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.

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