After some incredible strategy during qualifying, Johan Kristoffersson dominated the final to win the fifth round of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Lining up for the first semi-final was Top Qualifier, Niclas Grönholm, with Mattias Ekström, Timmy Hansen, Krisztian Szabo, Reinis Nitiss, and Andreas Bakkerud. Ekström pulled alongside Grönholm into the first turn and the pair made contact. Ekström managed to hold the slide and took the lead. Hansen was pushed out wide which allowed Nitiss to take third to the delight of the Latvian crowd. Szabo jokered early to try and jump Nitiss but the Latvian managed to cover him off.
The pace of the Skoda wasn’t enough to see him get through however. The battle between Grönholm and Ekström came right down to the last corner with Ekström pipping Grönholm by just a tenth of a second on the line. Timmy Hansen held on to secure a spot in the final.
Lining up for the second semi-final were Kristoffersson, Robin Larsson, Kevin Hansen, Liam Doran, Timur Timerzyanov, and Timo Scheider. While Kristoffersson didn’t take the Top Qualifier spot, he had been saving tyres and started semi-final two on a brand new set while the others stayed on used.
Kristoffersson nailed his start and pulled a 1.4 second lead in the first sector. Larsson and Hansen fell back to second and third. Once again there were problems for Liam Doran who spun the car in the last corner and had to retire. Kristoffersson set the fastest lap of the weekend so far on his way to the win with Larsson in second and Kevin Hansen in third.
Kristoffersson lined up on the pole next to Ekström. Larsson and Grönholm lined up on row two with the Hansen brothers, Timmy & Kevin, lining up on the back row.
The tyre saving worked for Kristoffersson who rocketed off the line and shut the door on Grönholm. Chaos ensued as Larsson once again tried to go around the outside but ended up getting spun in front of the pack. This allowed Kevin Hansen to drive through to second place ahead of Ekström but Kristoffersson was a country mile in front.
Kevin Hansen jokered on lap two to cover off the early joker taken by Grönholm and succeeded. It was clear Grönholm was faster but he couldn’t find a way past. The pair made contact in turn three but Kevin still managed to stay in front. Ekström then jokered on lap four to cover Kevin off and he stayed in second.
Then on lap five Grönholm pushed too hard and went off at high speed into the barriers.He managed to get going again but the podium was gone. This allowed Timmy Hansen to joker and secure second.
Meanwhile Kristoffersson cruised to his third win of the year out front and the twenty-third win of his career. A dominant display. Ekström held on to take second place.
The action from Latvia resumes tomorrow so stay tuned to find out who will take the honours!