Johan Kristoffersson made rallycross history today as the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver became the first driver to win four consecutive rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. It is also the Swede’s eighth podium in a row – another World RX record. Frenchman Sebastien Loeb finished second at the Bretagne World RX of France in front of a home crowd of 75,000 while reigning World RX Champion Mattias Ekstrom rounded out the podium.
In the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires, Frenchman Cyril Raymond was crowned the 2017 Champion on home soil. There is still one RX2 round remaining [Gumtree World RX of South Africa] but Raymond seals the title early as no driver can mathematically beat him on points. Belgium’s Guillaume De Ridder finished runner-up, while Russia’s Vasily Gryazin took the third podium spot in his best finish of the year.
“This is fantastic, I am so confident with the car and it is a result of the hard work from the team,” enthused Kristoffersson, who has extended his lead at the top of the World RX driver standings over team-mate Petter Solberg by 46 points. Kristoffersson was also awarded the Monster Energy Super Charge Award for his rapid start off the line in today’s final.
The 28-year-old, who took a lights-to-flag victory, added: “The weather was on my side and I am lucky that I have such an experienced team-mate like Petter who I can take advantage of – his information is invaluable. Of course it’s always easy when we have two drivers who are pushing and learning from each other but the team-work from everyone within PSRX Volkswagen Sweden is something that money can’t buy. We are now leading the teams’ standings by 112 points and of course that is the main priority but we continue to work hard and hopefully the driver wins will continue at the same time.”
Runner-up Loeb, who led Kristoffersson after day one’s two qualifying sessions, added: “Of course I would have preferred to win but it was a fantastic weekend. This time I felt that we were really in a fight with Volkswagen and that we could have finished on top of the podium. Johan [Kristoffersson] was so fast in the final but I had a good drive in conditions that were very tricky. Myself and Timmy were fighting at the top this weekend so it is looking good for the next couple of rounds. I will aim for a win in Latvia but in rallycross anything can happen and we still have some areas where we need to improve. Like Johan said, it is good to have a team-mate who you can learn from – Timmy and I study the data and work well together, he was unlucky in the final.”
Last year’s World RX Champion Ekstrom was back on the podium for the first time since Hockenheim RX. “It’s great to be back in the top three – as a team we can be happy and build on this good result,” enthused Ekstrom. “I am looking forward to both Riga and Buxtehude – we have tested at both tracks recently and hopefully we can be a bit closer to the top guys again. Small margins are very important in rallycross and hopefully we can nail qualifying next time and get back on pole for the semi-final.”
Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud finished fourth after a solid weekend in the Ford Focus RS RX Supercar. A front-right puncture for Solberg in today’s final thwarted the Norwegian’s progress and he eventually finished fifth. Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen won the second semi-final in order to start on the front row of today’s final alongside Kristoffersson. The Swede won Loheac RX two years ago but was unable to repeat the victory following a gearbox problem, forcing him to retire on lap four of the final.
America’s Ken Block finished seventh overall, the Hoonigan Racing Division driver having had an impressive weekend after lying third overnight after day one. Last year’s Euro RX champion Kevin Hansen finished eighth, while MJP Racing Team Austria’s Timo Scheider ended the event in ninth place. STARD’s Janis Baumanis rounded out the top ten, while EKS team-mates Topi Heikkinen and Reinis Nitiss finished 11th and 12th respectively.
In the penultimate round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship (Euro RX), Norwegian Thomas Bryntesson took a well-deserved victory to be best of the 35 Supercars competing in the fully-subscribed category. “This is the best result of my career,” beamed Bryntesson who finished runner-up in RX2’s precursor, RX Lites last year. Hungary’s Tamas Pal Kiss finished runner-up, while the 2016 French Rallycross Champion Firmin Cadeddu took the third podium spot. Sweden’s Anton Marklund finished fourth and continues to lead the standings by 18 points (despite a five-point penalty for receiving a third reprimand).
Round ten of the World Championship moves to Eastern Europe as World RX prepares for the second-ever Neste World RX of Latvia in downtown Riga (15-17 September).