KRISTOFFERSSON CLAIMS DRAMATIC CATALUNYA WIN
Monday 19th of October 2020
Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson claimed a dramatic victory at the Logitech G FIA World RX of Catalunya, round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy (18 October).
The Kristoffersson Motorsport Volkswagen Polo driver’s 24th career victory ensured Kristoffersson maintained his advantage at the top of the Drivers’ standings, as he targets a record-breaking third crown.
Kristoffersson initially lost ground to KYB Team JC’s Mattias Ekstrom, from Sweden, in the race for Drivers’ Championship points at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as he qualified fifth in the Intermediate Classification, with Ekstrom the top qualifier.
Double World RX Champion (2017 and 2018) Kristoffersson got the upper hand over 2016 Champion Ekstrom in the semi-final stages, and used superior pace to beat 2019 Drivers’ Champion Timmy Hansen, from Sweden, in the final.
Kristoffersson started second in the final and survived contact with Norway’s Andreas Bakkerud at the first corner to take the lead of the race. The turn one incident – in which Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel’s Bakkerud was forced into the wall on the inside of the track – ended the Norwegian’s race, his Renault Megane getting hit by the Audi S1 of KYB Team JC’s Robin Larsson from Sweden, who also retired.
Kristoffersson led the final for the first three laps before taking his joker lap – an alternative route that every driver must take at least once in every race – which gave Team Hansen’s Timmy Hansen, from Sweden, the lead. Hansen took his joker on lap six and Kristoffersson moved back into the lead to take victory. Hansen (Peugeot 208) added a second place to his victory from round seven in the Logitech G FIA World RX of Pirineus-Barcelona 2030. Sweden’s Anton Marklund, the GCK Bilsten driver, claimed his first podium of the season with third in a Renault Megane RS RX.
Ekstrom was classified fourth after a problem in the final with his Audi S1. He did however claim victory in round eight of the Champion Fast Start Award and KYB Team JC continues to lead the World RX Teams’ Championship standings.
“I had a great start in the final, I saw Andreas drop back, I didn’t expect him to be there – I thought he was further back than he was. I couldn’t do anything different be honest, but from there on we jokered before Timmy today, I saw Timmy had four new tyres but I had two new tyres and I gave it absolutely everything to manage to beat him. I’m just so happy, we had pace all day but couldn’t really show it, I had traffic in every session. The semi-final was very nice and then in the final we had good pace. It’s a big relief,” said winner Kristoffersson.
Hansen holds third in the World RX Drivers’ standings. “For the weekend as a whole, it’s a fantastic result, we’ve been putting in a lot of work and it’s really paid off. The win yesterday will definitely be the highlight, I will carry that with me. Today it didn’t quite go our way, I think our pace was maybe better at points, but the race didn’t go our way. I was lucky in the final with the carnage, I came out quite well and after that I tried to take the battle to Johan but today it went to him, so congratulations to him. I’m very happy, it’s been a fantastic weekend for us,” he said.
Marklund was delighted to score his first podium of 2020. “It’s a big relief because we had a podium in round one at Holjes where we finished third, but unfortunately got a punishment and got moved down. After that we haven’t really had the pace and the team has been working so hard. Bilstein has been working so hard too and now it starts to pay off. The car is behaving very well and we have the pace. It was a bit of a struggle in the final because I was on four used tyres, and already on lap one I thought the others were too quick for me, but we managed to hold it together and climbed up to third place. I’m really pleased,” said Marklund.
GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm, from Finland, and Timur Timerzyanov, from Russia were fourth and fifth in the team’s Hyundai i20s in semi-final two. Belgium’s Enzo Ide made his first ever World RX semi-final for Team JC Raceteknik and finished sixth in semi-final two with an Audi S1. Team Hansen’s Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208), from Sweden, qualified for the front row of semi-final one with third in the Intermediate Classification but lost time in traffic and ended up fourth. Germany’s Timo Scheider was fifth in semi-final one with ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Seat Ibiza and Hungary’s Tamas Karai (Audi S1) finished sixth.
ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Mandie August (Seat Ibiza), from Germany, qualified 13th in the Intermediate Classification in her second ever World RX start. Xite Racing’s Oliver Bennett (BMW Mini), from Great Britain was 14th, France’s Patrick Guillerme (Hyundai i20) was 15th and Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel’s Liam Doran (Renault Megane), from Great Britain scored the final Championship point in 16th.
Switzerland’s Yuri Belevskiy (Audi A1) claimed his second victory of the weekend in round two of the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600. The Volland Racing driver took maximum points from the Intermediate Classification, semi-final and final victory to extend his Championship lead. Russia’s Marat Kniazev (Audi A1) finished second and Hungary’s Gergely Marton (Audi A1) completed the podium. Russia’s Artur Egorov (Audi A1), Portugal’s Joao Ribeiro (Skoda Fabia) and Czech Republic’s Josef Susta (Skoda Fabia) completed the final finishers.
Paul Bellamy, Senior Vice President of Motorsports Events at IMG, concluded: “Congratulations to Johan for another victory in his quest to win the 2020 World RX Drivers’ Championship. It was brilliant to see our 2019 title protagonists, Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud battling back at the front where they belong this weekend and it’s a huge shame that Andreas was unable to challenge for a podium finish today. Well done to Timmy and Anton for finishing on the podium and to Yuri for his double victory in Euro RX Super1600 this weekend. I’m sure all of the teams and drivers will be working hard now ahead of the next round at Spa-Francorchamps.”
The ninth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at the Spa World RX of Benelux (21-22 November).
More info! www.fiaworldrallycross.com