Marklund Motorsport to undertake Euro RX title defence with updated Polo and exciting new partnersSwedish rallycross team Marklund Motorsport will begin the defence of its FIA European Rallycross...
Swedish driver Johan Kristoffersson finished sixth at the penultimate round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, held at the traditional Estering circuit in Germany (October 16) to keep him in contention for second overall in the 2016 Drivers’ Championship.
The result also consolidates the team’s positon in the World RX Teams’ Championship table ahead of the final round of the season in Argentina next month.
Fifth fastest in Q1, Kristoffersson maintained consistent pace through the qualifying stages of the event to be sixth at the Intermediate Classification, collecting a good halt of Championship points, before he fought back from a slow start in semi-final two to make it into the final. The experienced driver challenged for a podium position in the early stages of the final, but a puncture on the third lap put him out of contention.
In the sister Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars, permanent team driver Anton Marklund and American star Tanner Foust both had challenging weekends, with traffic in the highly competitive field at the German circuit largely responsible for good lap times not being converted into qualification for the semi-finals.
Kristoffersson was pleased to make the final and aid his chances of improving on his third overall finish in World RX from last season. “It felt like we were fighting from the back a little bit this weekend. I didn’t have any luck getting good start positions in the qualifying races. I think my best position out of the first corner was third all weekend, so we had to fight hard,” he said. “We had great speed to make it into the semi-final and we had a good grid position. I felt we would be able to show what we could do, but then I stalled at the start. That was very annoying and I just fought hard to get into the final. We had the quickest lap of the day in the semi-final, and we were fighting for a podium in the final but I got a puncture and that was that. It’s really good we scored a lot of points and we will push hard to be fast in Argentina.”
Marklund was happy with the setup and performance of the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar at the Estering, but disappointed not to qualify for the semi-finals. “It was a tough weekend for sure. The team did an amazing job running three cars, and especially with changing from dry to wet setup several times,” said Marklund. “We have struggled with the starts a bit and bad starts don’t give you the best opportunities. Unfortunately I got stuck in traffic and lost a lot of time, but the pace was there. I’m really looking forward to Argentina, the car is perfect and I really believe we can have a good result there.”
Foust’s second event of the season with Volkswagen RX Sweden was hampered by some minor problems on day one and racing in the slowest track conditions on Sunday morning didn’t help his cause. However, the American driver enjoyed racing the Volkswagen Polo RX at the German circuit. “This is a track that’s very fun to drive and challenging to set the car up for, but yesterday we had some problems,” said Foust. “This morning we had great power in the car and Q3 felt really good. It’s difficult to come in and just do one event. It used to be that I could come in and do one event once in a while and win. It’s not like that anymore, the level is really high which is awesome for the sport and it just makes me hungry to drive in World RX more often. Hopefully that will be the case next year.”
Team Principal Michael Schneider was pleased with Kristofferson’s performance and says the team will fight hard to be fast at the final round in Argentina. “It was great to have Johan in the semi-final and final. It was a huge pity for Anton and Tanner that they didn’t make it into the semi-finals, but it shows the level of the Championship that with one small mistake you are almost out of a chance of making it,” said Schneider. “Johan is still in the fight for second in the Championship and we will push as hard as possible, and in the Teams’ Championship too. I must also say congratulations to Mattias Ekstrom for winning the World Championship here.”
The final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Rosario in Argentina (November 26 – 27).
1) Kevin Eriksson (Ford Fiesta)
2) Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3)
3) Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Focus)
4) Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208)
5) Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1)
6) Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo RX)
15) Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo RX)
18) Tanner Foust (Volkswagen Polo RX)
FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Mattias Ekstrom, Sweden, Audi, 251
2) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 221
3) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 217
4) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 210
5) Sebastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 194
6) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 174
13) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 66
FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 385
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 368
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 283
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 271
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 206
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 119
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