After eighteen months away from the sport, Johan Kristoffersson mastered the wet conditions to win the opening round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Kristoffersson lined up on the pole for Semi-final one with Anton Marklund, Robin Larsson, Niclas Gronhölm, Krisztián Szabó, and Rokas Baciuška making up the rest of the grid. Kristoffersson nailed his start and led into turn one as Robin Larsson went up on two wheel on the inside, thankfully landing back on all four wheels. Kristofferrsson led from Gronhölm has Szabó made a great move on Baciuška for fourth. Gronhölm was piling the pressure on Kristoffersson but couldn’t find a gap so opted to joker on lap three.
Larsson jokered on lap five to cover off from a charging Marklund. The pair came together several times in a titanic battle with Larsson eventually able to get past the Megane but the stewards were investigating it. Baciuška then unfortunately pulled the Clio to the side of the road ending a disappointing day for GCK Unkorrupted. Kristoffersson then jokered on the last lap, just coming out in front of Gronhölm to win semi-final one and secure pole position. Larsson crossed the line in third but was later penalised for the contact with Marklund, meaning Marklund would advance to the final.
Semi-final two saw Mattias Ekström, Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Timo Scheider, Sebastian Eriksson, and Timur Timerzyanov lining up on the grid. Ekström led from the get-go, while Eriksson and Kevin Hansen came together in the joker, costing Hansen a chunk of time. An uneventful race saw Ekström take the win from Timmy Hansen and Scheider. The stage was set for the final.
A sudden downpour just before the start soaked the track and made the conditions even more unpredictable. Team members frantically started swapping the slick tyres for the wets and adjusting damper settings. No one knew what to expect.
Kristoffersson and Ekström lined up on row one, Hansen and Gronhölm behind them on row two, and Marklund and Scheider lined up on the back row. Kristoffersson absolutely nailed his start and pulled clear of the field into turn one. Contact between Hansen and Marklund sent Hansen into a high speed spin at the joker entry. He would retire later in the race. Kristoffersson led from Ekström.
The two former world champions put on a masterful display of wet weather driving, feeling their way around every corner, but Kristoffersson was unbeatable. He crossed the line to take his twenty-first win of his career and his first win since 2018. Ekström crossed the line for second and Marklund picked up a well-earned third place. However, he was later penalised for the contact with Timmy Hansen which dropped him to last, promoting Timo Scheider onto the podium.
Kristoffersson has shown that he is still as good as ever and he now leads the standings heading into round two which will take place tomorrow at the same track. Stay tuned for all the action.