Jul 02

Kristoffersson wins Magic Weekend in Holjes and extends Championship lead

Kristoffersson’s win in the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo

Kristoffersson wins Magic Weekend in Holjes and extends Championship leadSweden’s Johan Kristoffersson took a lights-to-flag victory on home soil at this weekend’s Swecon World RX of Sweden, round seven of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy.

Kristoffersson’s win in the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo extends the Swede’s lead on the overall leaderboard – he is now 31 points clear of team-mate Petter Solberg who has moved up to second. EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom was forced to miss Holjes RX due to DTM commitments and has consequently dropped to third in the points.

Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud put on another strong showing in his Hoonigan Racing Division prepared Ford Focus RS RX Supercar to finish runner-up, while nine-time WRC Champion and Team Peugeot-Hansen driver, Sebastien Loeb, completed the podium line-up. Two-time World RX Champion Solberg stalled his car at the start of his semi-final.  Eager to make up time lost on the first lap, the Norwegian lost further time on lap three when he went off-track when challenging MJP Racing Team Austria’s Timo Scheider. Solberg finished the weekend seventh overall, while Scheider placed tenth.

“This is a very good feeling,” beamed Kristoffersson who also won the previous round in Hell, Norway. “To be able to win two consecutive events is a great sensation and one that I won’t forget anytime soon. I’ve been working flat out together with the team trying to find the right set-up – for everything to come together for the final and to be able to hold the flag high for PSRX is just perfect. I have six podiums in a row in both World RX and in STCC which is something I don’t want to change anytime soon. We still need to play it safe as rallycross is a sport where anything can happen – we need to keep doing what we are doing and cannot afford to lose our focus.”

Runner-up Bakkerud added: “This track suits me well but we have to push hard which is what we have been doing all weekend. On a track like Holjes, you also need a bit of luck and I’ve had a good share of that thankfully! I’ve lived in Torsby in the past which is only an hour from Holjes so I have a lot of friends here along with my fan club – it’s always great to have so much support in the crowd.  I’m really happy with second place but you know, second place is the first loser. Hopefully I can find some more speed before Canada – Johan is having an incredibly good run at the moment so maybe a small break will unsettle him a bit, we will see.”

Loeb – who will start in the annual off-road Silk Way rally later this week – was pleased with his podium in the Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar. The Frenchman explained: “We had a good weekend here and I always enjoy this event.  I was pleased with our qualifying results, I love the track and had a very good feeling in the car.  We had some close battles and pushed hard for this podium. We still need to find some more pace – Johan was flying out at the front and we just couldn’t match the pace but I think we can take a lot of positives from the weekend. There won’t be any time for testing before Canada as I fly to Russia on Wednesday for the Silk Way Rally – it is something completely different and will be a great adventure before we return to Trois-Rivieres.”

Loeb’s team-mate Timmy Hansen brought the squad’s second Peugeot 208 WRX Supercar home in fourth place making Team Peugeot-Hansen the biggest point-scorers in the Teams’ Championship this weekend.  Meanwhile, Sweden’s Kevin Eriksson put on a fantastic display in his MJP Racing Team Austria prepared Ford Fiesta Supercar to make it three Swedes in the top five. The 20-year-old also won the coveted Monster Energy Super Charge Award after clocking the fastest reaction time at the start of today’s final.

Latvia’s Janis Baumanis – who drives for STARD – posted his best result of the year so far after finishing sixth overall in the Austrian-team’s Ford Fiesta.  His team-mate Timur Timerzyanov finished 11th in similar car. GRX driver Niclas Gronholm also had an impressive weekend, the Finn achieving his best result this season with a strong run to eighth place.

The third round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy (Euro RX) once again saw plenty of action as a packed entry of Supercars battled it out in the highly-competitive category. It was Anton Marklund who eventually triumphed in the Volkswagen Polo, making it another Swede to win on home soil and in front of a record crowd of 45,100 people.  Peter Hedstrom took the runner-up spot while accomplished WTCC driver Rene Muennich rounded out the podium in his best ever rallycross finish.  Marklund continues to top the Euro RX leaderboard – he is now 19 points clear of Robin Larsson who retired from semi-final two.

