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 FIA World Rallycross Championship team Volkswagen RX Sweden qualified for the final at the third round of World RX at Mettet in Belgium with both Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars, finishing fourth and sixth overall [15 May].
Anton Marklund made a stunning start from the third row of the grid in the final to win the Monster Energy Supercharge award for being first to the first corner and finished fourth following an accomplished drive from the former FIA European Rallycross TouringCar Champion.
Johan Kristoffersson also once again proved winning pace from the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar by setting fastest time in both Saturday morning Free Practice sessions and moved up to third in the drivers’ championship standings.
The result means the team has closed the gap to the lead of the World Rallycross teams’ championship points, with nine rounds remaining across three continents.
Marklund was pleased with his best result of the season, but feels he could have scored his first podium finish of the year. “The pace has been really good all weekend. The semi-final went really well to make the final,” said Marklund. “The guys worked so hard on the car between the races and our engine guys have done some really good work this weekend. We made a brilliant start from the last row, we were P2 but after a small mistake at the chicane on the back straight. That’s where I lost a podium finish. Fourth is really good but the pace was there for the podium for sure. I know there is more to come from us this season.”
Kristoffersson enjoyed competing on the Mettet circuit in Belgium, but wasn’t able to capitalise from third position on the grid in the final due to a technical issue. “I had a pretty good feeling through the whole weekend. I like the track here and I know the car suits it well. I came here with good confidence, we had the speed to win both of the first two events and I knew we would have the pace here,” said Kristoffersson. “Me and Anton finished side-by-side in Q1 but after that in every race I started in P3 or worse. The start position here is so crucial; if you get stuck in the dust, there are too many fast guys to make up the one or two positions to score the big points in the qualifying races. It’s just so competitive now. I was driving within myself and we used new tyres for the semi-final and things were looking pretty good. It feels like we still have a big headwind but the team is really great and we know we have the speed, so that is very positive.”
Team Principal Michael Schneider was pleased to move closer to the lead of the teams’ championship points and that Marklund was able to show his capabilities in Belgium. “We showed again that we are at the front in the World Championship. We had two cars in the final, which is a good step forward for us,” said Schneider. “Overall we are very happy apart from a problem on Johan’s car in the final. Anton showed that he is there and our pace speaks for itself. We look forward to having our fair share of luck soon to deliver a great result.”
The fourth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Lydden Hill, Great Britain (May 27 – 29).
Belgium Final Result:
1 Mattias Ekstrom (Audi S1)
2 Sebastien Loeb (Peugeot 208)
3 Petter Solberg (Citroen DS3)
4 Anton Marklund (Volkswagen Polo)
5 Francois Duval (Ford Fiesta)
6 Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen Polo)
FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings:
1 Mattias Ekstrom 78
2 Petter Solberg 73
3 Johan Kristoffersson 58
4 Sebastien Loeb 54
5 Toomas Heikkinen 46
5 Robin Larsson 38
11 Anton Marklund 25
FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings:
1 EKS 124
2 Volkswagen RX Sweden 83
3 Team Peugeot-Hansen 77
4 Hoonigan Racing Division 43
5 World RX Team Austria 39
6 OlsbergsMSE 37
FIA World Rallycross Championship 2016:
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-Rivieres 6/7 August
8 France, Loheac 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