Volkswagen RX Sweden scored their first podium finish of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship after Johan Kristoffersson took third place at the World RX of Canada at the wheel of his Volkswagen Polo Supercar.
The recent upgrades made to the Volkswagen Polo’s over the summer break became evident as Kristoffersson stayed with the front runners during Qualifying with his lowest finishing position of 7th place happening in Q2 whilst he went on to take the heat win in Q3 and confirm his place in the top 12 to qualify for the Semi-Finals. Despite his speed in Q3, the Swedish driver took second place in Semi-Final One as Petter Solberg romped to the victory and this confirmed his place in the Supercar Final. The former STCC champion kept his start clean in the Final where he took his joker on lap one and was able to stay ahead of Topi Heikkinen in the EKSRX Audi S1 to guarantee the final place on the podium.
Kristoffersson was overjoyed at taking his first podium finish of the year, “We’ve been so close to the podium many times this season and had the pace on a lot of weekends. Now finally it paid off,”
“This weekend has been really tough. Petter [Solberg] was outstanding in the semi-final but then the rain arrived. I really like the rain and our car is really good in the rain. In the first two laps of the final I was very, very quick and was catching the guys in front. I felt like I was so close to be higher on the podium but it feels really great to finally be here.
“Now I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.” he added.
Anton Marklund enjoyed another weekend of improved form as he got to grips with the VW Polo on the tricky Trois-Rivieres street circuit. The young Swedish driver used consistency to good effect as he was quick enough to stay inside the top ten all through Qualifying, which confirmed him a place in the Semi-Finals.
In Semi-Final one Marklund managed to stay in touch with his team-mate after taking the joker on lap one and stayed ahead of Sebastien Loeb in the dusty conditions to secure his place on the back row in the Final, where he fended of Solberg before losing out on the final lap to the double World RX champion. However he suffered a front brake failure across the finish line and this saw Marklund slide into the back of the double WRX champion’s Citroen.
Marklund explained his joy at the weekends work, but also expressed concern for Solberg, “I pushed really hard in the semi-final, the pace was really there and we set some great lap times,” said Marklund. “It was nice to have the pace to come through to the final from the last row in the semis, like at Holjes. Hopefully next time I will qualify for the front row and make life a bit easier.
“In the final we put rain tyres on with a dry setup. I touched a wall on lap one, which damaged my left rear tyre. I was struggling a lot, I tried to keep Petter behind but on the last lap he managed to get passed me. Unfortunately when I was braking after the finish line I had a front brake failure, the car locked up at the rear and I slide into Petter. I’m fine, I just have some sore muscles and I really wish Petter all the best.”
The team now heads to the World RX of France, which takes place on 2-4 September, looking for further podium finishes.