Kristoffersson endures Hell to win World RX of Norway

Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Johan Kristoffersson leads the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship by eight points following his victory at the World RX of Norway.

The PSRX Volkswagen Sweden racer was up against Andreas Bakkerud, Sébastien Loeb, Mattias Ekström, Timmy Hansen and Timur Timerzyanov who made it in to the final for the first time this year.

The qualifying races saw four different winners, Ekström took Q1  in the pouring rain, while Bakkerud led the overnight standings after taking Q2. Johan Kristoffersson fought back to take Q3 before Petter Solberg took Q4, the Volkswagen’s handling so much better in the dry.

Former champion Solberg missed out on the finals after being knocked out by Timerzynanov and was visibly gutted to miss out on the home final.

Overall victor Kristoffersson was delighted to take a second victory of the year after a tough weekend that saw him come away with a foot injury on Friday.

“I have to thank my team and car – this is another really good result for us,” said Kristoffersson.

“In pre-grid on Friday, there was an unfortunate accident as my right foot got caught underneath Sebastien’s [Loeb] car. It needed to be reversed to get my foot back out which was really painful but nobody’s fault, just one of those things that happened.  

“As there wasn’t much time between the semi-final and final, that is when it was really bad but painkillers helped and I will go to the hospital tomorrow morning to get it properly looked at.”

Talking about the weekend performance the Swede commented, “In the dry, we were very quick this weekend. We tested here recently and we had a good idea about the set-up but it started to rain during practice and I couldn’t get the launches right.  Today felt much better but then I had a puncture in Q4. 

“In the final, I had the best launch all weekend and managed to get ahead of Andreas so I tried to close him off. From there, the car was working perfectly and I felt I was really flying so I’m very happy. I’m driving in the STCC next week and after that it’s Holjes – my home event hasn’t gone so well for me in the past but we’ll see how this year goes.”

Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Bakkerud secured the Monster Energy Super Charge Award for the fastest reaction time off of the line in the final as he took the runner-up spot in front of his home crowd.

“Johan was quicker than me in the final” commented Bakkerud. “I took my Joker on the second lap but went wide in the first corner so I lost some crucial time and Johan got out ahead. All credit to Johan as he won fair and square. 

“I have to admit that it’s my home event and we always want to do well here – as a Norwegian, you don’t want to have a Swedish flag on the top but a podium is always a great result. Generally, I am really happy with the car – I could have had a better launch and given more of a fight but we have to be happy with P2.”

Rally legend Loeb took another podium finish as he continues to improve.

“We didn’t have the speed of the top two today [Kristoffersson and Bakkerud] this weekend so I am very satisfied with P3.” commented Loeb.

“We had engine trouble in practice so we had to change the engine and then we were fifth overall going into the semi-finals. I had a very good start in my semi-final so I tried my best to push and finished second which put me on the second row of the final. 

“I had an excellent launch in the final – better than [Mattias] Ekstrom and I managed to close the door on him at the end of the straight. I had a very good run but couldn’t quite reach the pace of the top two.  We need to improve the agility of the car which is something we are working on.”

Reigning champion Ekström limited the points lost to Kristoffersson with a fourth place finish while Timmy Hansen took fifth place after an impressive comeback in Q4 to make it through to the finals.

Timur Timerzyanov impressed in the Ford Fiesta RXS Supercar as he took sixth place.

Following the weekend Johan Kristoffersson leads the championship with 151 points, Ekström is on 143 points with Solberg in third on 134 points.

Things are tight for the next three positions with Timmy Hansen and Sébastien Loeb are tied on 102 points with Andreas Bakkerud on 100 points.