Monday 26 September 2022

Klara Andersson World RX's first permanent female driver "proud to achieve childhood dream."

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Talented, determined, and fast… Klara Andersson has made history this year with the CE Dealer Team, as she became the first ever permanent female driver in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.

At the age of seven, Andersson began karting, spending the next six years racing in Sweden, Norway and Italy, during this time multiple regional championships were won, but it wasn’t until 2018 that she switched focus to rallycross.

She then became a member of the Swedish Junior National Team of Motorsport, a programme established to support the most talented national drivers.

In 2019, Klara made a wildcard appearance at the 2019 RallyX Nordic season finale, and finished runner-up in the Junior Rallycross Championship before taking the step up too the senior category in a car built by her father and herself (a rear-wheel-drive BMW 120) where she beat a 50-strong entry list to the title.

Andersson posing with trophies alongside her BMW 120,
PHOTO CREDIT: Klara Andersson (Instagram)
A year later, Andersson tested STARD’s Projekt E car before joining the FIA RX2e championship, where she impressed on debut, claiming a fourth place finish at Spa-Francorchamps.

Having proven her talent and skill, she was invited to the Extreme E rookie test, and was later signed by Xite Energy Racing to compete alongside Oliver Bennett in the 2022 season opener, but after returning a positive COVID-19 test, she was unable to compete.

Whilst that door closed, another opened. The 22-year-old was signed to the Construction Equipment (CE) Dealer Team to partner Niclas Grönholm, who has 64 starts and seven career victories too he’s name. 

Klara impressed with a strong debut at the World RX of Norway (round one), finishing fourth in the final. 

With five rounds now under her belt, she made history last time out in Portugal, as the first female driver ever to reach the podium in top flight international rallycross having claimed a third place finish.

Arriving in Chile, as the championship driver for Extreme E, Andersson had no guarantee that she would compete, but after Jutta Kleinschmidt was hospitalized following a rough landing during Free Practice 2 ahead of the Copper XPrix, she was drafted into the ABT Cupra team for the weekend. 

It was a steep learning curve, but Klara impressed yet again, and in the semi-final pulled off a brilliant overtake on championship regular Sara Price (Chip Ganassi Racing's) to help claim the team's first spot in the final (this season). 

The final was a rough affair, but holding her own, she kept focused and error free crossing the finish line in fifth, but due to penalties for those ahead, the team were promoted to third. 

We caught up with the history-maker….

"I’m the third generation in my family to do motorsport, so it was quite natural for me to be put in a go kart when I was 7 years old, and I immediately fell in love with the feeling of speed," she said. "My family has always been my biggest supporters, and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career."

According to Andersson, her biggest success was claiming the SM (Senior) 2150 – Swedish Rallycross Championship in 2021.

"Winning the Swedish Rallycross Championship was big for me," she says. "The level of Rallycross in Sweden is really high, and to win with my BMW that my dad and I built and have been working on for the last 3 years was amazing."

Having had a successful career too date. If she did not follow the path to motorsport. Where would she have gone? Or what career path would she have followed?

"Motorsport has always been a huge part of my life, so I would want to be involved somehow. But I actually played ice hockey for 10 years growing up before I chose to focus on motorsport when I was 13. So I would probably still be playing if I didn’t make that decision," she tells us.

History was made earlier this year, as the CE Dealer Team signed Klara as one of there two drivers in the all-new electric era of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. What does it mean too be the first permanent female driver in World RX?

"I’m proud to have achieved my childhood dream, to be competing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Of course it’s honourable to be the first permanent female driver, but to be honest I see myself as a driver competing against other drivers, and don’t see myself as something different. I’ve always competed against men and been respected by them as much as any other driver," she said.

Klara Andersson leading team-mate Niclas Grönholm at the World RX of Portugal.
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
After all, at just 22 years old, she achieved a major goal on the track, and hopes to inspire younger women to do the same.

"I do however hope that more young girls get involved with motorsport," Andersson says. "It’s one of few sports in the world where men and women can compete on equal terms, which means you compete against the very best drivers, no matter their gender. That’s one thing I love about motorsport, and I’m so thankful that my parents gave me the opportunity to try it."

Early last month, the first-ever electric FIA World Rallycross Championship round was held in Hell, Norway, and Klara was very impressive on debut. So, how would she assess her debut, and what areas does she feel there is room for improvement?

"I’m proud of my and the team’s performance in Norway! It was an emotional weekend for me to do my first race at the highest level of rallycross. We knew it was going to be challenging, but to make the final and perform lap times similar to the top drivers was big for me. This is only the beginning and I’m super excited to continue working with the team and develop as a driver," she said.

