Monday 3 September 2018

REPORT: Kristoffersson claims victory in Loheac thriller.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World Rallycross Media
Round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship saw 80,000 fans witnessing an action packed final on Sunday, where PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson claimed his seventh victory of the season.

It was a double-podium for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team as Kristoffersson took his joker lap on the second lap of the final and capitalized on his good pace to take the lead in the closing stages to claim victory in his Volkswagen Polo R. He was joined on the podium by his teammate Petter Solberg in third.

“It was a really tough weekend. We were hoping to have made some progress before the weekend on a high grip track which Loheac is. We had a good tyre strategy but unfortunately I lost the start in the semi-final against Mattias (Ekstrom),” explains Kristoffersson. “Until then it was really tough during the whole weekend. I stalled in Q2 and had to fight from the back, and had a great fight with Liam (Doran) in Q1. Only Q4 was really a clean run for me. In the final I knew I had really good tyres, I took the joker in the right moment and from there on it was very tricky to know when Timmy (Hansen) was going to joker. I knew it was going to be very, very tight (with leader Bakkerud). I really pushed everything in turn five on the last lap and it was just enough to come in front of Andreas (Bakkerud). I’m really happy to have Petter on the podium as well, this is really for the team, they have been working very hard.”

EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud started the final on pole position and claimed the Monster Energy Super Charge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start in his Audi S1.

Bakkerud and Mattias Ekstrom shared the front row for EKS Audi Sport after both drivers won the two semi-finals, Bakkerud then taking the lead and heading his team mate until the pair took their joker laps on lap six and re-joined in second and fourth.

Bakkerud crossed the finish line 0.34 seconds behind Kristoffersson. “I’m disappointed about us having missed a one-two result by such a narrow margin, but am taking a lot of positives home from France,” said Bakkerud. “We had good results in the preliminary races, managed to win our semi-finals and now I’m in second place of the drivers’ standings.” 

Bakkerud’s second place finish moves him up to second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship as Solberg’s third place finish lifted the two-time World RX Drivers’ Champion to third. Solberg and Kristoffersson’s results extended PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s advantage in the World RX Teams’ Championship standings.

Solberg was delighted with a double-podium for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. “I’m very pleased, I think for the viewers and spectators there’s been some incredible fights here and nothing really crazy at all. It’s the most proper driving I’ve seen for a long time,” said Solberg. “It’s been a little bit of a tough weekend but we came to the final, tried to be neat and clean. I had good speed after I took the joker, it was very close with Johan out of the joker. We were pushing on, both of us, and at the end of the day Bakkerud came in between, but I’m very pleased.”

Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen and Sebastien Loeb finished the final fifth and sixth in front of the enthusiastic French crowd.

Kevin Hansen, Team Peugeot Total independent entry and Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson finished fourth in the semi-finals as both GC Kompetition drivers, Guerlain Chicherit and Liam Doran made the semi-finals and finished fifth and sixth. Both GRX Taneco drivers, Niclas Gronholm and Timur Timerzyanov also made the top 12 and finished sixth and fifth in semi-final’s one and two respectively.

Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis was first reserve for the semi-finals in 13th, ahead of MJP Racing Team Austria wilds cards, Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen and Andrew Jordan.

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