Johan Kristoffersson extended his RallyX Nordic championship advantage over Fraser McConnell this weekend, after a challenging weekend in Höljes.
PHOTO CREDIT: Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS/QNIGAN
The 32-year-old failed to make the final on Thursday (round 3) after a puncture, which saw him eliminated in the semi-finals.
Returning a few days later, he was on a mission... and despite challenging weather conditions, it did not quite turn out the way he had hoped for.
He struggled with starts and clinched third place overall on Saturday afternoon (in Q1 and Q2).
"The starts weren't good enough - at all - and that's the most important detail in rallycross," Kristoffersson said.
The dawn of a new day ushered in new opportunities, and yet more changeable weather conditions. The third and fourth qualifying rounds ended in the same vein. Johan once again had problems with the starts, but he offered effective joker actions and a great overtaking display. After the qualifiers, Kristoffersson had still managed to secure a place at the front row for the second semi-final.
"We had no really big problems, but far too many for us to be able to challenge the World RX cars," he explained.
Even in the semi-finals, Krisztian Szabo had the best start and immediately shut the door on Johan, but in a masterful strategy, the three-time world champion wisely used his tactic and skill to fight back and win to seal a place alongside Grönholm in the final.
"I drove to my absolute extreme, and had to turn out everything I could," he adds.
Yet again, Johan had a bad start in the final, but with Fraser McConnell with an inside line into turn two, he immediately took the joker lap and the push began.
From there, his only target was "to win". He pulled off a masterful overtake around the inside of Andreas Bakkerud on entry to the velodrome, and from there pushed to close the gap.
"Yes, it was different. I had to "take it on a volleyball" you could say, but it worked out," he said.
Once he passed the Norwegian, the Swede had a couple of laps to catch up with Grönholm, but it was not quite enough. Although he finished 0.400s behind the race winner, it was a solid second-place finish.
Former team-mate and championship rival Sondre Evjen missed the final, which means the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver now has a 13-point lead in the championship, over Fraser McConnell.
Despite the challenge, team boss Tommy Kristoffersson is quite pleased.
"We have to take the positives from this weekend," he said. "We knew it would tough against the World Championship cars, but we should not hide under the chair that we have struggled with some technical challenges."
RallyX Nordic will head to northern Finland in just three weeks, a track that not too many drivers have raced on before. So, it will be new for many, but the action will still be pretty epic!
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