Kristoffersson dominates action-packed first day in Hell

by Vince Pettit

Johan Kristoffersson leads the way in Hell after topping both qualifying races at the World RX of Norway today.

Q1 saw plenty of excitement through the races including Grégoire Demoustier losing a wheel after making contact with a barrier, a jump start from Alex Wurz on his debut, Kristoffersson avoiding major damage after Kjetil Larsen heavily collided with him in to the first corner and some superb car control from Sébastien Loeb.

Petter Solberg set the benchmark time but team-mate Kristoffersson blitzed it by four tenths in his race, despite the collision with Larsen. Loeb would slot in to second place overall as he took the race win in a fantastic battle where he somehow managed to keep control of the car, despite it looking like it was heading in to a different direction.

Oliver Bennett showed progress as he got a fast start, but lost time in the final corners as he continues to learn circuits and what the XITE Racing Mini Cooper SX1 is capable of.

Both GC Kompeition cars of Guerlain Chicherit and Jerome Grosset-Janin suffered difficulties in their race, one not getting off of the line and the other stopping on the joker lap. Both cars would get going again, as they recorded the twentieth and twenty first fastest times.

The biggest surprise of the Qualifying 1 races was Kevin Hansen who took his first race win in World RX as him and brother Timmy stole the lead from Mattias Ekström.

Qualifying 2 was kicked off with the two GC Kompeition cars lining up alongside Demoustier, after almost getting caught up with each other, Grosset-Janin and Chicherit set the pace with the fastest Megane a benchmark time of 2:45.083. Max Pucher did not start the race after giving his gearbox to team-mate Wurz after issues in the first race.

The second race of Q2 saw two restarts after both Bennett and Wurz jumped the start; Tommy Rustad would go on to take the race win untroubled ahead of Larsen, Bennett and Wurz.

A fierce battle emerged in the third race of Q3 as Anton Marklund and Janis Baumanis battled hard in to the first corner, as they made contact they headed in to the joker lap, Rene Münnich would be an unfortunate victim in this battle as he got turned around by the charging pair. Leaving it to the last lap Kevin Eriksson came out of his joker lap millimetres ahead of Marklund, he defended hard through the next two corners to take the race win.

Mattias Ekström destroyed the timesheets in the fourth race as Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud battled door-to-door, a couple of small mistakes from Hansen saw the Norwegian close up, but the tight and twisty nature of the circuit meant he lost some time, the eventual result saw Niclas Gronholm steal third place on the final lap as Hansen and Bakkerud jokered.

Timerzyanov was the one who lost out as touched with Loeb through the first corner, the Russian’s race was over as he speared in to the wall on the exit of the joker. As the race continued Kristoffersson headed in to the lead, ultimately setting the fastest time of Q4 and topping the time sheets ahead of Ekstrom. Loeb and Solberg took second and third in the race to finish Q4 with the third and fourth fastest time.

With two victories, Kristoffersson leads the standings overnight ahead of Loeb and Solberg.

World RX of Norway – Intermediate standings

1.  Johan Kristoffersson - 100
2.  Sébastien Loeb - 87
3.  Petter Solberg - 82
4.  Mattias Ekström - 81
5.  Timmy Hansen - 77
6.  Kevin Hansen - 77
7.Andreas Bakkerud - 73
8.Niclas Grönholm - 72
9.Kevin Eriksson - 68
10.Robin Larsson - 68
11.Anton Marklund - 62
12.Timur Timerzyanov - 60
13.Tommy Rustad - 59
14.Joni-Pekka Rajala - 59
15.Jérôme Grosset-Janin - 56
16.Janis Baumanis - 56
17.Guerlain Chicherit - 54
18.Oliver Bennett - 54
19.Kjetil Larsen - 52
20.Alex Wurz - 51
21.René Münnich - 49
22.Grégoire Demoustier - 48
23. Max Pucher - 22

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