With a fifth win out of six races Kristoffersson Motorsports’ Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) won another round of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Champion today (October 8) at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. With Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) and Gustav Bergstrom (VW Polo RX1e) finishing second and third ‘Benelux World Rallycross of Spa-Francorchamps’ saw a complete Swedish podium.
After a three week break the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship resumed in Belgium at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Winner of four rounds so far (out of five) Johan Kristoffersson set the pace on Saturday morning with being fastest in the practice session ahead of Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) and Kevin Hansen. Afterwards he also set the fastest time over one lap on the track to win the SuperPole once more ahead of the Hansen brothers. Kristoffersson’s teammate Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) was forced to remain in the paddock during the SuperPole following some technical issues during practice.
In the first heat Kristoffersson was missing out on his start and finished third in his first heat race. Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e), who won the last race in Portugal three weeks ago, was fastest ahead of Timmy Hansen. In the second heat – that was ran with six cars as Veiby and René Münnich (SEAT Ibiza RX1e) did not make it to the start – Timmy Hansen was fastest. He drove to victory in the first race. Afterwards Grönholm won the second race and signed for the second fastest time.
Following the ranking after two heats, two progression races went underway to decide the starting grid for the semi-finals. Winners of the progression races were Timmy Hansen, beating Kristoffersson, and Kevin Hansen. Then the first semi-final came to an end in the first corner for Gustav Bergström and René Münnich. Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) passed the finish line first ahead of Timmy Hansen. Afterwards the start incident was investigated by the Stewards of the Meeting and Andersson got disqualified. Grönholm then had a perfect launch in the second semi-final and won it from lights to flag. Kevin Hansen came in second after he won it from Kristoffersson on the final jump before the finish line. The top three of the second semi-final went through to the final.
The grid for the final was eventually composed with Grönholm, both of Hansen World RX Team drivers, championship points leader Kristoffersson and Gustav Bergström. The latter was brought in following the disqualification of Klara Andersson from the first semi-final. When the green light was shown Timmy Hansen had the better start from pole and led the field up to the Raidillon where he spun his car in the hairpin allowing Kristoffersson to go into the lead. He kept the lead for the remaining part and won his fifth race in the 2022 series. Kevin Hansen came in second and Bergström, who was initially not in the final, completed the podium. Grönholm and Timmy Hansen finished as fourth and fifth. After the Stewards gave a time penalty to Grönholm and therefore Timmy Hansen became fourth in the final result.
“We started on a high and ended on a high,” Kristoffersson said afterwards. “In-between, it was quite tricky. We didn’t get the best start in heat one, and from there we always seemed to be fighting from behind and with the lap times so tight, we didn’t quite have enough pace to make the difference with the joker strategy.”
In the championship standings Kristoffersson totals now 111 points, 33 points clear on Kevin Hansen and Ole Christian Veiby who are respectively second and third with 78 points.
Also in Spa-Francorchamps RX2e, the official support category to the FIA World Rallycross Championship, is out for their fourth race of the championship. Nils Andersson (RX2e) and Isak Sjökvist (RX2e) set fastest times today and are going first and second after two heats. Championship points leader Viktor Vranckx (RX2e) set twice a fifth time and is currently fifth overnight.
The FIA European Rallycross Championship for RX1 cars sees its final round this weekend at Francorchamps however the championship has been decided already as Anton Marklund (Hyundai i20) was crowned during the previous round in Portugal. Portugal winner Enzo Ide (Audi S1) set the fastest time on home soil in the first heat. In the second heat the Belgian set a third time overall as he had to battle it out with Miko Liimatainen (Ford Fiesta Mk7) in his heat race. Eventually he is second overnight behind 2022 champion Anton Marklund who was fastest in the second heat and second fastest in the first heat. Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208), who is in the running for second place in the championship, goes third overnight ahead of Juha Rytkönen (Hyundai i20).
The action at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps continues tomorrow with round 7 of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship as well as the remaining heats, semi-finals and finals for the RX2e and the Euro RX1 categories.
World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 3. Gustav Bergström (S), VW Polo RX1e; 4. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 5. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e.
World RX Team: 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 28; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 28; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 20.
RX2e (after two heats): 1. Nils Andersson (S), 90; 2. Isak Sjökvist (S), 90; 3. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 90; 4. Pablo Suárez (E), 84; 5. Viktor Vranckx (B), 78; etc.
Euro RX1 (after two heats): 1. Anton Marklund (S), 95; 2. Enzo Ide (B), 92; 3. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 83; 4. Juha Rytkönen (FIN), 82; 5. Sivert Svardal (N), 76; etc.
World RX (6/11): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 111; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), 78; 3. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 78; 4. Timmy Hansen (S), 78; 5. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 71; etc.
World RX Team (6/11): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 189; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 156; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 132.