Kristoffersson fights back in South Africa for Win Number 11

by Phil Kinch

The final round of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship took place at Cape Town in South Africa and saw Johan Kristoffersson fightback from sixteenth place after Q1 to take his eleventh win of the season in the Supercar Final.

The 2018 World RX of South Africa has proven once again to be once of the more exciting additions to the World RX Calendar and the event at the Killarney International Raceway did not disappoint.

Petter Solberg misses out on a final podium of the year after spinning out during the Final. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

Whilst Sebastien Loeb was the overnight Top Qualifier in Cape Town, Kristoffersson secured wins in Q2, Q3 and Q4 to steal the overall Top Qualifier spot at the end of all four sessions, putting him in pole position for Semi-Final One. Loeb would finish second and took pole position for Semi-Final Two.

The Supercar Final saw Kristoffersson line up in pole position with team-mate Petter Solberg alongside, having won Semi-Final Two. The middle row saw Timmy Hansen line up with Loeb whilst Kevin Hansen, who survived his battle with Andreas Bakkerud in Semi-Final Two, lined up in fifth place with Mattias Ekstrom completing the grid.

Ekstrom managed to avoid the chaos and secure second in the Drivers Championship. Credit: Malte Christians / Audi Sport

The first turn at the Killarney International Raceway has proven that you can take one of several different lines and make up places and it did not disappoint in the Supercar Final. Solberg managed to jump Kristoffersson off the line, however it was Ekstrom who moved his EKS Audi Sport S1 Quattro up to third place by the time the field made it to the second chicane.

Whilst Kristoffersson took the lead at the second chicane, Ekstrom made contact with Solberg and this allowed both Timmy Hansen and Loeb to take their joker laps unhindered as the Audi chased the two Volkswagens into lap two.

Lap Two saw the race change completely as Solberg spun out of second place into turn three and Hansen, un-sighted as he drove through the dust, made contact with the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver which saw both cars retire on the spot. As Timmy managed to take the Peugeot out of the accident zone, Loeb narrowly avoided his team-mate as he came upon the stranded cars.

Loeb gave Team Peugeot Total a podium finish in their last World RX event. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

With Kristoffersson checked out in the lead, Ekstrom took his joker on lap three and came out ahead of Loeb, leaving the Team Peugeot Total driver to do all he could to try and pass the 2016 World RX Champion.

Kevin Hansen was holding fourth place after taking his joker on lap two as Loeb pushed hard to try make a move on Ekstrom in the remaining laps for second place.

Johan Kristoffersson crossed the line to take his eleventh win of the year with Mattias Ekstrom finishing second and securing second place in the Drivers Championship. Sebastien Loeb took third place and gave Team Peugeot Total a podium finish in their last World RX event. Kevin Hansen was fourth whilst Timmy Hansen and Petter Solberg were classified fifth and sixth respectively.

The 2019 FIA World RX Season gets underway in April, however there is an interesting winter ahead. Credit: Malte Christians / Audi Sport

Johan Kristoffersson, already crown 2018 World RX Champion at the inaugural World RX of the USA, ended the year with a ninety-three point gap over Ekstrom whilst Andreas Bakkerud finished in third place, a further eleven points back.

With PSRX Volkswagen Sweden crowned Teams Champions, they ended the season eighty-three points ahead of EKS Audi SportTeam Peugeot Total finished third overall, despite taking one race victory this season, sixty points behind Mattias Ekstrom’s outfit.

The 2019 FIA World Rallycross Championship gets under way with the inaugural World RX of the United Arab Emirates on April 5-6.

Related articles

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More