Kristoffersson wins for Volkswagen RX Sweden in France

2016-09-04

Swedish star Johan Kristoffersson won the eighth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship for Volkswagen RX Sweden in front of a sell-out crowd at Lohéac in France, driving a Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar (September 4).

Kristoffersson dominated the second day of competition at the famous Lohéac circuit, setting the fastest time in Q3 and Q4 in difficult changing weather conditions before leading both the semi-final and final from start to finish to score an empathic first victory of the season.

The result comes following the team’s first podium of the year in Canada a month ago, and moves Kristoffersson into third in the World RX Drivers’ championship. The Volkswagen RX Sweden team also remains third in the World RX Team’s Championship with four rounds of the season remaining. Anton Marklund also showed strong pace at the French round of the championship – packed with passionate motorsport fans – and was unlucky not to be able to join Kristoffersson in the semi-finals.

“We have been in a position to win since the first race of the season, and then in Canada four weeks ago were able to finish on the podium. Yesterday we had quite a good speed but didn’t really put everything together, but today it has just been amazing,” said Lohéac RX winner, Kristoffersson. “The Volkswagen Polo RX and my driving style suit the wet conditions well, and to be fastest in Q3 and Q4 was fantastic. The semi-final was also good, I just got my head down. In the final I made a good start then at turn three I saw Petter [Solberg] in the wrong direction in my mirror. From there I was just pushing, I heard on the radio I was clear behind so I was just trying to stay away from the kerbs and push hard, but not too hard. I have to say a really big thanks to the team, we made some positive changes to the car overnight and it was a pleasure to drive. This is just fantastic!”

Driving the sister Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar, Marklund showed strong pace but was hit by a number of minor problems, which coupled with the challenging conditions of the event meant he didn’t qualify for the semi-finals. “Straight away in the first run I did in practice I was P4, even if the others had done two runs already. The pace was definitely there,” said Marklund. “The guys worked so hard to get the car rebuilt after the crash we had in Canada for this event and they did an exceptional job. It worked very well but we had some small problems, which is a big shame because Lohéac is special. Not only is the crowd big, but the people are very passionate. They know who you are and they really love everything about rallycross. My focus is now on Barcelona in two weeks, where I know we will be fighting for the podium, with both cars.”

Volkswagen RX Sweden Team Principal Michael Schneider was delighted with the victory, for the whole team. “It has been just amazing today. Johan was flying; he dominated Q3 and Q4 as well as the semi-final and the final from the start to the finish line! To win here in Lohéac is really special – it is an amazing crowd,” said Schneider. “We have been waiting for a victory since the first race of the year. The whole team has worked so hard all through the season and each one of them really deserves this win.”

The next round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place in just two weeks time at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya (September 17 – 18), where Kristoffersson finished on the podium last season.

Lohéac, France Results
1) Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo RX)
2) Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus)
3) Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot 208)
4) Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3)
5) Reinis Nitiss (Seat Ibiza)
6) Ken Block (Ford Focus)

18) Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo RX)

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 181
2) Mattias Ekström, Sweden, Audi, 176
3) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 158
3) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 157
5) Sébastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 141
6) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 117

11) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 59

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 275
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 258
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 217
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 210
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 126
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 80

FIA World Rallycross Championship 2016 Calendar
1 Portugal – Montalegre – 16/17 April
2 Germany – Hockenheim – 6/8 May
3 Belgium – Mettet – 14/15 May
4 UK – Lydden Hill – 28/29 May
5 Norway – Hell – 11/12 June
6 Sweden – Holjes – 2/3 July
7 Canada – Trois-Rivières – 6/7 August
8 France – Lohéac – 3/4 September
9 Spain – Barcelona – 17/18 September
10 Latvia – Riga – 1/2 October
11 Germany – Estering – 15/16 October
12 Argentina – Rosario – 26/27 November