Monday 15 October 2018

REPORT: A thrilling final in Germany sees PSRX Volkswagen Sweden crowned as teams champions.

The penultimate round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship took place at the Estering in Germany, where record breaking Johan Kristoffersson claimed yet another victory, and his team PSRX Volkswagen Sweden secured the World RX Teams’ Championship.

Four drivers set quickest times in the four qualifiers, and it looked like Team Peugeot Total brought the strongest package to Germany [stronger straight line speed], but it was Kristoffersson who took the overall TQ (top qualifier) in the Intermediate Classification.

The PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver then won the final to claim a 10th victory [8th in a row this season]. While EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom was quickest in Q3 and started on the front row of the grid for the final. He finished second. Andreas Bakkerud joined his teammate on the podium, the Norwegian taking his joker on lap four to secure a double podium for the team.

“It was a really tricky final but first of all I’m very happy that we are Teams’ Champions. I’m very, very happy to win of course but also that I proved the homework that I’ve done really paid off,” said Kristoffersson. “This track is very challenging and there is always hard fighting. The first corner is always crucial, the launches are crucial so I’m very happy to be able to win on this track.”

The battle for second in the drivers' standings is only heating up with one round to go in Cape Town this season. Ekstrom’s second place at the Estering, has strengthened his position in the battle for second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship. “We’re happy about having finished on podium with both Audi cars,” said Ekstrom. “We’d been hoping for victory and came very close, but not close enough. The competition was very strong once again. However, there’s one more race to go. We’re continuing to work hard and fight. I believe in this team and we’re going to give our all to close the season in South Africa with a victory and runner-up finish.”

Andreas Bakkerud has to date secured his sixth podium of the season. “It’s been a crazy weekend as it always is here in Estering. It’s always exciting and there’s always a lot of stuff that’s unpredictable,” he said. “Both myself and Mattias qualified for the front row of semi-final two, he had a fantastic start and beat me in the semi. I was second in the first start of the final then in the restart I managed to stay behind Johan and Mattias and finished third. It’s a great feeling for the whole team that both EKS Audi Sport cars finished on the podium.”

GRX Taneco’s Niclas Gronholm qualified sixth in the Intermediate Classification and finished fourth in the final. While Petter Solberg was quickest in Q1 on Saturday and won the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start of the final. He retired with the technical issue [overheating] on lap five and was classified fifth. 

The final initially had to be stopped and then was re-run when Team Peugeot Total’s Kevin Hansen crashed out on lap 4. Hansen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks and was later discharged. He was classified sixth.

Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis and Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson finished fourth in the semi-finals and didn’t progress to the final. Eriksson’s OMSE team mate Robin Larsson finished fifth in semi-final two but Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb retired after a racing incident with Eriksson. GC Competition’s Anton Marklund retired from semi-final one after first corner contact. Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen was later disqualified from the semi-final for the incident. The Swede had earlier set the quickest time in Q4.

GCK’s Guerlain Chicherit was first reserve for the semi-finals in 13th, Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Gregoire Demoustier was 17th, Chicherit’s team mate Liam Doran disqualified after Q1 for accidentally pressing launch control at Turn 1 and was classified 19th, while GRX’s Timur Timeryznov was also disqualified for accidentally changing his cars setting during the race and thus he ended the event 20th.

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