|PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool|
Kristoffersson’s weekend at the Nürburgring was not flawless – he picked up a five-second penalty for cutting a corner in heat two on Saturday – but, the Swede was unquestionably the class of the field.
On Saturday, the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver pulled a full eight tenths-of-a-second faster than his nearest rival in the SuperPole shootout, before pacing two of the three heats and winning both his progression race and semi-final.
After exiting a chaotic first few corners of the final in the lead, the result was never truly in doubt, and Kristoffersson duly edged away from his pursuers to take the chequered flag more than a second-and-a-half clear to claim a 35th career victory.
"It was a very good weekend," Kristoffersson said. "This is a victory for all of the people who have been involved in this project. When the team provides me with a great car every weekend I feel comfortable and can do my homework.Then we are hard to beat."
"Every win we’ve achieved has been for our loyal partners and everybody involved in this project who put the whole package together from zero. When they build a car I can trust and that gives me the confidence to push, I can simply focus on doing my job.
"Many of those people were on-site and seeing the car that they built race for the first time. That was a very nice feeling, as was sharing the Teams’ Championship podium with my dad. It’s been some years since I joined papa on the podium at a rallycross event – the last time was back when he was driving, so that is a memory we will share for the rest of our lives."
Kevin Hansen emerged in second place after the usual pushing and shoving at turn 1, looking to have exacted revenge on Niclas Grönholm by pinching third in the championship classification at the last gasp – just as the Finn had done to him at the same circuit 12 months ago. Hansen’s delight, however, turned to despair when he was subsequently disqualified from the final due to a technical infringement: "The lower wishbone from the left side of the car did not comply with the declaration form from the car"
"Obviously we wanted to win this weekend, but sometimes you just need to maximise your performance and we have really done that," Kevin Hansen said. "I’m pleased that the car felt great this weekend finally and we still have more performance to find, but we are working on that. We have good signs and better understanding now."
That gifted Grönholm the runner-up spot, having only made it into the final when teammate Klara Andersson – who had initially qualified – was withdrawn to allow him to fight for a top three position in the overall standings.
Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Niclas boldly around the outside of turns two and three to climb from fifth to second at the start, and following Hansen’s disqualification, that was where he would finish as he ascended the podium for the fourth time this season.
Timmy Hansen wound up third after coming off worst in the three-way first corner shuffle, with Ole Christian Veiby placing fourth.
"To finish second in the Drivers’ championship is fantastic and also second for the team in the Teams’ championship is a great result," Timmy Hansen said. "Of course we want to win and I know we are all still very hungry to create a better package, but we will absolutely take this result and look to the future."
Andersson was unfortunate to be denied her place in the final. Having won the first race of her career in the series courtesy of a gritty drive in heat three, she then confidently kept Kristoffersson at bay for much of the pair’s progression race – missing out on a famous world champion-beating performance by less than a third-of-a-second.
Rookie Gustav Bergström exited proceedings at the semi-final stage, as did Euro RX1 Champion Anton Marklund – making his electric racing debut in ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s SEAT Ibiza.
Behind the wheel of the iconic Lancia Delta (Evo-e) – Guerlain Chicherit was in the wars throughout the weekend, with a clash with Kevin Hansen in heat one on Saturday ruling him out of the remaining heats due to a damaged chassis and the G-load to the battery. The Frenchman returned to action on Sunday, and looked set to reach the final before a heavy kerb strike on the penultimate lap of his semi-final broke the Lancia’s suspension ending his hopes of finals appearance.
FINAL RESULT: World RX of Germany
1] Johan KRISTOFFERSSON [Kristoffersson Motorsport] 5 laps
2] Niclas GRÖNHOLM [Construction Equipment Dealer Team] +2.275s
3] Timmy HANSEN [Hansen World RX Team] +2.852s
4] Ole Christian VEIBY [Kristoffersson Motorsport] +4.709s
DSQ. Kevin HANSEN [Hansen World RX Team]