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."

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