Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) won, after the first leg yesterday, also the second leg of the Belgian double header in the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Francorchamps today (October 9). Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) was second and Gustav Bergström (VW Polo RX1e) celebrated another third place finish. In the supporting categories wins in Belgium were for Patrick O’Donovan (RX2e) in RX2e and for Anton Marklund (Hyundai i20) in Euro RX1.
The second day at Spa-Francorchamps started with a RX1e practice session with both of the Kristoffersson Motorsport drivers on top of the list; this time Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) ahead of Johan Kristoffersson. Afterwards during the SuperPole Kristoffersson put his name again on top of the list with Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) and Veiby setting respectively a second and third time over one lap on the track.
In the first heat Kristoffersson had then to deal with a puncture on the right rear what made him setting the slowest time of all cars that finished the heat races. Timmy Hansen was fastest ahead of Veiby and his younger brother Kevin [Hansen] (Peugeot 208 RX1e). During the second heat Kristofferson won his heat race after a battle with Grönholm. As all drivers had to deal with punctures in the second heat race Kristoffersson’s time eventually became the fastest second heat time. Timmy Hansen came out on top of the ranking prior to the Progression Races.
Based on the Progression Races result Niclas Grönholm, Gustav Bergström, Timmy Hansen and Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) battled it out in the first semi-final. Grönholm and Bergström qualified for the final following the one and two finish. Klara Andersson finished third after she had to deal with a puncture and Timmy Hansen had to face suspension issues resulting in a fourth place finish and no final. The other drivers competed in the second semi-final where Kristoffersson took the win ahead of Kevin Hansen. Ole Christian Veiby came in third and joined the Swedes into the final.
When the green light was shown in the final race of the day Kristoffersson reached the first corner leading it from Grönholm, Bergström and Kevin Hansen, with the latter passing through the joker lap section in the opening lap. When Grönholm passed through the joker lap section he joined the main track again as fourth behind Kevin Hansen. Grönholm then climbed to third and afterwards to second when Bergström passed through the joker lap section. Kristoffersson was out of reach and recorded another win in the FIA World Rallycross Championship – his sixth (out of seven) this season . Bergström finished similar as yesterday on the podium. Kevin Hansen was the last finisher in fourth while Veiby was not able to finish following steering issues.
“You need to be in the right place at the right time, and thankfully, we were,” Kristoffersson commented. “The team is delivering a perfect car every time we go out and we worked hard on our starts today, because they weren’t the best yesterday. That paid off in the final, and thankfully there was no squeeze into turn one because the wall there is pretty unforgiving.
“From there, I saw there was some fighting going on behind and once I had established a gap, I could just cruise to the finish while taking care not to get any more punctures.”
In the championship with four more rounds to come Kristoffersson (131 points) is now already 41 points clear on Kevin Hansen (90 points) who is currently second. Third is Ole Christian Veiby with 89 points.
In RX2e Isak Sjökvist (RX2e) set the fastest time in the third heat to finish on top of the ranking. After a not so good first day championship points leader and local driver Viktor Vranckx (RX2e) drove to victory in his Progression Race. Afterwards he repeat it in the first semi-final scoring a clear lights to flag win. In the final he started from second place with Patrick O’Donovan (RX2e), winner of the second semi-final, besides him on pole. The grid for the final was completed by Isak Sjökvist, Raül Ferré (RX2e) and Pablo Suárez (RX2e). O’Donovan won the start from pole with Vranckx going into second after the first turn. Vranckx closed the gap with O’Donovan when the latter still had to pass through the joker lap section but it was O’Donovan who was able to hold off Vranckx and beat him on the jump before the finish line. Following his second place finish today the Belgian has to wait one more event to most likely celebrate a RX2e title. In the standings with one more event to come Viktor Vranckx (67 points) is leading it with 14 points on Isak Sjökvist (53 points).
In Euro RX1 champion-elect Anton Marklund set another fastest time on Sunday morning in the third heat finishing on top of the ranking ahead of Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208) and Juha Rytkönen (Hyundai i20). Then there was bad luck for Belgium’s Enzo Ide (Audi S1), who won the previous round in Portugal, as he finished only fifth in his Progression Race and as such was out for the semi-finals and the final. This lead to Jānis Baumanis securing himself second place in the championship. After the Progression Races a first semi-final went underway with Marklund and Baumanis who finished one and two and were through to the final. Juha Rytkönen (Hyundai i20) and Tamás Kárai (Audi S1) were the qualifiers from the second semi-final while Sivert Svardal (VW Polo Mk5) completed the grid for the final as “best” third place finisher in the semi-finals.
Marklund won the start of the final and lead it by the end of the first lap ahead of Rytkönen and Baumanis. Kárai and Svardal passed through the joker lap section in the opening lap. Baumanis remained third when he came out of the joker lap section. With Rytkönen in the penultimate lap and Marklund in the final lap passing through the joker lap section positions were settled with Marklund winning the final event of the season, his third win in 2022, ahead of Rytkönen and Baumanis. Sivert Svardal came in as fourth, his best result this season, with Kárai the last finisher in fifth. In the final standings after six rounds Marklund ends it with a total of 100 points and a third European Rallycross title of his career after having won titles earlier in 2012 and 2017. Baumanis is the 2022 runner-up while Enzo Ide (Audi S1) finishes the 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship as third.
The next event (with RX1e and RX2e categories only) is taking place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain on the 29th and 30th of October.
World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e; 2. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 3. Gustav Bergstrom(S), VW Polo RX1e; 4. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 5. Ole Christian Veiby (N), VW Polo RX1e – DNF.
World RX Team: 1. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 33; 2. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 27; 3. Hansen World RX Team (S), 21.
RX2e – Final: 1. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), RX2e; 2. Viktor Vranckx (B), RX2e; 3. Pablo Suárez (E), RX2e; 4. Raül Ferré (AND), RX2e; 5. Isak Sjökvist (S), RX2e.
Euro RX1 – Final: 1. Anton Marklund (S), Hyundai i20;; 2.Juha Rytkönen (FIN), Hyundai i20; 3. Jānis Baumanis (LV), Peugeot 208; 4. Sivert Svardal (N), VW Polo Mk5; 5. Tamás Kárai (H), Audi S1.
World RX (7/11): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 131; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), 90; 3. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 89; 4. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 87; 5. Timmy Hansen (S), 66; etc.
World RX Team (7/11): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 220; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 177; 3. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 158.
RX2e (4/5): 1. Viktor Vranckx (B), 67; 2. Isak Sjökvist (S), 53; 3. Nils Andersson (S), 52; 4. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 51; 5. Raül Ferré (AND), 47; etc.
Euro RX1 (6/6): 1. Anton Marklund (S), 100; 2. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 71; 3. Enzo Ide (B), 60; 4. Sivert Svardal (N), 57; 5. Tamás Kárai (H), 50; etc.