In the fourth round of the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires, Great Britain’s Dan Rooke took his first victory and ended series leader Cyril Raymond’s winning streak. “This is the moment I have been waiting for – my first international victory,” beamed 20-year-old Rooke, the reigning MSA British Rallycross Champion. Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder and Swedish teenager William Nilsson completed the RX2 podium in Holjes. In the overall standings, Raymond leads Rooke by six points.

In the FIA European Rallycross Championship for Super1600, where Sweden marked the third round, it was a Skoda Fabia podium lock-out. Latvia’s Artis Baumanis took the win and has snatched top spot on the leaderboard with a total of 75 points. Hungary’s Krisztian Szabo (the defending champion) and Estonia’s Janno Ligur were second and third respectively in similar cars.

Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded: “Once again Holjes has lived up to its reputation of the “Magic Weekend” with more than 45,000 fans visiting the Varmland forest to watch three days of rallycross action.  To have three home drivers make the World RX Supercar final and to have a Swedish winner in both World RX and Euro RX is the icing on the cake. The Holjes track always delivers fantastic race action and dry weather throughout the qualifying, semis and final, has only helped make this year’s Holjes RX even more special. It’s always fantastic to have a home winner [Johan Kristoffersson] and the atmosphere when he crossed the line in front of the home crowd was electric. The teams and drivers can now look forward to a short summer break as the World Championship prepares to cross the Atlantic for its first race out of the continent this year.”

“CSUCSU” #10, disqualified from Q1 for causing a collision and forcing another driver off the track.
Joni-Pekka Rajala #60, loss of ten championship points for use of a third turbocharger in the Competition.
Timo Scheider #44, five-second penalty in Q4 for causing an avoidable collision.

Henning Solberg #73, restricted access to practice (maximum four laps) for being late to initial scrutineering.
Philip Gehrman #39, restricted access to practice (maximum four laps) for being late to initial scrutineering.
Peter Hedstrom #8, €200 fine in Q1 because one tyre was missing a barcode.
Derek Tohill #111, five-second penalty in Q3 for causing a collision at the exit of the Joker Lap.
Jerome Grosset-Janin #74, five second penaltyin Q4 for leaving the track and gaining a place on rejoining.
Anton Marklund #92, reprimand for causing a collision.

Kasparas Navickas #6, five-second penalty in semi-final two for causing an avoidable collision.
Jussi-Petteri Leppihalme #11, five-second in the final penalty for causing a collision and gaining a place.

Stein Fredrik Akre #98, five-second penalty in Q2 for causing an avoidable collision.
Full results from Swecon World RX of Sweden can be found at the following link: http://www.fiaworldrallycross.com/results

Latest World RX Championship standings can be found on the following link: http://www.fiaworldrallycross.com/standings

source: www.fiaworldrallycross.com


Albatec pace nets race wins and fast lap times in Höljes

After a stunning performance across qualifying in Sweden by both Tommy Rustad and Jere Kalliokoski this weekend, hopes were high of both Albatec Peugeots reaching the Final in round three of the FIA European Rallycross Championship. Jere on his first race weekend at Höljes was impressive, three race wins from four, put him seventh in the intermediate standings, which guaranteed a second successive semi-final appearance.

Former Euro RX champion Tommy was on equally strong form. Two wins and a third kept him easily in the top 12 qualifiers across the four heats, but a big crash on the opening lap of his semi-final ended his weekend, but he leaves Sweden third in the championship.

The event got off to a great start with both winning their Q1 races at the event dubbed the ‘Magic Weekend’. Up in race two Tommy got a decent start to lie second into turn one, with an excellent move for the lead on lap two which he held to the flag. A great start for Jere in his race from pole, put him into the lead and he cruised to race victory.