"For me I’m focusing on feeling confident in the car and learning as much about it as possible. Taking it step by step and being consistent. I’ve never driven a supercar before, so to get used to the speed is challenging but so much fun!"

Klara Andersson celebrating with the ABT Cupra Extreme E team after a third place finish at the Copper XPrix.
Having driven a combination of cars through the years from go-karts, ICE rallycross cars, and electric rallycross cars. How do they compare? And, are they harder to drive?

"I can only compare to my rear-wheel drive BMW 120, which is completely different to my 4wd PWR RX1e! The difference in power and acceleration is huge. For me the biggest difference with electric rallycross cars is the instant torque, but also how the car is built with the motors and how they are placed," she explains. "It’s challenging for both us drivers but also the team, because it’s so new! There is so much to learn, which I’m really excited about."

Andersson competed successfully in a number of different categories/championships in her career thus, but where does she see herself in 5 years?

"My dream and goal has always been to race in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. I also think Extreme E is a great championship, and I’d love to race there in the future," she replied. "In the next 5 years, I’d want to keep driving in the FIA World RX, gathering more experience, exploring different cars and championships, and living my dream!"

You can follow Klara’s adventure in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the fifth and sixth round of the championship next month (October) at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, or follow her on klara_rx (Instagram). 

Monday 19 September 2022

Grönholm claims unexpected win as Kristoffersson is penalized in Portugal.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Four-time World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristofferson crossed the finish line first in a thrilling finale to the fifth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre today, but it was not to be as a post-race penalty handed victory to Niclas Grönholm.

On the second day of action in Portugal, the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS drivers' were untouchable in Super Pole, with Kristoffersson leading team-mate Ole Christian Veiby by 0.244 seconds, whilst the pursuing pack were over half a second a drift.

Kristoffersson was peerless throughout the heats topping the intermediate rankings once again, and had a thrilling duel with Kevin Hansen in the progression race. He came out second best to the young Swede. Whilst he's fellow stablemate Gustav Bergstrom failed to make the progression round after arriving too late to the pre-grid area.

In the first semi-final, Niclas Grönholm had a great start from the fifth grid slot, and challenged Kevin Hansen into turn one. Having emerged fractionally ahead of the Finn, who was on the outside. The two made contact, which resulted in damaged rear suspension for Hansen - DNF. 

Semi-final two was not any easier for Timmy Hansen who spun in the joker and finished behind Kristofferson and Veiby. Hansen's pace was enough to secure a place in the finals.

The tension was high in the final, but as we've seen throughout the weekend, the driver starting from the fifth grid spot is always able to carry more speed into turn one, a scene we saw repeated in the final with Timmy Hansen. He fully sent it into turn one and managed to stay ahead of Kristoffersson who slotted in behind (in second). Having shown decent pace on Sunday afternoon, Grönholm opted for an early joker strategy to try and capitalize on the fight ahead.

Timmy Hansen recovering after contact with Kristoffersson into turn one.
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
On the second lap, Johan tried an ambitious overtaking maneuver diving on the inside of Timmy Hansen heading into turn one, the pair collided forcing Hansen to run very deep and nearly into the gravel at turn one. From there, the four-time champion keep he's foot down and crossed the finish line first ahead of Niclas. 

However, after the race had finished, the FIA Stewards deemed that Kristoffersson was guilty of pushing, and thus was handed a 10-second time penalty, as a result Grönholm was promoted to victor ahead of Ole Christian Veiby and Klara Andersson in third, who today has became the first female to reach the podium in top flight international rallycross.

"This obviously isn’t the way I like to win and it’s always slightly bittersweet in situations like this," he said. "We struggled in the first four rounds, but today was a bit better and we finally came away with a result."

"I felt good in the car since the progression round. I had a feeling that we could fight for the podium in the final. Our plan from the start was to go as a wild card unless we became the leader. Unfortunately, I didn't get a clean lap the lap before Johan Kristoffersson made his joker. I could have beaten him on the track as well, but I would have been happy with the second place as well."

The FIA Stewards released there reasoning for penalizing Kristoffersson, saying: "Having reviewed the MVRC evidence, the stewards find that Car #1 pushed in the braking zone prior to T1 to the right side near front wheel of Car #21." 

Despite extending the championship lead, Johan made it clear that he disagrees with the FIA's decision: "I don't agree with this decision. If you misjudge a situation and get penalised, that's ok. But I can't understand how they can find me guilty in a situation where he turns in on me."

Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal: FINAL RESULT.

