Johan Kristoffersson concluded a dominant 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign with an eighth victory from ten rounds at World RX of Germany today.
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, in so doing exacting 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 Construction Equipment Dealer Team blew hot-and-cold over the course of the weekend, and Grönholm only made it into the final when Klara Andersson – who had initially qualified – was withdrawn to allow her team-mate to fight for a top three position in the overall standings.
Ultimately, it was in vain, but Grönholm certainly gave it his best shot as he threw his bright yellow car boldly around the outside of turns two and three to climb to second at the start. The 26-year-old didn’t quite have enough pace to hold off early joker Hansen, but third place nonetheless marked his fourth podium finish of the season.
Timmy Hansen – for much of the weekend, Kristoffersson’s closest competitor – wound up fourth after coming off worst in the three-way first corner shuffle, with Ole Christian Veiby rounding out the finalists in fifth.
Andersson was unfortunate to be denied her place in the final after her finest display in World RX to-date – winning the first race of her fledgling career in the series courtesy of a gritty drive in heat three and then confidently keeping 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 Černý 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 Černý 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 of Germany
1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (SWE) Kristoffersson Motorsport
2. Kevin HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team + 1.669s
3. Niclas GRÖNHOLM (FIN) Construction Equipment Dealer Team + 2.275s
4. Timmy HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team + 2.852s
5. Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Kristoffersson Motorsport + 4.709s