Volkswagen RX Sweden target continued podium streak in Canada


The seventh round of FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place this weekend at Trois-Rivieres in Canada (August 6 – 7), where Volkswagen RX Sweden is aiming to continue its run of North American podiums since the event first ran in 2014.

Sweden’s Anton Marklund finished second at the famous street-circuit in 2014 in the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar, while the team finished second and third at the event last year with Finland’s Toomas Heikkinen and America’s Tanner Foust.

2016 Volkswagen RX Sweden drivers Marklund and Johan Kristoffersson both made it to the final at the team’s home round of the series last time out at Höljes in Sweden, and are hoping to put their continued form to good use this weekend.

“We are ready for Canada. I’ve always liked the track there and I’m looking forward to pushing this weekend to try and get onto the podium. We had really good pace at Höljes and we were unlucky in the final. All of the guys in the team deserve to get a podium finish this weekend, they’ve been doing such a good job all year,” said Marklund. “Our car is really strong through the middle of the lap on the track in Canada and I think that can help us. The long travel to get there is pretty tough, but it’s great to be there – the people in Trois-Rivieres are really passionate and at the events that happen downtown there are a lot of enthusiastic people, so it’s special.”

Prior to racing at the event last season, Kristoffersson had never previously competed in North America. The experienced Swede is currently tied in fourth place in the World RX Drivers’ Championship points with nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb and thinks new upgrades to the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar will help the team this weekend in its quest to reach the podium. “We have some updates which will help for sure. We had great speed at the start of the weekend in Canada last year, so we need to stay focused all weekend long – the aim is to get on the podium and to score good points,” he said. “You need to be smart on this track, there are some nice asphalt sections and some pretty tough jumps. It’s exciting to be traveling around the World in this championship with so many good drivers. We will be doing our best as always to beat them this weekend.”

Volkswagen RX Sweden Team Principal Michael Schneider is looking forward to the second half of World RX starting in Canada, where he hopes for a change of luck for the team. “When I look back on the first half of the season, I’m very happy with the performance of the car, both drivers and the complete team. We have produced a very competitive car from the first race,” said Schneider. “Other teams made a big step after round four but we have fought back and proved to be one of the fastest at Höljes. But, we have not been able to convert this performance into points yet – we’ve had a lot of misfortune. The team is strong, everybody is motivated and focused. I have a great feeling about every single person in the team and for their efforts, which makes me know that we will be able to present a very strong second half of the season and get the well-deserved points and podiums.”
Sten Forsberg, Head of Volkswagen Sweden, is looking forward to keeping up with the team’s progress from across the Atlantic Ocean. ‘With both drivers in the final at Höljes, the team clearly showed its potential,” said Forsberg. “We also know that the team had success in Canada last year so of course we hope that this positive trend will continue this weekend.”

Time schedule: Trois-Rivieres, Canada August 6 – 7 (local time)
Saturday August 6
09.00: Open Practice 1
11.00: Open Practice 2
14.00: Qualification1
16.15: Qualification 2

Sunday August 7
08.25: Warm-up
09.30: Qualification 3
11.30: Qualification 4
15.00: Semi-finals and Final

FIA World Rallycross Championship Drivers’ Standings
1) Mattias Ekstrom, Sweden, Audi, 142
2) Petter Solberg, Norway, Citroën, 137
3) Andreas Bakkerud, Norway, Ford, 110
4) Sebastien Loeb, France, Peugeot, 106
5) Johan Kristoffersson, Sweden, Volkswagen, 106
5) Timmy Hansen, Sweden, Peugeot, 86

13) Anton Marklund, Sweden, Volkswagen 46

FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ Standings
1) EKS (Audi), 224
2) Team Peugeot-Hansen, 192
3) Volkswagen RX Sweden, 152
4) Hoonigan Racing Division (Ford), 133
5) World RX Team Austria (Ford), 109
6) OlsbergsMSE (Ford), 65

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