Kristoffersson outstanding in Montalegre

Defending World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) won the opening round of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre in Portugal today (June 4). He beat Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) and Niclas Grönholm (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) in the World RX final. In the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship victories went to Enzo Ide (Audi S1), in Euro RX1, and Damian Litwinowicz (Audi A1), in Euro RX3.

Johan Kristoffersson (VW Polo RX1e) passing the finish line and winning World RX of Portugal. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

Johan Kristoffersson already set fastest times in the heats on Saturday. On Sunday he added two more fastest times to it to finish on top of the ranking after four heats and earn the three championship points. Niclas Grönholm, twice a second fastest time, was second and Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) third both earning respectively two points and one point for the championship. Ole Christian Veiby (VW Polo RX1e) and Kevin Hansen completed the top five in the ranking.

The first semi-final was run with Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen on the front row and Kevin Hansen and Sébastien Loeb (Lancia Delta Evo-e RX) on the second row. Gustav Bergström (VW Polo RX1e) completed the five car semi-final grid. Kristoffersson had the better start with Timmy Hansen passing through the joker lap section in the opening lap. Kristoffersson then advanced lap by lap leading it from Kevin Hansen until both made it into the joker lap section in the final lap. Kristoffersson stayed in the lead but in the battle behind the Hansen brothers hit each other slightly (wheel to wheel) resulting in a spin for Timmy [Hansen] allowing eventually Loeb to move into third and qualify for the final.

Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208 RX1e) finished second at Montalegre. (Photo: Jörg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool)

The second semi-final had Grönholm and Veiby on the front row with further Klara Andersson (PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e) and Timo Scheider (SEAT Ibiza RX1e) on the second row and Guerlain Chicherit (Lancia Delta Evo-e RX) on the third row. Grönholm won the start and led the semi-final from lights to flag. Behind the Finn Andersson went into the joker lap in the opening lap while all other cars passed through it in the final lap. This allowed Andersson to move from fifth to second and to qualify the second CE Equipment Dealer Team car for the final. Ole Christian Veiby finished third and was the last qualifier for the final.

First corner action shortly after the start of the World RX final. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

The first World RX final of the new season went underway with Kristoffersson and Grönholm on the front row, Kevin Hansen and Andersson on the second row and Veiby and Loeb on the third and final row. When the green was shown Kristoffersson made it first to turn one and came out of it ahead of Kevin Hansen with Veiby going into third from the last starting row. They kept positions until the final lap when all three went into the joker lap section. There was no threat for Kristoffersson but Kevin Hansen had to battle it out with Grönholm managing it to stay ahead of the Finn and came in second behind Kristoffersson. Grönholm completed the first podium of the new season. Veiby, Andersson and Loeb were the other finishers.

Johan Kristoffersson was outstanding in Portugal and already on his way to a sixth FIA World Rallycross Championship title? (Photo: Jörg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool)

“I’m super happy,” said Kristoffersson after the final. “We did a good job over the winter, and to be able to show the results of that feels great.

“This place just keeps on surprising and to win here, you have to overcome so many challenges. Just when you think you have everything under control, the weather and track conditions change again!

“The car was an absolute weapon throughout so big thanks to everybody in the team for making this possible.”

In the Euro RX1 category of the 2023 FIA European Rallycross Championship Enzo Ide, in a by Volland Racing prepared Audi S1, was on top of the ranking after he drove to the fastest time in the fourth heat earning the three championship points. Anton Marklund (Ford Fiesta Mk7) and Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208) were placed second and third and received the two and one championship point. In the first semi-final, with Ide and Baumanis on the front row, the last named won the start and lead Ide for the complete six laps resulting in qualification for the final for both. René Münnich (SEAT Ibiza Mk4) finished third and was also through to the final. In the second semi-final Anton Marklund won it from pole from Tamás Kárai (Audi S1) while Patrick O’Donovan (Peugeot 208) won it from Máté Benyó (Peugeot 208) and became the last qualifier for the final.

