Down and dirty: Johan Kristoffersson, OC Veiby and Timmy Hansen in action at the World RX double header in Montalgre, Portugal.
© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
Rallycross

Highs and lows for superb Kristoffersson at World RX in Portugal

RX World Champion Johan Kristoffersson was on his way to back-to-back victories in Portugal, only to be left speechless when a 10-second penalty demoted him to last in Race Two.
Напишано од Paul Keith
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After a weekend of elbows-out racing around one of WRX’s most technical tracks, four-time World Champion Johan Kristoffersson had one foot on the top step of the podium at Montalegre when news came through from the stewards that he’d committed a foul on Timmy Hansen on lap two of the final.
It was a downbeat end to a fabulous weekend of racing that had seen Kristoffersson add a 31st career triumph at the scene of his first World RX victory in 2015 and where he wrapped up his first championship two years later.
Four-time RX World Champion Johan Kristoffersson takes a joker lap at Montalegre, Portugal.

RX World Champion Johan Kristoffersson on a joker lap in Montalegre

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

The decision instead handed Niclas Grönholm the first victory of what had been a difficult season for the Finn and saw his team-mate, rookie Klara Anderson, take her first podium. Kristoffersson’s team-mate OC Veiby has been a revelation this season, with the Norwegian taking second place on Saturday and Sunday.
On the track, Kristoffersson had been sublime and scrappy all weekend, somehow finding another gear whenever the heat was on as he made his way to the front in both finals.
On Saturday, the Swede took his fourth win from four in a clean sweep of the 2022 season so far. But he was made to work for it after a double puncture in both rear tyres in the Progression round put him on the back foot on his way to the semi-final.
The deep Portuguese gravel played to the strengths of his VW Polo RX1e. An early joker lap meant he was able to take the lead in his semi on his way to pole in the final. He was joined by his Kristoffersson Motorsport team-mates Ole Christian Veiby and Gustav Bergström.
Kristoffersson, Vieby and Timmy Hansen on the World RX podium after Race One in Portugal.

Kristoffersson, Vieby and Timmy Hansen on the World RX podium

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

While Kristoffersson and Veiby dominated the final, Bergström also stood out, racing hard with Timmy and Kevin Hansen – both of whom look to be gaining pace rapidly with each round as they get to grips with the new electric-powered rallycross cars.
Timmy had to produce an outstanding pass to sweep beyond Bergström and apply pressure to Veiby at the close as he claimed the final podium place and set the fastest lap. He finished just in front of younger brother Kevin in the sister Peugeot 208 RX1e.
“What a day – just unbelievable!” said Kristoffersson. “I was a bit worried after getting the punctures in the Progression race, and that was on my mind in the final, so I was trying to play it as safe as I could.
“I’m really happy for Ole Christian to finish second after the way his day began, and for us to take a one-two finish on pure pace – with Gustav [Bergström] reaching the final again as well – was just fantastic.”
Rookie Klara Andersson took her first World RX podium in Portugal.

Rookie Klara Andersson took her first World RX podium in Portugal

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

Sunday’s Progression round saw Kevin Hansen show his mettle – and considerable skill – as he traded overtakes and paint with Kristoffersson, making two passes stick and becoming the first driver this season to get the better of the world champion on the track. Both men came away, seeming to have enjoyed the scrap.
Once again, Kristoffersson restored order in the semis to take pole position in the final, with Veiby joining and Timmy Hansen taking P5 on the grid after a scare that saw him spin on his final joker lap before recovering to take third. Kevin Hansen missed out on a berth in the final after being punted out of his semi-final, breaking his rear suspension in a collision with the PWRs of Grönholm and Andersson.
In the final, Timmy Hansen made a perfect start, staying clear of trouble out wide to snatch the lead at the first corner. Kristoffersson attempted to joker but couldn’t get across while both Grönholm and Veiby took a strategic first-lap joker. At the start of Lap Two, Kristoffersson drew level with Timmy Hansen and sideswiped him into the gravel trap. The move left Timmy in last place while Kristoffersson focussed on regaining the lead.
Kevin Hansen was in superb form at the World RX in Portugal.

Kevin Hansen was in superb form at the World RX in Portugal

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

With Grönholm edging in front, Kristoffersson produced three superb laps, taking his joker on the final one to rejoin the circuit just ahead of the Finn. Kristoffersson took the chequered flag with Grönholm second and Veiby third. But as the three men moved toward the podium, news came in that the stewards had deemed that second-lap barge on Timmy Hansen to be unfair and were issuing Kristoffersson a 10-second penalty. That demoted the Swede to P5, behind the wronged Hansen.
It was a tough decision but one that allowed a glimmer of light in the battle for the first electric WRX championship.
Timmy Hansen talks strategy with his father and team boss Kenneth Hansen.

Timmy Hansen talks strategy with his father and team boss Kenneth Hansen

© Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

The WRX will be back in action at the doubleheader in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on October 8-9.

Part of this story

FIA World Rallycross Championship

A hybrid of rallying and circuit racing, rallycross is head-to-head short, sharp racing on mixed surfaces.

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Round 4/5 – Portugal

High up in the Vila Real mountains in the north of the country, Portugal’s picturesque and historic Montalegre track formed part of the original FIA WRC calendar back in 2014.

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Johan Kristoffersson

A five-time FIA World Rallycross champion, Sweden's Johan Kristoffersson also won the inaugural season of Extreme E as part of Rosberg X Racing.

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Timmy Hansen

Born into a rallycross family, Timmy Hansen has gone on to establish himself as a master of the discipline in his own right.

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Kevin Hansen

Swedish rallycross ace Kevin Hansen loves to drive, especially when it's at high speed, with big jumps and under control.

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