Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) remains unbeaten in the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship after winning round 4 of the championship today (September 17) at Montalegre in Portugal. His teammate at Kristoffersson Motorsport, Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e), finished second while Timmy Hansen (Peugeot RX1e) came in third.
The all-electric 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship resumed at Montalegre in the north of Portugal this weekend with rounds 4 and 5 but also with a change to the track. The entry of the joker lap section, which was in the first corner, has been moved further on with the entry of it between turn two and turn three. The exit of the joker lap section is now before turn six. The old joker lap section on the other hand is now part of the main track.
The Portuguese weekend went underway with a free practice session with Johan Kristoffersson fastest ahead of Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 Rx1e) and Timmy Hansen. Next on was the so-called SuperPole shootout. Regarding this SuperPole the Stewards of the Meeting amended with immediate effect the ‘rule’ for it following a bulletin that was released on Friday morning. In the previous events this year the starting positions were determined by the SuperPole classification. After the amendment its now up to the driver winning the SuperPole to choose first his starting position, then the driver who finished second and so on. This way it can be avoided that the SuperPole winner is forced to start on a position (i.e. the pole in the first race) that, for whatever reason, turns out not being the optimal one. The Saturday SuperPole, ran in reverse order of the championship standings, went to Kristoffersson and as such he was able to choose the “best” starting position for the first heat. Second was his teammate Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) with Niclas Grönholm third.
The first heat saw two races with Kristoffersson only in the second race as he picked pole for race 2. Eventually Kristoffersson Motorsport with Kristoffersson and Veiby made it one and two in the first heat. Timmy Hansen was third ahead of Grönholm. The second heat went underway without Ole Christian Veiby as his car was not repaired in time after he hit the wall shortly after the finish of the second race in the first heat.
Also the progression races went underway without Veiby. Teammate Kristoffersson then recorded a DNF after he retired from the first progression race with a double rear puncture. Following the progression race results Grönholm, Gustav Bergström (VW Polo RX1e), Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) and Veiby – who was allowed to start following a Stewards Decision – were in the first semi-final while Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e), René Münnich (SEAT Ibiza RX1e) and Kristoffersson were starting in the second semi-final.
Veiby had the better start from the outside in the first semi-final and went into the lead after the first corner and was able to keep it until the end. Gustav Bergström came in second and was another direct qualifier for the final. Grönholm had his part of bad luck when he damaged his rear suspension while overtaking his teammate Klara Andersson. Consequently he was out for the final after a fourth place finish. Kristoffersson, starting from P5 on the grid in the second semi-final, tried to copy the action from Veiby, however the Hansen brothers were one and two after the first turn. Kristoffersson then entered the joker lap section and started chasing the Hansen brothers in order to overtake them one by one and make the second semi-final his. Timmy and Kevin Hansen came in second and third and were both through to the final.
Kristoffersson was on pole for the final with beside him his teammate Veiby. Timmy Hansen was placed third. When the green light was shown all went side by side towards the first corner. When coming out of it Kristoffersson took the lead ahead of Veiby, Kevin Hansen and Timmy Hansen. The latter went into the joker lap section in the third lap and had to battle it out with Bergström to regain his fourth place. The top 3 then went into the joker lap section only in the final lap. Timmy Hansen was able to win one place and became third behind the Kristoffersson Motorsport drivers. With less than a lap to go Kristoffersson drove to his fourth consecutive win in the championship this season with Ole Christian Veiby and Timmy Hansen the other podium finishers. In the standings Kristoffersson remains op top of the list with maximum amount of points (80).
“What a day this was, just unbelievable,” Kristoffersson said afterwards. “Both Ole Christian [Veiby] and I had to fight back, which thankfully we managed to do. I was a bit worried after getting the punctures in the progression race, and that was on my mind in the final, so I was trying to play it as safe as I could.
“I’m really happy for Ole Christian [Veiby] to finish second after the way his day began, and for us to take a one-two finish on pure pace, with Gustav [Bergström] reaching the final again as well, was just fantastic.”
At Montalegre also the penultimate rounds of the 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 and RX3 cars are taking place. Both categories are run as a single header event with the first and second qualifying heats taking place on the first day of the event.
In Euro RX1 championship leader Anton Marklund (Hyundai i20) can secure himself the title this weekend. To prevent this, Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208), second in the standings before Montalegre, needs a win this weekend with Marklund only finishing third or lower in the final result. Baumanis started the weekend well by setting the fastest time in the first qualifying heat while Marklund set a third fastest time. Afterwards in the second heat both were in the same race and were racing each other until in the final lap Baumanis made contact with Marklund who was exiting the joker lap section. The Swede had some luck on his side and was able to continue his way resulting in a race win and setting a second fastest time. Baumanis received a reprimand afterwards from the Stewards following the incident with Marklund. Leading overnight in Euro RX1 is Enzo Ide (Audi S1) who was fastest in the second heat and second fastest in the first heat. Marklund goes in second while Baumanis is currently third.
In Euro RX3 is Kobe Pauwels (Audi A1) the guy to watch as he can secure himself the title as well this weekend. Other contenders for the title are Damian Litwinowicz (Audi A1) and João Ribeiro (Audi A1). After two qualifying heats, Jan Černý (Škoda Citigo) is leading it overnight from Pauwels with Litwinowicz and Ribeiro third and fourth respectively.
The action on the track continues tomorrow Sunday with round 5 of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship and the remaining heats, semi-finals and finals for the Euro RX1 and Euro RX3 categories.
World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e; 2. Ole Christian Veiby (N), VW Polo RX1e; 3. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 4. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 5. Gustav Bergström (S), VW Polo RX1e.
World RX Team: 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 36; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 25; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 19.
Euro RX1 (after two heats): 1. Enzo Ide (B), 95; 2. Anton Marklund (S), 87; 3. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 82; 4. Ulrik Linnemann (DK), 82; 5. Tamás Kárai (H), 79; etc.
Euro RX3 (after two heats): 1. Jan Černý (CZ), 95; 2. Kobe Pauwels (B), 92; 3. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), 87; 4. João Ribeiro (P), 80; 5. Nils Volland (D), 77; etc.
World RX (4/11): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 80; 2. Timmy Hansen (S), 54; 3. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 54; 4. Kevin Hansen (S), 53; 5. Gustav Bergström (S), 42; etc.
World RX Team (4/11): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 134; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 107; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 79.