, save for the jump, this track is the most similar to European rallycross on the GRC schedule. Timerzyanov is almost a sure bet to be standing on the podium at SEMA—and don’t be shocked if it’s on the top step.

– Chris Leone

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