Johan Kristoffersson followed his first win of the season at Riga with an emphatic victory in Spa as the World Rallycross championship went for a high-speed run around the famous Eau Rouge. Coming into the final race, world championship leader Timmy Hansen had his work cut out for him after picking up a penalty from a collision in the first semi-final.
Kevin Abbring had started on pole in that semi, having lit up qualifying with a blistering run. Claiming the lead off the line, Hansen collided into the rear of Abbring, heading into a handbrake turn at Raidillon, knocking the Dutchman into a spin. Abbring soon had to retire with a broken rear suspension while Hansen went on to win the semi ahead of brother Kevin.
At the chequered flag, a clearly emotional Timmy Hansen sprinted over to Abbring to apologise, explaining that he was a passenger in the accident as his Peugeot 208 WRX was, in turn, pushed into the back of Abbring’s Renault Mégane. The Dutchman seemed to accept the apology, but the stewards were less forgiving, giving the Swede a five-second penalty which demoted him to the back of the starting grid.
The hairpin was also the site of the definitive moment in the second semi-final as Kristoffersson led from the start but clashed with Niclas Grönholm, knocking the Finn off the racing line and into last place. The result put the three-time world champion Kristoffersson on pole with Krisztían Szabó and Enzo Ide snatching up the remaining places in the final.
Kristoffersson had his eyes on the prize in the final, knowing that a win would get his bid for a fourth world championship well on track. Kevin Hansen lined up P2 with older brother Timmy behind him in P6 and firmly set on damage limitation.
Kristoffersson took off brilliantly from the start, with Kevin doing his best to stay in touch. Meanwhile, Timmy tried everything to get past Szabó, pushing on every lap and taking an early joker to find an edge. Still, the Hungarian held on superbly to take a deserved – and emotional – third place. While Szabó celebrated his first podium, Timmy was left ruing the first race this season where he finished off the podium.
The result means Kristoffersson is 12 points off Kevin Hansen’s lead as the championship heads to Portugal next weekend.
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World RX Championship top 10
- Timmy Hansen, Hansen World RX Team, 151 points
- Johan Kristoffersson, KYB EKS JC, 139 pts
- Kevin Hansen, Hansen World RX Team, 151 pts
- Niclas Grönholm, GRX-Set World RX Team, 123 pts
- Krisztían Szabó, GRX-Set World RX Team, 108 pts
- Kevin Abbring, Unkorrupted, 97 pts
- Timo Scheider, Munnich Motorsport, 75 pts
- Enzo Ide, KYB EKS JC, 72 pts
- Juha Rytkönen, 52 pts
- Mattias Ekström, Munnich Motorsport, 37 pts