|PHOTO CREDIT - PSRX Volkswagen Sweden|
“What happened in Barcelona wasn’t so nice [the first corner incident for which Mattias Ekström was excluded], but that’s history now," said Solberg. "We forget about that and move on to this race. And these are exciting times for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team, we have some small upgrades coming for the car – nothing major, but they all count. It’s fine-tuning."
As the idiom goes: "One man's loss is another man's gain." In this case, Johan Kristoffersson gained from his rivals misfortune. “Barcelona was a good weekend that turned great for me. I have to admit, the first heats were not so strong, I was struggling to get comfortable with the car in the really wet conditions," said Kristoffersson. "We had made some changes to the Polo R Supercar and trying to find the feeling when there is virtually no grip and certainly no consistent grip is so difficult. I worked with the team and the engineers and by Saturday afternoon things were looking good – even better when the sun came out on Sunday!”
Round one was eventful, but it concluded with a win for Johan Kristoffersson, the lead in both drivers’ and teams’ championships and a very successful start to the defence of both titles. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden now aim to build on the winning start to the season.
Montalegre, Portugal is a race that has suited the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden drivers well in the past; Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson have only lost one final in four years at the Montalegre track.
“I love this track. I won here twice and I was close last year before I got the puncture. This year I would really love to go back there and finish that job. This is a real rallycross track with some really nice corners and grip changes," says Solberg. "It’s somewhere that you can really lean on the car and have a good go. Fantastic."
Located in Portugal’s far north, Montalegre nestles in rolling hills and mountains overlooking the Spanish border. But, with an altitude of close to 1000 metres, the weather can vary from warm spring sunshine to heavy rain and near freezing conditions.
“Last year Petter and I were pretty strong in the heats, but that didn’t transfer to Sunday afternoon. I scored my first podium with PSRX Volkswagen Sweden with third place, but there was a bit of frustration when we left," said Kristoffersson. "It’ll be good to get back to this track and make more progress from last season. I think we have good potential in Portugal.
The PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo R looks to be a very competitive car. The Polo R is based on the 2017 chassis with some cooling and aerodynamic updates. “I wouldn’t say this year’s Polo R Supercar is necessarily any faster than last year, but what we have from Volkswagen Motorsport is a car which has a wider window of performance; you don’t have to have the absolutely perfect set-up to get confidence, feeling and grip from the car this season. To know you’ll be able to react to weather or condition changes quickly really helps so much," Solberg said.
Written By - Junaid Samodien
Image Credit - PSRX Volkswagen Sweden