World RX: Five-time world champion rules the roost at the Nürburgring

World RX: Five-time world champion rules the roost at the Nürburgring

Johan Kristoffersson concluded a dominant 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign with an eighth victory from ten rounds at World RX of Germany today (13 November).

Kristoffersson’s weekend at the Nürburgring was not flawless – he uncharacteristically picked up a five-second penalty for cutting a corner in heat two – but, as has so often been the case in the history of the World Championship, the Swede was unquestionably the class of the field.

Just in case anybody needed reminding of that fact, he went a full eight tenths-of-a-second faster than his nearest rival in the single-lap SuperPole shootout, before pacing two of the three heats and winning both his progression race and semi-final in his Volkswagen RX1e.

After exiting a hectic 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 cement the 35th success of his glittering World RX career.

“It was a very good weekend,” acknowledged the Kristoffersson Motorsport star. “This is a huge team effort and the KMS guys and girls have delivered a perfect car all year. 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 from Kristoffersson’s dust in second place, looking to have exacted revenge on Niclas Grönholm by pinching third spot in the championship classification at the last gasp – just as the Finn had done to him at the same circuit 12 months ago. The Swede’s delight, however, turned to despair when he was subsequently disqualified from the final due to a technical infringement.

That gifted Grönholm the runner-up spoils, having only made it into the final when Construction Equipment Dealer Team stablemate Klara Andersson – who had initially qualified – was withdrawn to allow her team-mate to fight for a top three position in the overall standings.

Taking full advantage of the opportunity, the 26-year-old threw his bright yellow car 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 – for much of the weekend, Kristoffersson’s closest competitor – wound up third after coming off worst in the three-way first corner shuffle, with Ole Christian Veiby placing fourth.

Andersson was unfortunate to be denied her place in the final following her finest display in World RX to-date. Having won the first race of her fledgling 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.

Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS 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 – and Guerlain Chicherit.

Behind the wheel of the evocative Lancia Delta Evo-e-RX – the reincarnation of a 1980s rallying legend, the Lancia Delta Integrale – Chicherit was in the wars throughout, with a clash with the younger Hansen brother in heat one on Saturday ruling him out of the remaining heats. 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.

In the last round of the 2022 FIA European Rallycross Championship’s Euro RX3 campaign, Kobe Pauwels fought back from a slow start to the weekend to prevail at the end of a dramatic final. Saturday pace-setter Jan ?erný got a lightning launch from the middle of the grid to grab the initial lead, but an early joker strategy brought Pauwels back into play.

When ?erný subsequently took his own joker on lap three, he rejoined alongside his arch-rival, but two-into-one was never going to work and contact with the tyre wall tore the right-front wheel from the Czech driver’s Škoda Citigo. Pauwels emerged unscathed to secure a fourth triumph from five rounds this year, ahead of hugely impressive newcomer Jens Hvaal and series sophomore Damian Litwinowicz, who duly sealed second in the title table.

FINAL RESULT: WORLD RX

1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (SWE) Kristoffersson Motorsport 5 laps

2. Niclas GRÖNHOLM (FIN) Construction Equipment Dealer Team + 2.275s

3. Timmy HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team + 2.852s

  1. Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Kristoffersson Motorsport + 4.709s
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