Q2 promised much of the same; a second win in a row for Jere kept him in the hunt for a semi-final position, but disaster for Tommy saw him suffer a spin and drop to 17th in the heat, but after two races they were placed P5 and P8 in the overnight standings.

Sunday morning’s Q3 saw Tommy return to the winner’s enclosure, a seven second winning margin putting him third in the heat and back up to fifth in the intermediate standings. For Jere, a broken spark plug meant he was unable to challenge for the race win, but a quick race time kept him sixth overall after three races.

The day’s final qualifying races had Jere up first, and a controlled, mature drive from P4 gave him the immediate lead into turn one. A late joker worked perfectly, as he went on to record his third race win, and hold seventh overall. A challenging Q4 for Tommy from the middle of the grid saw him squeezed out on the straight, and a fierce battle for the lead on lap two ultimately went the way of Robin Larsson, as Tommy fought on to claim the second fastest overall time, and maintain fifth in the intermediate standings.

With both Peugeot 208s through to the semis for the second race in succession, it was Jere up first and with a good start he was up into third into turn one. Despite his best efforts he was unable to get on terms with the top three, and eventually finished fifth, just outside the qualifying positions.

For Tommy, a front row start allowed him to get a good start, however a crash at turn one on the opening lap caused extensive damage to the HTB Racing-backed #24 Peugeot and ended his chances of progressing. Despite the result, the team come away from Sweden boosted by competitive lap times and a strong performance across the weekend, and more determined than ever to take victory in the next round of Euro RX at Lohéac, France on 1-3 September.

Andy Scott, Team Principal Albatec Racing:

“Obviously it ended up as a disappointing weekend, results wise, but as predicted Jere really lifted his game and had the pace to go comfortably into the semi-finals and fight for a place in the Final. I’m sure it’s not going to be long before he’s in the Final which is some good, positive news. Hopefully Jere’s confidence is growing all the time and I’m certain he’s going to deliver some stunning results before the end of the year.

“Tommy has had a mixed weekend, with a small mistake in Q2 which put him down the times, but he fought back as we know he could, and set some really good lap times including second fastest in Q4 which gave him a front row start for his semi. Unfortunately, as quite often happens in rallycross there was a little too much contact in the first two corners and Tommy came off worse. We have a lot of damage on the car, and I’m disappointed that neither of our drivers reached the Final but on the positive side, we have two cars that are on the pace, two drivers that are on the pace and we’ll come back stronger in Lohéac.”

Tommy Rustad, Driver Albatec Racing:

“I wasn’t too happy with the balance of the car in practice, but the team made some changes and for Q1 it was very good. I was in an earlier heat and the track got better but I was satisfied with the race win and fifth overall. I made a good start in Q2 and was pushing hard, I went to the joker but slid into the barrier and spun dropping from a possible top five position to 17th. In the final qualifying race, I managed to get second off the start chasing [Robin] Larsson, we swapped places a couple of times and I finished just behind him with the second fastest time which was a good result.

“I’m disappointed with the semi-final. I made a good start from the front row but had to back off behind Larsson but then got hit by [Anton] Marklund which spun me round, then I was hit by [Magda] Andersson. I’m disappointed not only because we definitely had the speed to be on the podium, but also with the decision not to take any action against Marklund. However, there are lots of positive going forward and we had great speed this weekend. I’m now really determined to get back on the podium in Lohéac.”

Jere Kalliokoski, Driver Albatec Racing:

“Yesterday we started our weekend with two really good results, two wins and two strong overall positions which put me fifth overall, which I was very happy with. In Q3 we had a broken spark plug and I could only manage the 14th fastest time, but I was still comfortably in a qualifying position.

“Q4 was another strong race, and I was very pleased to reach the semi-finals for the second successive race. In the semi, I made a decent start and jokered on the first lap. I was confident that I’d be able to reach the Final but the speed wasn’t really there, so this time I couldn’t do it. But after reaching the semi-finals two races in succession, I’m more determined than ever to make that the aim in Lohéac.”

source: albatecracing.com