Volkswagen is extending its partnership with the Sébastien Loeb Racing team into 2019. A new addition to the team is two-time rallycross world champion Johan Kristoffersson. The 30-year-old Swede is moving within the Volkswagen family from the Polo R Supercar to the Golf GTI TCR and will compete in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup for the first time in 2019. Kristoffersson does, however, have some previous experience with race touring cars made in Wolfsburg, having recently won the drivers’ title in the TCR Scandinavia in a Golf GTI TCR.
The SLR team will be competing in four Volkswagen works-supported cars next year, with Kristoffersson joining his new teammates Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani, both of whom have already been confirmed as being in the 2019 team. The name of the fourth driver will be made known at a later date.
“The World Touring Car Cup is an excellent platform for the Golf GTI to show off its sporty performance to a global fan base,” emphasises Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “In addition, the competition is stiff, and this is reason enough for Volkswagen to up its involvement. I’m delighted that we will have Rob Huff and Mehdi Bennani on board once again next year in the GTI. Together with our rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson, this makes for a very strong line-up of drivers for us in 2019.”
World champion facing a new challenge: Kristoffersson in the WTCR
Eleven wins in twelve races, nine of which were consecutive wins – Johan Kristoffersson set new benchmarks in the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX) season. In 2012 and 2018 the Swede clinched the drivers’ titles in the STCC series with Volkswagen. With his switch to the WTCR, Kristoffersson will now tackle a new competition.
“I’m very much looking forward to the WTCR,” says Kristoffersson
“After four years of rallycross, 2019 will be my first full touring car season on the international stage since 2013. Most of the circuits are entirely new territory for me and therefore represent a huge challenge. I’m also looking forward to working with my new teammates, especially touring car world champion Rob Huff. What’s more, Sébastien Loeb Racing is an experienced team and I’m delighted to be moving within the Volkswagen family.”
Winning drivers remain on board: Huff and Bennani confirmed for 2019
Sébastien Loeb Racing notched up three wins and eleven podium positions in the 2018 WTCR season. Former touring car world champion Huff scored his best season results with wins in Budapest and Suzuka, while Morocco’s top motor sportsman Bennani clinched his first WTCR win in China and came an impressive second in his home event in Marrakesh.
“I am delighted to be tackling the WTCR with Sébastien Loeb Racing once again in 2019 and I hope to be a contender for the championship title,” says Rob Huff. “It’s great that Volkswagen has decided to up its involvement in the event to four Golf GTI TCR vehicles. One of my new teammates will be Johan Kristoffersson, who has a more than impressive WRX season under his belt. And he is already familiar with the Golf GTI TCR. Working with him will no doubt be exciting.”
Bennani adds: “I can look back on a good WTCR season with Sébastien Loeb Racing. The highlights were without a doubt my podium finish at home in Morocco and, of course, my win in Wuhan. It’s obviously fantastic for me to be competing with SLR yet again next year. I’m very much looking forward to it.”
#WTCR, not #WRX – it’ll be a change of game for our #rallycross #WorldChamp @JohanKMS88. The Swede is to compete in the @Volkswagen #Golf #GTI #TCR in 2019. Sébastien Loeb Racing will run 4 Golf GTI TCR, with @Huffsport and @MBennaniRacing staying onboard. Bring it on! #GoVdubs pic.twitter.com/x5kCSlzTyH
— VolkswagenMotorsport (@volkswagenms) December 20, 2018