Johan Kristoffersson extended his championship lead despite a second-place finish at Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakub Nitka
The double World Champion arrived in Barcelona with a mission to keep the distance to Mattias Ekström, without taking big risks. His competitors had other things in mind, and gave him a tough Saturday.
"I picked up 27 points today. You don't lose the title because of days like that," Kristoffersson said.
Q1 saw Niclas Grönholm squeeze Kristoffersson into the wall at the first corner, but his Volkswagen Polo was only left with minor scars and from there he was untouchable crossing the line 3.137 seconds ahead of Gronholm, Bennett, and Scheider.
In Q2 an aggressive first corner saw Robin Larsson squeeze the Marklund and Kristoffersson. The latter hit the tyre barrier seeing him launch up on two-wheels and coming out behind Larsson and Timmy Hansen while Marklund hit the rear bumper of Kristoffersson.
Comfortably in the lead, Larsson's right suspension broke seeing him hit the tyre barrier, and while Timmy Hansen took the lead, but he was quickly hunted down by Kristoffersson with a damaged Polo R Supercar and ultimately be overtaken based on joker strategy.
"Yes, the car is really well built. That could have ended much worse," he said.
Kristoffersson rounded off by winning Q3, finishing top qualifier for the fifth time this season, and picking up 16 points.
In the semi-finals, he got another knock on the rear end from Ekstrom and stuck on to lead and comfortably win the semi-final securing pole position for the final.
The final got off to a bang, on the front row the Swede had four used tyres while Timmy Hansen on the outside had four new tyres. Whilst Johan got off to a good start, Timmy Hansen hugged the inside line and Johan hit the barrier at the first corner looking front bumper and bodywork but still led the race.
"When I lost the front the car it became somewhat understeery," he said
Despite lacking some front end performance, he took the fight with Timmy all the way to the finish line, in what was a real rallycross battle from both of them. Both Johan and Timmy were reprimanded by the stewards for two separate collisions in the final.
"The Hansen team were strong today. Timmy and the whole Hansen team have done a fantastic job between the races, I’ve seen they’ve been testing and pushing on and that’s what keeps us on our toes as well," Kristoffersson said
Tommy Kristoffersson, the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS boss explains the team's tactics today.
"We could have been more aggressive with tyre and joker strategy, but today we wanted to secure qualifying points and a starting position up front for the semis and final. Collecting points was more important than securing the victory," he said.
The strategy/tactics worked out well, as Ekström was not having one of his best days, and Johan extended his championship lead from 17 to 25 points.
Written by - Junaid Samodien
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