Timmy Hansen topped solo qualifying for the Nitro Rallycross season opener at the Utah Motorsports Campus, making the most of running order choice to set the fastest time of the session.
The 2018 NRX winner topped the second practice session, giving him the choice of whether to run first or last in the one-lap times session.
Believing the track would continue to get slower – as it had done between first and second practice – Timmy opted to run first and set a time of 57.391 seconds.
Four-time US rallycross champion Scott Speed, making his first rallycross start since breaking his back at the 2019 edition of NRX, was second fastest, a mere 0.086s off Timmy Hansen’s table-topping run.
Third went the way of Fraser McConnell. The Olsbergs Ford driver was fastest in opening practice, setting the fastest time of the weekend so far in that session, but was 1.3s off Timmy Hansen over a single lap in qualifying.
Tanner Foust, an unfamiliar sight in his new Audi S1 rather than his legendary Volkswagen Beetle was fourth, ahead of Steve Arpin who was also competing for the first time in a new car, in his case a Hyundai i20.
Kevin Eriksson took sixth in the Honda Civic Coupe, ahead of Subaru’s Andreas Bakkerud whose seventh place was strong considering he was the last of the 14 drivers to run.
Liam Doran, Travis Pastrana, and Kevin Hansen rounded out the top 10, ahead of Oliver Bennett.
Robin Larsson had an uncharacteristically messy run, slowing after carrying too much speed over the gap jump on his out lap. On his flyer, the same section of track caught him out again, with the double European champion spinning out on the sweeping banked turn that immediately follows the 100-ft gap.
The spin resulted in a debeaded front left tire, and a time that wouldn’t trouble the competitive order.
Oliver Eriksson and Cabot Bigham completed the field, but with inconsequential lap times after both opted for the longer joker lap.
The results of solo qualifying determine the pairings for the Battle Bracket run of head-to-head races that will determine heat line-ups.
Timmy Hansen and Speed will get a bye from the first round, and will face the winner of Doran vs Pastrana and Bakkerud vs Kevin Hansen respectively.
Also going head-to-head in the first round of the battle bracket will be Foust and Oliver Eriksson, Arpin and Larsson, McConnell and Bigham, and Kevin Eriksson and Bennett.
Leading qualifying times
1. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot) 57.391s
2. Scott Speed (Subaru) 57.477s
3. Fraser McConnell (Ford) 58.782s
4. Tanner Foust (Audi) 58.797s
5. Steve Arpin (Hyundai) 59.031s
6. Kevin Eriksson (Honda) 59.039s
7. Andreas Bakkerud (Subaru) 59.101s
8. Liam Doran (Audi) 59.204s
9. Travis Pastrana (Subaru) 59.324s
10. Kevin Hansen (Peugeot) 59.348s