Friday 7 September 2018

Kristoffersson claims unexpected victory at the World RX of France.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media.
Johan Kristoffersson equaled his 2017 record for the number of wins in a FIA World Rallycross Championship season. The Swede claimed his seventh win of the season at the World RX of France in Loheac. 

The 2017 World RX champion, may have been the fastest through the qualifying rounds, but did not have it easy heading into the semi-final. The Swede took second place and would have to start the final on the second row of the grid. 

After lap one, in the final it seemed to be pretty much sealed that Kristoffersson would not claim another victory and Andreas Bakkerud, would become the third winner of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, but after the EKS Audi Sport drivers peeled off for their joker laps. Kristoffersson upped his pace and was able to come out ahead of the EKS drivers. 

“This was an incredible result, one we all worked so hard for," said Kristoffersson. "But, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure it was coming when we went to the last lap in the final – I didn’t know what was going to happen."

Kristoffersson lined up in pole position for the first semi-final, but had a poor start seeing Ekstrὄm [EKS Audi Sport] benefiting with a great start. The Swede saved his tyres for the final.

“My semi-final was OK, but the launch off the line wasn’t so super-good. I had saved my tyres for the final, but then I was a little bit worried because if you are in the middle of the pack then you can’t always use that advantage with the tyre," said Kristoffersson. 

The Swede took his joker lap after teammate Petter Solberg, and emerged ahead. Then the two PSRX Volkswagen drivers played a waiting game. 

“Then me and Petter we just waited. Will they go this time? I didn’t know, I just didn’t know who was going when. I was behind Timmy [Hansen] and thinking: “Will he go? Is he going?” And, you know, you are trying to be ready for him to turn sharp to the right to take the joker," Kristoffersson explains. "A couple of times he made the car in the position that he’s going to turn, but then didn’t. You can’t really commit to the corner completely in case he turns to joker and you will hit him. So many laps, I was losing time like this."

“But then they went. My spotter (father Tommy Kristoffersson) was shouting at me: “Go, go, go!” I went like crazy, pushed so hard and we did it."

The Swede leaves Loheac with a 59 points lead to move well clear of nearest rival Andreas Bakkerud in the drivers' standings.

“Incredible. Like I said, I want to thank the team and Petter, at times I didn’t think this one was possible and that makes this result more special."

Despite his commanding lead in the championship, the Swede remains focused on the job at hand. “For the seven wins in a season and equaling the record, sure that’s nice – but the job isn’t finished yet.”

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