Untouchable, incredible, masterful.. are just a few words to describe, Johan Kristoffersson, who clinched his fifth FIA World Rallycross Championship crown – and the first of the series’ new electric era – at World RX of Catalunya yesterday.
PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
Determined after being handed a 3-second time penalty in the final on previous day, Kristoffersson immediately laid down a marker by lapping almost a full second quicker than anybody else in the SuperPole session. He then maintained that pace throughout the heats, with none of his rivals able to match him.
He's dominant run continued in the progression race and the semi-final, where he claimed pole position for the all-important final (inside line), but he had to nail the start.
The Super Swede launched off the line, and began to pull away from he's nearest pursuer Timmy Hansen, and whilst the Peugeot driver was pushing behind to close the gap. It was Kristoffersson who ultimately took the checkered flag by 5.112 seconds to clinch his 34th career victory, but more importantly a fifth drivers' title.
"I’m very proud. We started out from scratch with this car. It’s our baby, and so many people have put their whole lives into the project. This is such a team effort, and it’s been a real pleasure to have been a part of that journey," an emotional Kristoffersson said.
"Today, the Volkswagen was flying, and I really enjoyed showing off its pace and potential in the final – that was a lot of fun, pushing flat-out for five laps. I think every driver dreams of having a car like that.
"Five times that things have to be put in the right place to make it work and it has done so. It's also great to win the teams' championship together with Ole Christian. We first started working together in 2013 and I have learnt a lot from him in rally and now we are in my backyard with rallycross."
Timmy admitted that the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver was ‘untouchable’ but nevertheless leaving the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the event’s highest scorer. The 2019 world champion was Kristoffersson’s closest rival all day, and he pipped Ole Christian Veiby to the runner-up spot by just over a second.
"The weekend overall has been amazing, after our win yesterday, second place today is another strong result and I’m super happy about the weekend as a whole," Hansen said.
"Johan Kristoffersson was quite untouchable today and won his fifth World RX title so massive congratulations to him and well deserved. I was second and proud of that, I think it was the maximum I could do today."
For Ole Christian Veiby, third position marked a welcome change of fortunes following a run of bad luck of late due to mechanical issues, which saw him sit out most of Saturday morning. The 1-3 result secured Kristoffersson Motorsport the 2022 World RX Teams’ title.
"Incredible to be a part of this in my first season back in rallycross. And I think I have delivered my bit in achieving this success," the Norwegian said.
In the final, Klara Andersson was only narrowly behind in fourth – advancing to the final for the first time since her podium in Portugal and again showing strong speed as she kept pace with her illustrious and more experienced adversaries.
Her stablemate Niclas Grönholm wound up fifth in the sister Construction Equipment Dealer Team car – the Finn struggled with power steering issues in both the semi-final and final – while Kevin Hansen found himself on the back foot following a contact-induced spin at the start of the first progression race. The Swede proceeded to make a storming start from the outside of the grid in his semi-final, only to get rotated sideways, which ultimately put paid to his hopes of reaching the final.
Gustav Bergström’s challenge similarly ended at the semi-final stage, with René Münnich completing the order in his ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport SEAT Ibiza.
The championship will conclude with the final at the Nurburgring in Germany in two weeks’ time [November 12-13].
FINAL RESULT: World RX of Catalunya
1. Johan Kristoffersson (Kristoffersson Motorsport) 5 laps
2. Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) +5.112s
3. Ole Christian Veiby (Kristoffersson Motorsport) +6.325s
4. Klara Andersson (Construction Equipment Dealer Team) +7.562s
5. Niclas Gronholm (Construction Equipment Dealer Team) +2 laps
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