|Kristoffersson climbs to second in World Rallycross Drivers’ Championship|
Multi-discipline motorsport star Johan Kristoffersson climbed to second overall in the FIA World Rallycross Championship points table with Volkswagen RX Sweden, by qualifying top at the Intermediate Classification and finishing fifth in the final at the Latvian round of World RX in Riga (October 2).
Proving the pace of the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar in both wet and dry conditions, Kristoffersson set the fastest time in Q2 on Saturday afternoon before claiming top spot in Q3, in torrential rain. Incredibly, the Swede’s time was nearly six seconds faster than any other driver. Starting on pole position for semi-final one, Kristoffersson only just missed out on victory to nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, before finishing fifth in the final to climb to second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship table.
Former FIA European Rallycross TouringCar Champion Anton Marklund had a challenging event in Latvia at the wheel of his Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar in the changeable conditions, but also improved on his points tally in the championship standings.
With two rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship remaining in Germany and Argentina, Kristoffersson is just 27 points shy of the championship lead, with a maximum of 60 points available from the final two rounds. “I was able do one very quick run in the dry and one in the wet this weekend, so that was good, and to be top after the qualifying races and move to P2 in the championship is great. I have to thank the whole team because now we are scoring a lot of points at every race. We just have to keep pushing, to continue to try and fight for this championship,” he said. “We missed a bit of pace in the semi-final and final, so it has not been an easy day for sure. We have made a lot of progress in the last few events and I’m looking forward to Germany in two weeks.”
A spin in the torrentially wet conditions of Q3 cost Marklund time, without which he would have made the semi-finals. “This weekend has been very tough for me. I got a brand new chassis for this round and the mechanics have done an amazing job. It looks like a show car, it’s stunning and I was really looking forward to racing it here,” said the Swede. “We set some good lap times but I didn’t have the feeling on Saturday. I had really good pace in the wet on Sunday morning, but hit some water and had a 360 degree spin, which cost me a lot of time. If you take away the time I lost, I would have been P4 in Q3 and that would have got me into the semi-finals. It’s disappointing, but I’m testing here in Latvia all day on Monday to find improvements in myself and the car, so I can show what I can do in Germany.”
Team Principal Michael Schneider is pleased with the progress made in both wet and dry conditions, and says the team will do all it can to help Kristoffersson fight for the World RX Drivers’ Championship title. “Johan had a very good weekend. To be top qualifier takes a huge effort from the team and driver, and it proves again that we have the pace to run at the front,” said Schneider. “It’s great that Johan has climbed to second in the championship, we will work hard to do everything we can to finish in the best possible place after the last round in Argentina. Nothing is over until after the final round.”
Volkswagen RX Sweden remains third in the World RX Teams’ Championship standings, with the next round taking place in two weeks’ time at the Estering in Germany (October 15 – 16), where American star Tanner Foust will join the team in a third Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar.
Riga, Latvia Results
1) Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208)
1) Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1)
2) Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208)
4) Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus)
5) Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo RX)
6) Timur Timerzyanov (Ford Fiesta)
15) Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo RX)
FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Mattias Ekström, Sweden, Audi, 228
2) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 201
3) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 194
4) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 192
5) Sebastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 180
6) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 165
13) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 64
FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 353
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 345
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 265
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 247
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 187
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 97
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Photo: Volkswagen RX Sweden