Johan Kristoffersson (Audi S1) won the sixth round of the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on Sunday (October 10), his second win in World RX this season. He beat Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208) and Krisztián Szabó (Hyundai i20) in the final. In the supporting RX2e category Guillaume De Ridder (RX2e) won the penultimate round of the championship.
Dutchman Kevin Abbring (Renault Megan Mk4) was the top qualifier in Belgium after having set fastest times in Q1 and Q4. Johan Kristoffersson, fastest in Q2, qualified second ahead of Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208) and Niclas Grönholm (Hyundai i20). The latter drove to the fastest time on Sunday morning during Q3. Kevin Hansen completed the top five of the intermediate classification.
In the first semi-final with Kevin Abbring and Timmy Hansen on the front row, the first named had a brilliant start and came out of the first turn leading it all the way towards the hairpin. Unfortunately for Abbring, in the hairpin their was contact with the Peugeot of Timmy Hansen leaving the Renault Megane with a broken rear left suspension. By the end of the first lap, Timmy Hansen was leading it ahead of Timo Scheider (SEAT Ibiza Mk4) and Kevin Hansen. The last named then passed Scheider to climb to second however later on Scheider was forced to retire from his semi-final. Eventually Timmy Hansen came in first ahead of Kevin Hansen and Anton Marklund who made it also through to the final. For the incident with Abbring, Timmy Hansen afterwards received a five seconds time penalty from the Stewards dropping him to third in the semi-final result and the last row on the grid for the final.
In the second semi-final the front row starters were Kristoffersson (pole) and Grönholm. The second row was occupied by Krisztián Szabó (Hyundai i20) and Enzo Ide (Audi S1). When the green light was shown Kristoffersson and Grönholm went side by side towards the first corner with Kristoffersson coming out of it first while Grönholm went into the outside and was suddenly down to sixth. Kristoffersson was leading it from Szabó and Ide until the Belgian passed through the joker lap section. Ide joined the main track again as fourth behind Grönholm. However, with Grönholm passing through the joker lap section Ide made it in third again and qualified for the final in his home event.
After the Stewards decisions were taken into account the grid for the final was composed with Kristoffersson and Kevin Hansen on the front row. Szabó and Marklund were placed on the second row while the third row was occupied byTimmy Hansen and Ide. Kristoffersson went into the lead when the final got underway with Kevin Hansen second and Szabó third. From there Kristoffersson stayed in the lead with Kevin Hansen a solid second. Both passed through the joker lap section in the final lap in order to come in first and second. The real battle in the final was the one for third place between Krisztián Szabó and Timmy Hansen with the first named resisting Hansen’s pressure lap after lap. He eventually came in third in the final and claimed his first podium of the season. Timmy Hansen finished fourth ahead of Ide in fifth and Marklund as last finisher in sixth.
“It feels fantastic to win here,” Kristoffersson said after his second win this season.
“I was comfortable pretty much from the start, and having not been to Spa before, I think it probably helped me that the track surface was a bit different compared to 2019 [plenty of drivers were complaining about a lack of a proper dirt section compared to 2019] as it meant the others didn’t have so much of a headstart.
“Our pace in both the semi-final and final was mega and every time you’re on the top step of the podium, you just want to enjoy the moment because you never know when you’ll be there again.
“Overall, we’ve made a good points gain in the championship so I’m very happy.”
In those standings Timmy Hansen remains in the lead having totalized 151 points. Kristoffersson is now second with 139 points and three more race to come. Third in the standings is Kevin Hansen (136 points).
Jesse Kallio (RX2e) claimed the top qualifier spot in RX2e, the official support category to the FIA World Rallycross Championship. He set a fastest time and three times a second fastest time. On Sunday, in Q3 and Q4, fastest times were set by championship points leader Guillaume De Ridder (RX2e) resulting in second place in the intermediate classification. Isak Sjökvist (RX2e) and Klara Andersson (RX2e) were third and fourth while the top five was completed by Patrick O’Donovan (RX2e).
The first semi-final was red flagged over halfway when Patrick O’Donovan hit the barriers and was unable to leave the car. Afterwards there was no re-run ordered and Jesse Kallio was declared winner. Together with Kallio also Isak Sjökvist and Filip Thorén (RX2e) – in his first RX2e race – made it through to the final. From the second semi-final Guillaume De Ridder (winner), Pablo Suárez (RX2e) and Klara Andersson – in her debut event – were through to the final.
The final with Kallio and De Ridder on the front row, Sjökvist and Suárez on the second row and Andersson and Thorén on the third row, went underway with De Ridder winning the start from Kallio. De Ridder kept the lead after the hairpin with Suárez passing through the joker lap section in the opening lap. Kallio decided to pass through the joker lap section in lap three. De Ridder was confident with his pace and stayed on the main track until the final lap. Then he passed through the joker lap section and won it from Jesse Kallio. Isak Sjökvist finished third and Klara Andersson made it in fourth in her first RX2e event.
The next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship is already taking place next weekend (October 16-17) at the Circuito Internacional de Montalegre at Montalegre in Portugal. The final round for the RX2e category is scheduled for November 27-28 at the Nürburgring Müllenbachschleife in Germany.
World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), Audi S1; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 3. Krisztián Szabó (H), Hyundai i20; 4. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 5. Enzo Ide (B), Audi S1; 6. Anton Marklund (S), Hyundai i20.
RX2e – Final: 1. Guillaume De Ridder (B), RX2e; 2. Jesse Kallio (FIN), RX2e; 3. Isak Sjökvist (S), RX2e; 4. Klara Andersson (S), RX2e; 5. Pablo Suárez (E), RX2e; 6. Filip Thorén (S), RX2e.
World RX (6/9): 1. Timmy Hansen (S), 151; 2. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 139; 3. Kevin Hansen (S), 136; 4. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 123; 5. Krisztián Szabó (H), 108; etc;
World RX Team (6/9): 1. Hansen World RX Team (S), 287; 2. GRX-SET World RX Team (FIN), 231; 3. KYB EKS JC (S), 211;
RX2e (4/5): 1. Guillaume De Ridder (B), 105; 2. Jesse Kallio (FIN), 96; 3. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 59; 4. Pablo Suárez (E), 59; 5. Isak Sjökvist (S), 56; etc.