Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Kristoffersson "working on it" to secure 2021 World RX return.

Three-time Champion Johan Kristoffersson is working on all avenues to return to the World Rallycross Championship in 2021. 

After a one-year hiatus from the championship following Volkswagen Motorsport's withdrawal. Kristoffersson announced his return to the highly competitive championship, in a hired 2018 specification Volkswagen Polo R Supercar. 

Whilst the stage was set for a thrilling 2020 season. The World RX championship along with many other motorsport categories were put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with a later start to the season (in August) than usual. The calendar was altered to consist of 10-rounds with three doubleheaders and four stand-alone events, but that soon changed as things worsened globally. 

The final adjusted calendar saw the season consist of four doubleheaders at four different European venues equalling eight rounds in total. 

Johan Kristoffersson leading Robin Larsson (KYB Team JC)
Betting odds would suggest that Johan would dominate the season from start to finish. However, that was not to be. Why? Because the master tactician returned. 

Mattias Ekstrom returned to the championship with KYB Team JC and proved to be a championship contender from the get-go. While Kristoffersson failed to win round two of the championship (on Sunday in Sweden), it was pretty clear that he thrilled by the prospects of a close and competitive season. 

Johan went on to claim four wins, two second-place finishes, a third-place finish, and his worst result of the season, a fourth-place finish in Finland (round four). It was quite evident that his rivals found performance over the off-season and in 2019, whilst Kristoffersson's hired VW Polo R Supercar had a few updates, including a WRC specification rear wing. 

The 32-year-old Swede had a flawless season in terms of reliability and staying away from trouble (punctures and bad car damage) which helped shape his championship fight. Those around him ran into trouble, but he only had a minor scare in Kouvola which was solved almost immediately.

Leading the championship by 27-points with one round remaining at the Nurburgring, news filtered through that the final round(s) of the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship would be canceled due to the second wave of coronavirus in Germany. Following the announcement, Johan was declared the 2020 FIA World Rallycross Champions and later received the official FIA trophy at the FIA Virtual Prize Giving. 

Johan Kristoffersson is officially the most successful World Rallycross Championship driver of all time, and despite being announced as an official Rosberg Xtreme Racing driver for the 2021 Extreme E series. The Swede is also working on a potential return to the World RX in 2021. However, his hopes hit a stumbling block after Volkswagen Motorsport announced their withdrawal from all forms of motorsport at the end of 2020, but he admits that he is "working on it".

"We are working on that at the moment. The last two rounds of the rallycross championship got canceled, so the season ran pretty short anyway, and we were not really prepared for the season to end so fast. So, we didn't really have time to think about 2021 yet, and then the news came from Volkswagen that they are going to stop competing in motorsport," Kristoffersson said.  

"[Right now] we are working on a solution to see what we can do, and what we can find out. The biggest support for our team in 2020 came from the local dealers, Volkswagen Sweden together with BAUHAUS."

"We will try to continue that work and let's see what's going to happen with the car that I used in 2020. At the moment I don't know but we are working on it," he concludes.

Speaking at the FIA Prize Giving Virtual Press Conference, Johan said teams can begin to prepare for the season ahead following the release of the 2021 calendar.

"We have the 2021 calendar now, so in terms of that I think the teams can prepare, and for 2021 there isn't a huge difference in the regulations compared to '20. So, I think in terms of that there are no worries," he said.

Kristoffersson says the new promoters of the World Rallycross Championship should immediately start working towards the electric future of the sport, as he believes it's more crucial. 

"I also think as soon as we get a new promoter. They should start to work towards the electric future and make a decision quite soon on what's going to happen. So, that teams can prepare for 2022, I think is more crucial."

Can Johan Kristoffersson go for a fourth championship title in 2021? Time will tell! 

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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