The bank holiday weekend saw the fourth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship take place at Lydden Hill Race Circuit. Two drivers who once more proved the pace of their cars at the event were the Volkswagen RX Sweden drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Anton Marklund and both managed to qualify for the semi-finals.
The team had a strong start to the weekend overall, with Marklund finishing third fastest in Saturday mornings free practice session. He finished one place ahead of American Tanner Foust, who had become the third Volkswagen RX Sweden car for the event.
At the end of the first day, Marklund and Kristoffersson had finished in seventh and eighth place respectively. The Sunday then saw both drivers progress through Q3 and Q4 to reach the semi-finals. Unfortunately, neither of the drivers got through the semi-finals to reach the final, with Marklund becoming stuck behind another driver, and Kristoffersson, despite looking as though he would progress, getting an unlucky puncture which put him out of the running.
Kristoffersson commented upon his weekend, saying; “we had some small issues in practice which continued into Q1, but we had a good race and finished fifth. In Q2 it wasn’t the best but we managed to be tenth. We improved the car a lot for Sunday but we’re still missing some speed, we need to find a few tenths. In the semi-final I was in the position to move into the final but we had a puncture.”
Marklund, although failing to reach the final, was hugely optimistic about the pace of the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar, commenting that, “we showed great speed here, especially in practice. We ended third after a really good drive in Q1, but in Q2 I struggled a bit in the dust. Unfortunately, in Q3 I got a puncture, which put me into 11th in the Intermediate Classification. In Q4 the track was watered before our race so the track got faster, but I was really happy to stay P11 for the semi-finals. In the semis, the pace really was there; it’s just a pity that we got stuck behind Kevin Eriksson because we could have made the final. Semi-finals is good, but the pace was certainly there for better than that. I’m looking forward to the next race in Norway, a track I really like.”
In comparison, Foust had a nightmare weekend as electrical issues that plagued him on Saturday forced him out of the competition early on the Sunday. However, he was still pleased to be racing for the Volkswagen RX Sweden team, commenting that, “I knew the car was faster than I was able to show on the first day, I made a few small mistakes, but unfortunately we had some problems today that just couldn’t be solved. It’s awesome to come to a track I know. After practice I was fourth quickest but I felt like I had made some errors and there was more pace to come. The level is very high; you really cannot afford to make mistakes. The team has built a great car and I’m looking forward to getting another chance in it in Germany.”
The team principal of Volkswagen RX Sweden, Michael Schneider, saw it a huge accomplishment for the team to have both cars in the semi-final: “It’s very positive that we have both cars in the semi-finals for the second event in a row. The pace was good, but we lost time with punctures during the event which was unfortunate,” said Schneider. “Johan is still third in the standings so that is good. We’re looking forward to continuing our good pace into the next event.”
Round five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship will be taking place in Hell, Norway, on June 11/12.