Volkswagen RX Sweden returns to Europe with a taste for the podium

2016-09-01

The FIA World Rallycross Championship returns to Europe this weekend, with the eighth round taking place at Lohéac in France (September 3 – 4). Following a third place finish with Swedish ace Johan Kristoffersson at the seventh round in Canada, Volkswagen RX Sweden enter the French event hungry for its second podium of the year.

Both of the team’s Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars, driven by Kristoffersson and fellow Swede Anton Marklund have qualified for the final at each of the last two rounds of World RX in Canada and Sweden. The Swedish team hopes to continue that momentum into the popular French event this weekend, the first of three rounds in the space of a month. Approximately 90,000 spectators are expected to visit the Lohéac circuit, where Kristoffersson finished fourth last season.

The World RX race-winner is hoping that recent form, coupled with last season’s performance can stand Volkswagen RX Sweden in good stead for another strong result. “Finally in Canada we managed to get on the podium after a lot of hard work this season. It feels like we have good momentum from the last two events and it would be nice to continue with at least another podium this weekend,” said Kristoffersson. “So far this year we have been very good on the first day at events, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage and be strong right through the weekend. This track is high on tyre wear and it evolves a lot through the weekend. It’s probably the track that changes most in laptime from first practice to the final – it cleans a lot through the weekend. You have to very alert on the setup changes to have the car spot on all the time.”

Marklund was unfortunate to suffer a finish line accident after a strong performance at Trois-Rivieres in Canada, but will be back fighting for the team’s first victory of the season in France. “I’m very happy to even be racing at Lohéac because my car was so badly damaged in Canada. The guys have done an amazing job and I’m very grateful to them,” said Marklund. “I really enjoy driving at Lohéac and the huge crowd makes it pretty special too. With the car we have now and the development we’ve done this year, I feel pretty confident that we will be quick there. I really hope we can continue our recent form. I’ve now had two fourth place finishes myself and I really want my first podium. The team is waiting for a victory of course and I hope I can be there to achieve that too.”

Volkswagen RX Sweden Team Principal Michael Schneider says that reliability will be key to success in the French event, which features the largest World RX entry of the season. “The time between Canada and Lohéac has been quite hard for our mechanics. Instead of having a well-deserved break, they had to build up Anton’s car and get it ready. They have done a fantastic job and we will have two competitive cars on the start line,” said Schneider. “This race will be especially difficult for all of the permanent World RX teams due to the huge number of wildcard drivers. One none-finish in the qualifying races will make it almost impossible to get into the semi-finals. After having both cars in the final in the last two races and the podium finish from Johan, we definitely aim for more in Lohéac.”

Head of Volkswagen Sweden, Sten Forsberg, is looking forward to the team flying the flag for Volkswagen this weekend in front of the sell-out crowd. “Lohéac is one of the most spectacular events of the season and a lot of rallycross enthusiasts are expected to visit the race,” he said. “I hope that Volkswagen RX Sweden can continue the positive trend from Canada and show a good performance to the big audience!”

The FIA World Rallycross Championship can be watched live on SVT this season in Sweden. Coverage from Lohéac starts at 14.00 (CET) on Sunday September 4.

Time schedule: Lohéac, France, September 3 – 4 (CET)

Saturday September 3
10.30: Open Practice
14.00: Qualification 1
16.00: Qualification 2

Sunday September 4
08.00: Warm-up
09.10: Qualification 3
11.20: Qualification 4
15.00: Semi-finals and Final

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 161
2) Mattias Ekström, Sweden, Audi, 157
3) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 132
4) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 129
5) Sébastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 121
6) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 105

10) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 59

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 256
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 226
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 188
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 167
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