Start of the Euro RX1 final. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

Marklund and Baumanis shared the front row for the Euro RX1 final while Ide and Kárai occupied the second row and Münnich and O’Donovan the third row. Baumanis then jumped the start and was forced to pass through the joker lap section twice. Nevertheless Baumanis had the better start as Marklunds car stalled on the grid. The Latvian was closely followed by Ide and Kárai. Kárai was the first one of the leading trio to pass through the joker lap section allowing René Münnich to move into third. Then Baumanis went in for a first time allowing Ide to go into the lead. In the final lap he went in a second time joining the main track again as third behind Ide and Münnich. Those positions didn’t change anymore with Kárai coming in as fourth ahead of O’Donovan and Marklund. After two events Baumanis and Ide are tied for the championship lead with 37 points. Anton Marklund is third with 28 points.

Enzo Ide won the Euro RX1 category at Montalegre. (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

In the Euro RX3 category Damian Litwinowicz was on top of the ranking with fastest times in the first and fourth heat. Second and third were João Ribeiro (Audi A1) and Nils Volland (Audi A1) earning the 3, 2 and 1 championship point. Afterwards Volland lead Litwinowicz throughout the first semi-final to qualify for the final. Third place finisher Martin Kjær (Škoda Fabia Mk3) also got his ticket for the final. The second semi-final was lead by João Ribeiro (Audi A1) until the last lap where he, due to incidents in the joker lap section with other cars, eventually lost it to Espen Isaksætre (Audi A1) who came in first ahead of Ribeiro. Local driver Jorge Machado (Citroën C2) was the other qualifier for the final.

Damian Litwinowicz (Audi A1) ahead of Espen Isaksætre (Audi A1). (Photo: © Johnny Loix)

The Euro RX3 final had Volland and Isaksætre on the front row, Litwinowicz and Ribeiro were on the second row while the grid was completed by Kjær and Machado on the last row. After the start Volland came out of the first corner ahead of Litwinowicz and Isaksætre. Litwinowicz made it into the joker lap section in the second lap with Volland responding the lap after and exiting the joker lap section ahead of the Polish driver. However, in the next lap Litwinowicz could overtake Volland successfully just before turn one. Isaksætre, who then was leading, had still to pass through the joker lap section bringing him eventually down to second place in the race. Litwinowicz scored a two out of two and was on top of a complete Volland Racing podium with Isaksætre on the second step of it and Volland on the third. Martin Kjær finished fourth with João Ribeiro and Jorge Machado making it in fifth and sixth respectively. Litwinowicz is leading it in the championship after two events with 45 points, having a 10-point lead on Isaksætre (35 points).


World RX – Final: 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), VW Polo RX1e; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208 RX1e; 3. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 4. Ole Christian Veiby (N), VW Polo RX1e; 5. Klara Andersson (S), PWR Hyundai i20 RX1e; 6. Sébastien Loeb (F), Lancia Delta Evo-e RX.

World RX Team: 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 35; 2. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 26; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 26; 4. Special One Racing (F), 18.

Euro RX1 – Final: 1. Enzo Ide (B), Audi S1; 2. René Münnich (D), SEAT Ibiza Mk4; 3. Jānis Baumanis (LV), Peugeot 208; 4. Tamás Kárai (H), Audi S1; 5. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), Peugeot 208; 6. Anton Marklund (S), Ford Fiesta Mk7.

Euro RX3 – Final: 1. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), Audi A1; 2. Espen Isaksætre (N), Audi A1; 3. Nils Volland (D), Audi A1; 4. Martin Kjaer (N), Škoda Fabia Mk3; 5. João Ribeiro (P), Audi A1; 6. Jorge Machado (P), Citroën C2.


World RX (1/10): 1. Johan Kristoffersson (S), 23; 2. Kevin Hansen (S), 16; 3. Niclas Grönholm (FIN), 15; 4. Ole Christian Veiby (N), 12; 5. Klara Andersson (S), 11; etc.

World RX Team (1/10): 1. Kristoffersson Motorsport (S), 35; 2. Construction Equipment Dealer Team (S), 26; 2. Hansen World RX Team (S), 26; 4. Special One Racing (F), 18.

Euro RX1 (2/6): 1. Jānis Baumanis (LV), 37; 2. Enzo Ide (B), 37; 3. Anton Marklund (S), 28; 4. René Münnich (D), 25; 5. Patrick O’Donovan (IRL), 24; etc.

Euro RX3 (2/5): 1. Damian Litwinowicz (PL), 45; 2. Espen Isaksætre (N), 35; 3. Nils Volland (D), 21; 4. Jens Hvaal (N), 21; 5. João Ribeiro (P), 17; etc.