1. Niclas Grönholm (CE Dealer Team

2. Ole Christian Veiby (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) +2.853s

3. Klara Andersson (CE Dealer Team) +4.412s

4. Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) +4.821s 

5. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) +9.241s (due to time penalty)

Saturday 17 September 2022

Kristoffersson bounces back to claim 31st career victory in Portugal.

The tight turn one squeeze with Johan Kristoffersson on the inside line.
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Johan Kristoffersson claimed a four straight win in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal today – but the Swede had to produce another remarkable fightback to maintain his unbeaten run in 2022.

The four-time world champion kicked off the weekend in style claiming 'Super Pole' by 0.670 seconds ahead of team-mate Ole Christian Veiby, with their nearest rivals - the Hansen brothers' somewhat off the pace due too running experimental set-ups. 

He's pace was exceptional throughout the afternoon claiming both heat wins, as team-mate Veiby brushed the wall in the joker (in heat one) and picked up a puncture sending him into the concrete barriers immediately after the checkered flag. 

The damage to his Volkswagen RX1e ruled the Norwegian out of heat two and the progression race, as the FIA and Kriesel conducted the necessary safety tests. 

From pole position in the first progression race, Johan had a mighty start an lead into turn one where he'd stay for the first few laps, but later picked up a double puncture on the rear axle leading to a DNF. 

After completing the safety inspections, the FIA gave the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS the all-clear for Veiby to participate in the semi-finals. Having felt aggrieved by the earlier situation, he unleashed the raw pace he had show in the early sessions to win he's respective semi-final. 

The Hansen brothers' held pole and second position for the second semi-final, but with an alternate strategy, Kristoffersson lined up on the far right (fifth slot) with an aim to slingshot from the outside in... having taken an early joker lap. He put the hammer down and managed to overtake both of the Peugeot drivers on win the second semi.

Despite some light contact with a fast-starting Kevin Hansen – who tried to sweep around the outside into the lead having starting from 5th place on the grid – the two Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS drivers held their own and led the field at the exit of Turn One, and thereafter they would not be overtaken. 

Kristoffersson took the checkered flag to claim his 31st career victory, a result that would see him further extend his championship lead to 26 points over team-mate Veiby/Timmy Hansen. 

"Absolutely fantastic! This was not the easiest of days for us," Kristoffersson said. "I had a great launch in the semifinal and then I made a super joker lap."

"Both Ole Christian and I had to fight back, which thankfully we managed to do. I was a bit worried after getting the punctures in the progression race, and that was on my mind in the final, so I was trying to play it as safe as I could."

Timmy Hansen rounded out the podium in third after pulling off a superb pass on Gustav Bergstrom, and setting the fastest lap in the final. Younger brother Kevin finished in fourth. 

Kristoffersson Motorsport's Bergström continued to impress with a fifth-place finish, whilst both Construction Equipment Dealer Team drivers, Niclas Grönholm and Klara Andersson missed the final after making contract with each other in the final. 

Can anyone stop Johan Kristoffersson claiming a fifth straight victory come tomorrow afternoon? Time will tell!! 

FINAL RESULT: World RX of Portugal - Round 4.

Wednesday 14 September 2022

PREVIEW: Can anyone stop Kristoffersson's winning streak in Portugal?

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The FIA World Rallycross Championship is heading back to Montalegre for the second double-header of the season on 17-18 September for the Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal, where Johan Kristoffersson's rivals will look to end he's dominance. 

Last season’s final in Portugal, certainly, will live long in the memory, as a spectacular battle between Kristoffersson and the Hansen brothers opened the door for Niclas Grönholm to sneak through and claim an unexpected victory. The same names are all firmly in the frame again this year – and with two rounds over the course of the weekend.

The statistics suggest that with three wins out of three, the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver has had things all his own way so far in 2022, but the truth is that the Swede has had to dig deep every time, generating some sensational racing as he has fought his way to the front.

The four-time World Champion sped to his maiden World RX triumph at Montalegre in only his fifth start in 2015 – backing that up with a similar success three years later. "It was an incredible feeling when I picked up my first victory in World RX at Montalegre in 2015. It's an awesome track," he said. "You just drive with a smile on your face!" 

Whilst Kristoffersson has led the charge, the opposition has begun to close in, as proved by Kevin Hansen in Lavtia. 

Having lacked pace on the Saturday in Riga, the Hansen World RX Team worked overnight to extract more pace from it's pair of Peugeot 208 RX1e cars, which they were able to achieve. "From the last race in Riga I think we have found a solid direction to take the car, which is really good," Kevin Hansen said.

