FIA World Rallycross

PREVIEW: 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship – Montalegre, Portugal

3 Mins read
An all too familiar sight for the rest of the World RX field, as Kristoffersson leads the way. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

The 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship is heading back to where it all began. The second double-header event of the season takes place on 17/18 September with the Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal at Montalegre, where the drivers will be hoping to end the dominant reign of four-time world champion Johan Kristoffersson.

Montalegre hosted the first ever round of the World Rallycross Championship back in 2014. For those unacquainted with international rallycross circuits, it quickly became a firm favourite, situated as it is some 1,000m above sea level in the middle of the beautiful Vila Real mountains. It’s a circuit where getting into the flow of the undulating turns is crucial, as is the ability to adapt. The ever-changeable weather led to WorldRX’s first final in the snow back in 2018.

In 2014, the question was could anyone match the blistering pace of Petter Solberg. While the championship has changed dramatically since its inception, the question of trying to bring down a giant of the sport remains the same. Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson entered this year with an extraordinary track record, winning more races and championship titles than anyone else in the sport’s short history. He has certainly proved his dominance in the new RX1e all electric class at the pinnacle of the sport, having won every single event so far this year. And he has not had it all his own way either. In every case, he has had to fight to get his Volkswagen Polo RX1e to the front of the field, which begs the question of his rivals: how on Earth are they going to stop him?

The Hansen World RX Team aim to score their first RX1e victory in Montalegre. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

Leading the fight back against the mighty Kristoffersson is the Hansen World RX Team fraternal pairing of Timmy and Kevin Hansen. Kevin was the driver to beat for the majority of Saturday last time out in Riga, and team principal Kenneth Hansen is certain there is more to be gained from the car. “It should have been so much more, especially on Sunday. We should have managed the tactics better in the final but we will learn from this,” Kenneth said, reporting on the action from Latvia. “We didn’t have the speed on Saturday but managed to get a good result in the end, then we put our heads together and tried some strange things with the cars. You need to risk things sometimes to be able to win and we managed to get the cars better. With an improved set up and better tactical nous, maybe Portugal is where it will all come together for the family team.

However, they will have to contend with not one but three Kristoffersson Motorsport drivers. Ole Christian Veiby is now a regular sight on the WorldRX podium, learning the sport having spent seven years away from it. Another fast learner is the third driver, Swedish teenager Gustav Bergström who earned high praise from all quarters in Latvia, demonstrating incredible quick starts and beautiful tactical driving which undoubtedly helped Kristoffersson to victory.

Never discount the Construction Equipment Dealer Team either. Klara Andersson had a difficult weekend in Latvia, but she made a fantastic debut in round one of the season in Norway, reaching the final at the first time of asking. She will be hungry to repeat that success. Niclas Grönholm has had a difficult start to the season. The multiple event winner has so far failed to finish on the podium this year, but if he is to get back to winning ways anywhere, it is likely to be here. In 2021, the Hansen brothers and Kristoffersson were scrapping throughout the final, allowing Grönholm to sneak through and claim a stunning victory. Don’t be surprised if he manages to pull off the same feat again this time round.

With two rounds of action taking place at a stunning location, a field closing up to the current leader, and a legendary driver leading the way, rounds four and five of the season are shaping up to be electrifying.

1Johan KRISTOFFERSSONSWEKristoffersson MotorsportSWEVolkswagen RX1e
12Klara ANDERSSONSWEConstruction Equipment Dealer TeamSWEPWR RX1e
17Gustav BERGSTRÖMSWEGustav BergströmSWEVolkswagen RX1e
21Timmy HANSENSWEHansen World RX TeamSWEPeugeot 208 RX1e
52Ole Christian VEIBYNORKristoffersson MotorsportSWEVolkswagen RX1e
68Niclas GRÖNHOLMFINConstruction Equipment Dealer TeamSWEPWR RX1e
71Kevin HANSENSWEHansen World RX TeamSWEPeugeot 208 RX1e
77René MÜNNICHDEUALL-INKL.COM Muennich MotorsportDEUSEAT Ibiza RX1e
The RX1e entry list for the 2022 Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal
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Lifelong fan of motor sport, covering the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the FIA WEC, the shortest and longest races covered by the FIA!
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