Wednesday 31 May 2023

An electrifying Portuguese battle is on the cards, as Kristoffersson hunts sixth championship crown.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The second season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship's electric era will race into life at Montalegre (this weekend), and h
aving clinched an extraordinary fifth title last year, Johan Kristoffersson is seeking a sixth title in 2023 – but the Swede has a host of high-caliber rivals all determined to stop him in his tracks.

Amongst them is Timmy Hansen, the driver who has finished runner-up to Kristoffersson in each of the past two seasons. The two Swedes clashed at Montalegre last September and have engaged in countless close battles since – with many more surely in prospect over the coming months. 

Hansen's younger Kevin Hansen will also look for an upturn in form this season, as they pilot two fresh-looking Peugeot 208 RX1es. 

Finishing third in the standings in both 2021 and 2022, last year's Portuguese winner (round 5), Niclas Gronholm returns with the Construction Equipment Dealer Team and will look to complete the hat-trick this weekend.

His team-mate for the upcoming season is history maker Klara Andersson, who became the first female to reach the podium in World Rallycross last year. Having concluded her rookie season with arguably her finest performance to date, the young Swede aims to build upon her impressive progress.

Another newcomer who firmly established himself among the elite in 2022 was none other than Gustav Bergström, who claimed three consecutive podium finishes and is now targeting the next step. 

Kristoffersson's team-mate Ole Christian Veiby in the sister VW, has his sights solidly set on breaking his World RX duck following an accomplished comeback that yielded top three results in half of the rounds, despite suffering from more than his fair share of ill fortune.

"It feels good to be back with something familiar. Last year everything felt new to me," Veiby said. "I'm getting closer to Johan, so it would be nice to even win a race this year."

Fresh from the rally-raid championship, Guerlain Chicherit returns after reviving an automotive icon - the Lancia Delta Integrale, which made its World RX debut in the season finale at the Nürburgring and proved to be competitive straight off the bat.

Chicherit is lining up two Lancias with the Special ONE Racing team in 2023, he will be partnered by none other than WRC legend Sébastien Loeb, who returns following four seasons away from the grid. During his previous stint in the World Rallycross, the Frenchman achieved two victories and 15 further podium appearances from 36 outings. 

Completing the field in 2023 is two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider in the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport SEAT Ibiza RX1e – another championship returnee. The German – a veteran of 42 World RX starts to date – is renowned as a tough competitor on the track.

With the field firmly poised to take the fight to Kristoffersson, we are without a doubt in for an electrifying season. 

Speaking at the post-season test in Portugal last week, Johan said: "The new car is faster and so much more fun to drive. This year we will see tighter racing and more takeovers."

These words are rather ominus for his rivals... let the racing begin!  


DAY ONE: Johan Kristoffersson (best lap: 40.229)

DAY TWO: Ole Christian Veiby (best lap: 39.772)

DAY THREE: Johan Kristoffersson (best lap: 38.959) 


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...


Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) - VW Polo RX1e

Sebastien Loeb (Special ONE Racing) - Lancia Delta Evo-e RX

Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) - Peugeot 208 RX1e

Niclas Gronholm (CE Dealer Team) - PWR RX1e

Kevin Hansen (Hansen World RX Team) - Peugeot 208 RX1e

Guerlain Chicherit (Special ONE Racing) - Lancia Delta Evo-e RX

Ole Christian Veiby (Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS) - VW Polo RX1e

Gustav Bergstrom (Kristoffersson Motorsport) - VW Polo RX1e

Klara Andersson (CE Dealer Team) - PWR RX1e

Timo Scheider (ALL-INLK Munnich Motorsport) SEAT Ibiza RX1e

ROUND 1 - WORLD RX OF PORTUGAL (Portguese time). 




HEAT 1: 13:30

HEAT 2: 15:30



HEAT 3: 10:30

HEAT 4: 13:00

SEMI-FINALS and FINALS (from): 15:00

PODIUM: 15:50

Thursday 4 May 2023

Reigning champions Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS sets sights on World RX title defense with three-car assault.

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool.
Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS has its sights firmly set on a successful title defense in the FIA World Rallycross Championship this year, after unveiling the three-strong line-up with which it will do battle for Drivers’ and Teams’ glory.

The Kristoffersson Motorsport-run squad set the pace from the outset during the inaugural electric World RX era last year, with super Swede Johan Kristoffersson winning eight of the ten rounds and topping every SuperPole session behind the wheel of his Volkswagen RX1e – on his inexorable march to a fifth World Championship crown.

The five-time World Champion Kristoffersson will return in 2023 to defend his crown but is aware that the team will be hunted rather than hunters. 

"It’s going to be fun! We are clearly the hunted, but that’s a position I enjoy. The competition was already tough last year, and now we have Sébastien Loeb coming in – and everybody knows what he’s capable of," Kristoffersson said.

"It’s good to have had the opportunity to drive during the winter and we have done what we can to further optimise our cars, but I am absolutely sure that the other teams have done the same. It will be exciting to see who has done their homework best."

Team-mate Ole Christian Veiby contributed to the successful campaign of the Teams’ title with five podium appearances of his own, celebrating his full-time return to the dual-surface discipline following an absence of almost seven years with fourth place in the championship standings. 

"I feel more confident and like I can lower my shoulders a bit this season. Last year went relatively well for me, but it will be easier to come back with the experience gained and build upon what we have started – and the winter rallies have enabled me to add a lot of miles under my belt," the Norweigan said.

"I need to get onto the pace faster during race weekends, but whereas last season, many of the circuits were new to me, now I know much more about what to expect. Montalegre is a nice track that suits us well, so hopefully we can get off to a strong start."

While not running under the same Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS banner, 20-year-old Gustav Bergström enjoyed an excellent rookie campaign in rallycross’ top flight, reaching the rostrum on three consecutive occasions mid-season on his way to sixth in the overall classification. The young star's calendar is yet to be finalized due to clashing commitments, but he aims to 'do even better in 2023'.

"I still have a lot to learn, and I was probably a little too kind in many situations last year, but I’ll continue to watch what Johan does and try to copy and paste..." Bergstrom said.

All three drivers will be back for a renewed assault on honours in 2023, and none have been idle over the winter months. Kristoffersson and Veiby have kept themselves sharp by competing in various rallies and regional rallycross competitions, with the Swede also active in the Race of Champions and Extreme E and the Norwegian spending a lot of time at KMS’ Arvika workshop. Bergström, for his part, has been busy honing his skills in ice-driving and go-karts.

"We feel well-prepared for the upcoming World RX season. Johan is our anchor and a great team-mate for both Ole Christian and Gustav, and his performances and results speak for themselves. We build a lot around him," Tommy Kristoffersson, Team Manager, Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS, said.

"Ole Christian made a strong comeback last year, but due to some technical problems with his car that cost him a lot of track time, he didn’t get to show his full potential. He is extremely focussed and dedicated, and our hope is that he will win a round this year and fight for a top three championship finish. He will be very important in the Teams’ battle, while Gustav has real natural talent and has impressed me greatly with his calm nature and smart driving.

"That continuity can only play in our favour, and it is the same with our team members and partners. We have an incredibly skilled group of engineers and mechanics boasting enormous experience and expertise, and we are humbly grateful for the ongoing and faithful support of Volkswagen, Bauhaus and Red Bull. We will do everything we can to repay their trust in us and to fight for both championship titles once again."