Monday 21 September 2020

Kristoffersson pleased despite not extending championship lead in Riga.

It wasn't a race victory on Sunday, but Johan Kristoffersson is pleased with his overall weekend in Riga-Latvia, as he maintains a seventeen point lead in the World Rallycross Championship. 

The double world champion took this third win of the season in round 5 of the championship on Saturday, and did not get off to a good start on Sunday. Championship rival Mattias Ekström dominated the qualifying sessions to earn the top qualifiers spot, but Johan is happy with his weekend in Latvia. 

"Two more races are done and not so many points left to fight for," Kristoffersson said. 

The double-header at the Bikernieki National Sports Base became a tyre strategy mind game. And, while Kristoffersson gambled in the qualifying sessions on Saturday, battling his way through on mostly used tyres, he finished second in the Intermediate Classification (after qualifying) and picked up fifteen points.

In the semi-final, he had fresh tyres and showed his great pace, winning in style.

"[The win] was the reward for the fight in Q2 and Q3," he said.

He went on to take a convincing victory on Saturday to claim his third win of the season.

Round six (on Sunday) saw, Kristoffersson fighting to earn the top spot. However, he came out second-best behind Mattias Ekström.

"The fight was all the way to the end, but really the biggest chance for victory today was in Q1. When I didn’t manage to take the start there, in Q2 I didn’t manage to beat Mattias again, and then I knew he already had a good tyre strategy then for Q3. I was on the back foot from thereon," the Kristoffersson Motorsport driver said.

In semi-final two, he started from pole position and won fairly easily, and for the final, he lined up alongside Ekström who was on pole position with new tyres on both cars.

"We were very aggressive on the tyres in the semi-final so I had four new tyres for the final the same as Mattias, I had a good launch, but so did Mattias. Then there was not much more to do," he said. 

"I was on the outside for turn one, and thereafter I just had to follow him, saving as many tyres as I could for five laps before the joker, but there was a little too much argy-bargy with Grönholm at the joker merge and during the lap, so I couldn’t really challenge Mattias at the last corner. But, I picked up as many points as I could, without winning, so I can't be disappointed."

Kristoffersson took 29 points from round five on Saturday and 26 more points from round six (on Sunday) with a total of 55 from the weekend, the same as Ekström, which sees the two split by seventeen points in the championship standings with four rounds remaining.

"I have only lost 14 points from six races," Johan adds.

The duel between Kristoffersson and Ekström is set to continue in Spain in four weeks' time, at another double-header.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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