The Hansen World RX Team might be a bit more confident heading to Portugal, but the reigning champion Kristoffersson has issued a warning: "I feel I have some little extra to give when needed. There were moments in Riga when I got the same feeling as in 2018 and 2020. I could push a little bit more on the laps where I needed to."

Kristoffersson’s team-mates Ole Christian Veiby and Gustav Bergström can also be counted upon to be in the mix, but also never discount the Construction Equipment Dealer Team. Klara Andersson had a difficult weekend Latvia, and will look to replicate her strong performance last seen in Norway. Her team-mate Niclas Grönholm is still chasing his first podium after a difficult start to the season. The multiple race winner has struggled to adapt he's driving style to the new RX1e cars, but the ice cool Finn has the ability to turn things around an surprise many in Portugal. 

The championship definitely isn’t over by any means, but some hard yards will need to be put in if anyone aims to overturn Kristoffersson's dominance.


Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS: Johan Kristoffersson and Ole Christian Veiby

Hansen World RX Team: Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen

Construction Equipment Dealer Team: Niclas Gronholm and Klara Andersson (first gender equal team.)


Portugal’s picturesque and historic Montalegre track formed part of the original FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar back in 2014, and its undulating layout and unpredictable weather has produced many breathtaking battles over the years.

The 945m track is located 1,000m above sea level, requiring engines to be finely tuned to deal with the altitude. From a long start/finish straight, drivers brake hard for the first corner – a tight right-hand hairpin – before taking a little bit of kerb as they flick through the left-right chicane that follows.

A fast left-hander then leads downhill into a right as the surface turns from asphalt into the loose and sandy gravel that characterises Montalegre before a steep uphill climb precedes another left followed by a long, fast right-hander. The final section of the lap is marked by a tricky surface change and a series of chicanes – inviting drivers to brush the barriers on both sides, but without getting too close...

PREVIOUS WINNERS (2021) - Round 7 Niclas Grönholm
SURFACE: 60% Asphalt, 40% Gravel.
JOKER LAP LOSS: 3.5 seconds (approximately)


The Qualifying heats will be renamed Heat 1, Heat 2, Heat 3 instead of Q1, Q2, Q3. There will be three heats only as opposed to the four that have existed over the last eight years. Heat 1 starting positions will be decided following a Superpole timed session instead of a draw.

Heat 4 will be replaced by a Progression Race to add one more decisive stage in the progress of the event towards access to the Semi-Finals. Starting position distribution for this Progression Race will be determined according to ranking after the 3 Heats. The Final phase remains with Semi-Finals and a Final, but with five-car starts. The highest qualified driver will have a free of starting position. Other changes include five laps in all races (Qualifying, Progression Race, Semi-Finals, Final) and no use of the Joker Lap allowed in Lap 1 if the Joker Lap is in Corner No.1.

CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (for 2022 onwards):

Championship points will be awarded based on the final  classification on the Competition on the following basis: 

1st: 20 points

2nd: 16 points

3rd: 13 points

4th: 12 points

5th: 11 points

6th: 10 points

7th: 9 points

8th: 8 points

9th: 7 points

10th: 6 points

11th: 5 points

12th: 4 points

13th: 3 points

14th: 2 point

15th: 1 point

- The Teams’ Championship is open to World Championship teams fielding two cars, and includes all points scored by both of the team’s drivers at each event.

World RX Entry List - Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal 

*GCK Motorsport’s Lancia Delta Evo-e will not be ready to race in Hell due to the extensive development work required to incorporate the new technology into the car, it will appear on-track in World RX later in the season.

*The second Munnich Motorsport Seat Ibiza RX1e is currently being built.

2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship Standings (Drivers):
Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) 60 points
Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 41 pts
Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) 41 pts
Ole Christian Veiby (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) 38 pts
Niclas Gronholm (CE Dealer Team) 31 pts
Gustav Bergstrom (Kristoffersson Motorsport) 31 pts
Klara Andersson (CE Dealer Team) 29pts
Rene Munnich (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) 26 pts

2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship Standings (Teams):
Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS 98 points
Hansen World RX Team 82 pts
Construction Equipment Dealer Team 60 pts


HEAT 1: 13:10
HEAT 2: 14:40
GRID WRAP UP SHOW: 19:00 [RX+ only]

HEAT 1: 12:10
HEAT 2: 14:40
GRID WRAP UP SHOW: 19:00 [RX+ only]

All of the on-track entertainment and off-track features will be broadcast live on RX+. Event passes are available for €7,99, with the full season pass on sale for €49,99. More information can be found here.