A packed crowd at the World RX of France, round eight of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy witnesses an action-filled weekend where PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson scored victory.
It was a double-podium for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team as Kristoffersson took his joker in on the second lap of the final
He seized the lead in the closing stages to claim victory in his Volkswagen Polo R. He was joined on the podium by Norway’s Petter Solberg in third.
EKS Audi Sport’s Andreas Bakkerud started the final on pole position and claimed the Monster Energy Super Charge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start in his Audi S1.
The Norwegian and Mattias Ekstrom shared the front row for EKS after both drivers won the two semi-finals, Bakkerud then taking the lead and heading his team mate until the pair took their jokers on lap six and re-joined the standard lap second and fourth.
Bakkerud’s second place finish moves him up to second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship standings
Solberg’s third place finish lifted the two-time World RX Drivers’ Champion to third. Solberg and Kristoffersson’s results extended PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s advantage in the World RX Teams’ Championship standings.
Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen and Sebastien Loeb finished the final fifth and sixth in front of the enthusiastic French crowd.
“It was a really tough weekend. We were hoping to have made some progress before the weekend on a high grip track which Loheac is. We had a good tyre strategy but unfortunately I lost the start in the semi-final against Mattias (Ekstrom),” explained Kristoffersson. “Until then it was really tough during the whole weekend. I stalled in Q2 and had to fight from the back, and had a great fight with Liam (Doran) in Q1. Only Q4 was really a clean run for me.”
“In the final I knew I had really good tyres, I took the joker in the right moment and from there on it was very tricky to know when Timmy (Hansen) was going to joker. I knew it was going to be very, very tight (with leader Bakkerud). I really pushed everything in turn five on the last lap and it was just enough to come in front of Andreas (Bakkerud). I’m really happy to have Petter on the podium as well, this is really for the team, they have been working very hard.”
Bakkerud crossed the finish line 0.34 seconds behind Kristoffersson
“I’m disappointed about us having missed a one-two result by such a narrow margin, but am taking a lot of positives home from France,” said Bakkerud. “We had good results in the preliminary races, managed to win our semi-finals and now I’m in second place of the drivers’ standings.”
Solberg was happy with a double-podium for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. “I’m very pleased, I think for the viewers and spectators there’s been some incredible fights here and nothing really crazy at all. It’s the most proper driving I’ve seen for a long time,” commented Solberg. “It’s been a little bit of a tough weekend but we came to the final, tried to be neat and clean. I had good speed after I took the joker, it was very close with Johan out of the joker. We were pushing on, both of us, and at the end of the day Bakkerud came in between, but I’m very pleased.”
Team Peugeot Total’s Kevin Hansen and Olsbergs MSE’s Kevin Eriksson finished fourth in the semi-finals
Both GC Kompetition drivers, France’s Guerlain Chicherit and Great Britain’s Liam Doran made the semi-finals and finished fifth and sixth. Both GRX Taneco drivers, Finland’s Niclas Gronholm and Russia’s Timur Timerzyanov also made the top 12 and finished sixth and fifth in semi-final’s one and two respectively.
Team STARD’s Janis Baumanis was first reserve for the semi-finals in 13th, ahead of MJP Racing Team Austria wilds cards, Finland’s Toomas ‘Topi’ Heikkinen and Great Britain’s Andrew Jordan.