Volkswagen RX Sweden remain focused for World RX event in Hell


Swedish rallycross team Volkswagen RX Sweden are remaining focused on the top step of the podium as the FIA World Rallycross Championship visits Hell in Norway this weekend (June 10 – 12), for round five of the championship.

The team, which fields a pair of Volkswagen Polo RX Supercars for Swedish drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Anton Marklund, currently lie third in the Team’s Championship standings, with Kristoffersson also third in the World RX Drivers’ Championship table.

Both the drivers and cars have displayed front-running pace in the opening four rounds of the season so far, in Portugal, Germany, Belgium and the UK, but have yet to stand on the podium, something the Volkswagen RX Sweden team hopes to rectify this weekend at the most northerly event on the championship calendar.

Due to a packed schedule of support races, practice in Norway gets underway on Friday evening, with the semi-finals and final taking place live on television on Sunday afternoon.

Multi-discipline specialist Kristoffersson likes the Norwegian circuit and is hoping to close in on those ahead in the championship this weekend. “The venue in Norway is nice, it’s a classic rallycross track. There will be a big crowd and the atmosphere there is really good. Overall, the track is not that high speed and the joker lap is in the first corner, which I really like. I had good speed there last season and it was the first time there for me, so it will be easier the second time,” he said. “Like always, we want to be fighting for the podium and victory. We’ve been pretty good in qualifying so far in the first four races. Mattias (Ekström) and Petter (Solberg) are very strong in qualifying too, so it’s tough to gain points on them. But, it is very competitive and everyone will have their ups and downs through the season so we need to keep fighting hard.”

Marklund is looking forward to competing at the closest event to the team’s base in Northern Sweden. “Last year Norway was great for me. I had good speed through the whole weekend and only just didn’t make the final. I really like the circuit, it’s the closest track to my home so I ‘only’ have 600 kilometers to travel to get there,” said the Swede. “I will have a lot of friends and family at the event and it’s always great to race in front of those guys. The Volkswagen Polo RX is fast – we’ve proved that. Norway is a track that should suit me, so I’m pretty confident that we can have a good weekend and hopefully we can not only reach the semi-finals but also the final and be able to score the first podium of the year.”

Volkswagen RX Sweden Team Principal Michael Schneider is confident that Kristoffersson and Marklund can achieve strong results this weekend, building on the performance displayed so far this season. “Norway is like our second home race, we expect a lot of fans from Sweden there. Both Johan and Anton had very good pace there last season and we are looking forward to converting that into results, combined with our pace in the early part of this season,” said Schneider. “We know our strengths, but we need to continue working and have to stay focused. Both drivers are capable of qualifying for the final and fighting for victory. Hopefully we are able to prove this in Hell.”

The FIA World Rallycross Championship can be watched live on SVT this season in Sweden. Coverage from Norway starts at 14.00 (CET) on Sunday June 12.

Time schedule: Hell, Norway 10-12 June (CET)

Friday June 10
18.00: Open Practice
Saturday June 11
09.00: Open Practice
11.00: Qualification1
14.30: Qualification 2
Sunday June 12
08.30: Warm-up
10.00: Qualification 3
11.45: Qualification 4
15.00: Semi-finals and Final

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Mattias Ekström, Sweden, Audi, 105
2) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 100
3) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 70
4) Sébastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 63
5) Toomas Heikkinen, Finland, Audi, 60
6) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 51

12) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen, 32

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 165
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 109
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 102
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 67
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 62
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 49

FIA World Rallycross Championship 2016 Calendar
1 Portugal – Montalegre – 16/17 April
2 Germany – Hockenheim – 7/8 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