Sunday, 14 August 2022

Kristoffersson kick starts title defense with victory in Hell.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Johan Kristoffersson kick starts title defense with victory at the Ramudden World Rallycross of Norway.

The reigning champion posted the fastest time in the new 'Superpole' timed qualifying session by just 0.156s over Timmy Hansen, before winning the first and third heats as well as the progression race (new this season). 

Having finished at the top of the overall rankings, and winner of the progression race - Johan Kristoffersson would start the first semi-final from pole position, but a technical issue meant he was left on the line as the lights went green. He got going eventually, and began the fight back to finish behind team-mate Ole Christian Veiby, Gustav Bergstrom and Rene Munnich. 

The second semi-final seemed rather similar to that of the first, with the pole sitter (Timmy Hansen) struggling off the line, whilst Niclas Gronholm opted to start in the fifth place grid slot, and ended up having an incredible launch. The Finn carried the speed around the outside of the pack to take the lead at turn one. Whilst that was going on, Kevin Hansen was recovering after braking he's Peugeot's left rear suspension after contact with Klara Andersson on the run to the first corner. 

Timmy tried to battle Gronholm all the way to the checkered flag, but the CE Dealer Team driver hung on to win the second semi-final ahead of Hansen and team-mate Andersson.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
In the final, Ole Christian Veiby started from pole position followed by Niclas Gronholm in second, Johan Kristoffersson in third, then Timmy Hansen in fourth and Klara Andersson in the final grid spot (fifth).

Hansen and Andersson had the best starts from fourth and fifth on the grid. The 2019 World Champion then squeezed across the front of Johan into turn one, but as Veiby, Gronholm and Hansen fought for position, and ran a touch wide. The ever smart Kristoffersson backed off and cut on the inside of the three drivers fighting ahead, and emerged in first place at turn two, while Timmy emerged in second close up against the barriers with Vieby backing out and falling into third. 

From there, Kristoffersson put the hammer down and began to open up a gap to Hansen behind, whilst Niclas Gronholm opted for an alternative strategy, and took the joker almost immediately (on lap 2). 

As Hansen continued to push in second, Ole Christian was right on he's rear bumper closely followed by the very impressive Andersson.

On the fourth lap, Timmy Hansen tried fending off Veiby, but as the Norwegian launched an attack. The Swede took a dive into the joker to fend him off the attacking Polo RX1e driver. With a last lap joker for Andersson, and race leader Kristoffersson, the result was rather clear.

Kristoffersson claimed victory by 3.692s to Hansen with Veiby rounding out the podium in third, followed by Klara Andersson in fourth and her CE Dealer Team team-mate Gronholm in fifth. 

"It's been very up-and-down after that mistake/mishap in the semi-final, and then to come back and win, basically because of the carnage in turn one, and I managed to take advantage of that," Kristoffersson said. "I am mostly happy for the team, because to finish first and third with all the work that has ben put in.. it's just incredible. There is still plenty of work to do on a lot of things, it's been a good weekend, but we need to keep pushing."

Gustav Bergstrom, Kevin Hansen, who suffered suspension damage in the second semi-final and Rene Munnich, who suffered a mechanical issue all missed out on the final.

Ramudden World RX of Norway: FINAL.

1. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS)

2. Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) +3.692s 

3. Ole Christian Veiby (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) +4.057s

4. Klara Andersson (CE Dealer Team) +5.049s

5. Niclas Gronholm (CE Dealer Team) +5.332s

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