Johan Kristoffersson delivered when it came down to the sixth round final of the FIA World Rallycross Championship clinching his fifth win of the season at the Benelux World RX at Spa-Francorchamps.
After setting the fastest time in the SuperPole single-lap shootout, the four-time RX World Champion had to wait until the final before winning again – as the heats, progression race and semi-final were all hard-fought.
The finale itself wasn’t an easy ride for the Kristoffersson Motorsport Volkswagen RX1e driver either, as he finished second to polesitter Timmy Hansen as he entered the Raidillon hairpin for the first time.
A chain reaction under hard braking resulted in Kristoffersson slamming into the rear of Hansen, sending the hapless Peugeot 208 RX1e driver into a skid.
When Kristoffersson took the lead and Hansen’s hopes of victory were dashed, it was Niclas Gronholm who was later revealed to be the culprit and given a five second time penalty that dropped him to fifth place behind Hansen.
Second place went to Kevin Hansen who was delayed by the Raidillon mêlée but showed good speed on another day that could have been for the Hansen World RX Team as he won his progression race and beat Kristoffersson to the semifinals relegated second place. last stage.
The joy was overwhelming for Gustav Bergstrom, who finished third in just his sixth World RX race to take his maiden podium finish.
The 19-year-old wasn’t sure he’d even made it to the final – until Klara Andersson was disqualified from her semi-final race after being ruled at fault for a first corner collision that ruled him and René Munnich out of the race.
Ole Christian Veiby’s outstanding podium finish came to an end when he failed to reach a final for the first time this year after numerous problems with his Volkswagen RX1e. He’ll be ready to hit back on day two of the Belgian doubles race on Sunday when round seven of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place.
“We started with a high and ended with a high,” Kristoffersson said.
“It was pretty tricky at times. We didn’t have the best start in race one and from then on we always seemed to be fighting from behind and with such tight lap times we didn’t have enough pace to make the difference with the joker strategy.
“I feel sorry for Timmy – he was in a winning position in the final and really didn’t deserve it. On the way to the hairpin, a small train came from behind and he was thrown around. It wasn’t his day. It turned out to be my day, but obviously it’s a bit bittersweet. I am most happy for Gustav – to be on the podium so early in his World RX career is fantastic. Congratulations to him.”
The FIA RX2e and Euro RX1 Rallycross Championships were also in action, with the first heats of the weekend taking place.
Nils Andersson and Isak Sjökvist each won an RX2e heat while Patrick O’Donovan was a quick and lively second fastest in both sessions. Championship leader Viktor Vranckx is fourth after admitting a number of errors including a contact with the wild card lap wall.
Despite the accusation of “not really pushing hard enough”, newly crowned FIA European Rallycross Champion Anton Marklund leads the way in Euro RX1, Montalegre winner Enzo Ide just ahead of arch-rival Jānis Baumanis in the duel for runner-up Beute.
Tomorrow’s competitive action kicks off with the World RX SuperPole session at 09:35 CET, followed by the first race of the day at 11:10 CET.
All the action – including behind-the-scenes insights, driver interviews, in-depth expert analysis, drone footage, onboard cameras, highlights and more – will be streamed live on RX+
FINAL RESULT: World RX Round 6
1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (SWE) Kristoffersson Motorsport 5 laps
2. Kevin HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team +4.837s
3. Gustav BERGSTRÖM (SWE) Gustav Bergstrom + 5.757 s
4. Timmy HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team +8.546s
5. Niclas GRÖNHOLM (FIN) dealer team construction machinery + 12.091s