Four time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) won the opening round of the all-electric 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Hell (Lånkebanen) in Norway today (August 14). In a five-car final Kristoffersson beat Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) for the win. Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) completed the podium with a third place finish. In the other categories wins at Hell went to Viktor Vranckx (RX2e) in RX2e, Andreas Bakkerud (Audi S1) in Euro RX1 and Kobe Pauwels (Audi A1) in Euro RX3.
In World RX, or as such the RX1e category, on Sunday morning Johan Kristoffersson set another fastest time in the third heat ahead of Timmy and Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e). Afterwards the eight cars where separated following the ranking after three heats for two four-car progression races determining the grids for the semi-finals. Following the results of the progression races the first semi-final saw teammates Johan Kristoffersson and Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) together with Gustav Bergström (VW Polo RX1z) and René Münnich (SEAT Ibiza RX1e). Both of the Hansen brothers and both Construction Equipment Dealer Team cars were in the second semi-final. Kristoffersson was missing the start in the first semi-final and left the grid as fourth. Münnich’s semi-final was then halted in the third lap. When Bergström made it into the joker lap section the lap after, Veiby and Kristoffersson went one and two and finished also in these positions. In the second semi-final Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) went straight into the lead when starting from the outside of the grid while Timmy Hansen went into second and Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) in third. Kevin Hansen made contact with another car leaving him out with a broken suspension.
The grid for the final was formed by the top two of each semi-final together with Klara Andersson as best third place finisher. When the green light was shown it was Kristoffersson, starting from the third spot, who was able to pass the field on the inside and go into the lead after the first corner. He was followed by Timmy Hansen and Ole Christian Veiby. From the leading four the first ones to pass through the joker lap section were Hansen and Veiby in the penultimate lap allowing Klara Andersson to move from fourth to two in the race. In the final lap Kristoffersson and Andersson passed through the joker lap section joining the main track again as respectively race leader and fourth. Therefore Kristoffersson became the winner of the very first all-electric World RX event ahead of Timmy Hansen and Kristoffersson’s teammate Ole Christian Veiby.
“I’m super happy for the team most of all to finish one-three and be leading both the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships is an amazing effort,” Kristoffersson commented afterwards. “I was very disappointed after the semi-final, but it was fantastic to fight back. We went from a big low to a big high in the space of about half-a-hou. And, as a Swede, I’m not used to such major swings in emotion! But I’m so happy to win.” Second place finisher Timmy Hansen was also satisfied afterwards when looking back. “This is a very good result, I’m very happy for our guys and everyone in this championship for making this happen,” he said. “This is only the first race and things will get better still.”
In RX2e Viktor Vranckx was topping the list after three heats despite he had to deal with technical issues after a car contact in his race in the third heat. All of the 10 starters then took part in two five-car progression races for the semi-finals starting order. In those semi-finals, Viktor Vranckx drove to the win in the first one with Pablo Suárez (RX2e) finishing second and qualified for the final. The qualifiers for the final following the second semi-final were Swedes Isak Sjökvist (RX2e) and Nils Andersson (RX2e). Best third place finisher in the semis was Raul Ferré (RX2e) of Andorra. The final afterwards became a lights to flag victory for Viktor Vranckx, his second win of the season. After a solid drive of the Belgian, Nils Andersson came in second ahead of Isak Sjökvist. In the championship Vranckx (38 points) is not leading it with maximum points as he got penalized two championship points by the Stewards of the Meeting following decision 19 for a Parc ferme infringement. The decision reads that “[…] Team members poured several bottle of water over the driver […].”
After Anton Marklund (Hyundai i20) set another fastest time in the third heat all of the 18 starters were eligible for the progression races. The result of the progression races lead to a first semi-final with Marklund making it his. The second semi-final went to Andreas Bakkerud while Fraser McConnell (Hyundai i20) won the third semi-final. Sondre Evjen (Audi S1) and Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208) were the two best second place finishers and completed the line-up for the Euro RX1 final. When the final went underway McConnell got stuck on the starting grid and Marklund came out of the first turn with a damaged steering. It was Andreas Bakkerud who went into the lead ahead of Evjen and Baumanis. Also with the passings through the joker lap section the positions didn’t change and therefore it was a one two for Norwegians Bakkerud and Evjen during their home event. Marklund eventually got classified fourth and still leads the championship after three rounds with 52 points. He has a 17-point lead on Baumanis (35 points) and a 19-point lead on today’s winner Andreas Bakkerud (33 points).
In Euro RX3 10 out of the 11 cars that were allowed to start qualified for the progression races and as such for the semi-finals. Kobe Pauwels won the first semi-final ahead of Espen Isaksætre (Peugeot 208). The second semi-final went to Nils Volland (Audi A1) who won it from Damian Litwinowicz (Audi A1). Jan Černý (Škoda Citigo) was the best third place finisher and was allowed to take the start in the Euro RX3 final. Pauwels then had a good start in the final and went into the lead after turn one ahead of Volland and Litwinowicz. Černý took an early joker however it did not allow the Czech driver to win any place in the final. With first Litwinowicz, then Volland and then Pauwels – in the last lap – passing through the joker lap section every driver kept his racing position. Therefore the Euro RX3 became a complete podium lock out for Volland Racing and the Audi A1 cars. Kobe Pauwels climbed the highest step of the podium, celebrating his second win this season. Volland and Litwinowicz were on the second and third podium step. In the championship after three events Kobe Pauwels (56 points) currently holds a 20-points lead on João Ribeiro (36 points), who finished sixth today, and Damian Litwinowicz (36 points).
The next round of the championship is taking place in the beginning of September (September 3-4) at Biķernieki Sport Complex at Riga in Latvia.
World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e; 2. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 3. Ole Christian Veiby (N), VW Polo RX1e; 4. Klara Andersson (S), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 5. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e).
World RX Team: 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 33; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 25; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 23.
RX2e – Final: 1. Viktor Vranckx (B), RX2e; 2. Nils Andersson (S), RX2e; 3. Isak Sjökvist (S), RX2e; 4. Raül Ferré (AND), RX2e; 5. Pablo Suárez (E), RX2e.
Euro RX1 – Final: 1. Andreas Bakkerud (N), Audi S1; 2. Sondre Evjen (N), Audi S1; 3. Jānis Baumanis (LV), Peugeot 208 – DNF; 4. Anton Marklund (S), Hyundai i20; 5. Fraser McConnell (JAM), Hyundai i20 – DNF.
Euro RX3 – Final: 1. Kobe Pauwels (B), Audi A1; 2. Nils Volland (D), Audi A1; 3. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), Audi A1; 4. Jan Černý (CZ), Škoda Citigo; 5. Espen Isaksætre (N), Peugeot 208 – DNF.
World RX (1/11): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 20; 2. Timmy Hansen (S), 16; 3. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 13; 4. Klara Andersson (S), 12; 5. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 11; etc.
World RX Team (1/11): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 33; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 25; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 23.
RX2e (2/5): 1. Viktor Vranckx (B), 38; 2. Nils Andersson (S), 32; 3. Isak Sjökvist (S), 26; 4. Raül Ferré (AND), 24; 5. Pablo Suárez (E), 22; etc.
Euro RX1 (3/6): 1. Anton Marklund (S), 52; 2. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 35; 3. Andreas Bakkerud (N), 33; 4. Sivert Svardal (N), 24; 5. Enzo Ide (B), 22; etc;
Euro RX3 (3/5): 1. Kobe Pauwels (B), 56; 2. João Ribeiro (P), 36; 3. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), 36; 4. Jan Černý CZ), 30; 5. Marius Solberg Hansen (N), 29; etc.