Volkswagen RX Sweden confident ahead of new Latvian World RX round


Volkswagen RX Sweden heads to Latvia’s capital city, Riga, this weekend for the tenth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship (October 1 – 2). Racing the team’s Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars, Swedish stars Johan Kristoffersson and Anton Marklund enter to the event confident of strong results, following impressive recent pace in Sweden, Canada, France and Spain.

Kristoffersson, who won the eighth round of World RX at Loheac in France, in front of 80,000 people, is third in the Drivers’ Championship standings, and has closed the gap on the points leaders in the second half of the season. The experienced Swede believes that if the team can carry its current momentum into the Latvian event, it is possible to fight for the championship title. “We will be working really hard to try and keep the momentum going with us this weekend, especially going to a new track for everybody,” he said. “The championship fight is on, we are fighting for a podium overall at least, and if we can score some more victories in the last three races then we are still in the fight for this championship – we won’t give up. Hopefully the track in Riga will suit my driving style. I usually like the races that are quite similar to circuit racing a lot. I also love races inside cities like this one. I’ve done the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavian race at Gothenburg many times and I’ve never lost there, so that situation suits me well.”

Former FIA European Rallycross TouringCar Champion Marklund has shown front-running pace all season, and made the final in Sweden and Canada in the summer. However, poor luck has prevented him from finishing on the podium so far in 2016, something the Swede hopes to put right in Latvia. “I’m re-charged for Riga. I really want to show the pace I know I have,” said Marklund. “Things have not gone my way in the last few events, due to things that have happened outside of my control, but the Volkswagen Polo RX is fast and we know we can be on the podium. Normally when we go to new tracks I am fast straight away, so hopefully we can be really strong and score my first podium this weekend – it’s long overdue. I’ve seen a lot on social media from the event in Riga, they are doing a good job on the promotion and it seems they have done a really good job in making this new track as well, so I’m really looking forward to racing there. I know we have a lot of Swedes coming there to watch the race, so it will be nice to have their support as well.”

Volkswagen RX Sweden is third in the Teams’ Championship standings. Team Principal Michael Schneider is hopeful that the Latvian circuit will suit both the drivers and Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar. “We are looking forward to this new track in the FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar,” he said. “This will be an interesting challenge for the drivers and engineers. From the information we have about the track, it seems that the gravel section is very similar to Loheac, which is somewhere that definitely suited us well. We are confident that we will fight for a podium in Riga.”

The FIA World Rallycross Championship can be watched live on SVT this season in Sweden. Coverage from Riga starts at 13.00 (CET) on Sunday October 2.

Time schedule: Riga, Latvia, October 1–2 (Local time CET +1)

Saturday October 1
09.00: Open Practice
12.00: Qualification 1
14.30: Qualification 2

Sunday October 2
08.30: Warm-up
09.30: Qualification 3
11.45: Qualification 4
15.00: Semi-finals and Final

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Mattias Ekstrom, Sweden, Audi, 204
2) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 194
3) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 178
4) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 170
5) Sebastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 154
6) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 143

13) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 62

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 318
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 297
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 240
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 224
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 159
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 93

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-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