Monday, March 4, 2024

Kristoffersson Secures Magic Win In Sweden

Johan Kristoffersson further cements his status as a motorsports legend with every race weekend in the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The Swedish superstar romped to victory at his home event in Höljes, Sweden, in a spectacular return for the Magic Weekend. Hansen World RX Team have been reinvigorated by a p2 finish for Timmy Hansen, while Kristoffersson’s teammate, Ole Christian Veiby, rounded off the podium.

Kristoffersson really was the class of the field all weekend. His almighty unbeaten SuperPole run continues unabated, having overcome a small error to pip Veiby to the post. He never looked challenged on Saturday, taking both heat wins with ease. On Sunday, in trickier conditions, he managed almost frighteningly consistent times, setting practically identical times for both his heat races, and then for both semi-final and final.

L-R: Timmy Hansen, Johan Kristoffersson, Ole Christian Veiby: the podium for the Magic Weekend. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

Hansen overcame a difficult start to the season, finishing second behind Kristoffersson in both semi-final and final. His brother, Kevin Hansen, also demonstrated great pace, finishing second in heats 2, 3 and 4. He also won his semi-final but unfortunately was just pipped to the final podium spot by Veiby. However, the Hansen team will surely be very happy with the results from this weekend. They may now have the pace, in the right circumstances, to take the fight to the Kristoffersson Motorsport team in future events.

Timmy Hansen secured a great second place finish. Credit: Mihai Stetcu / Red Bull Content Pool

Timo Scheider, podium finisher at the last event in Hell, Norway, impressed again by getting his SEAT Ibiza into the final. Bearing in mind the SEAT is a 2022 model, once the new car comes in later in the year, he will surely be a contender for wins every time. Guerlain Chicherit continued the trend of a Special ONE Racing Lancia Delta Evo-e RX getting into the final. For all that he didn’t finish the race, the beautiful Lancia continues to be very rapid.

Less happy with today’s results will be the Construction Equipment Dealer Team. Niclas Grönholm, who had been working his way up, finishing third in Montalegre, then second in Hell, was surprisingly knocked out in his semi-final, as was his teammate Klara Andersson. Grönholm will feel that he could have gone quicker, having spent a large portion of Saturday stuck behind a very well-defending Timmy Hansen. Still, as always, it’s the final timesheet that counts, and it will show that Grönholm has taken a knock in the championship standings.

Andersson in the gravel during a difficult weekend for the CE Dealer Team. Credit: Mihai Stetcu / Red Bull Content Pool

Speaking of which, Kristoffersson’s grip on the championship is already phenomenal. Only three rounds in, he has achieved the maximum points haul of 23 per event each time. Grönholm, who had been keeping in contention with him, now sits 27 points behind, already a full perfect score adrift with seven rounds still to go. Everyone else is at least 30 points behind. If anyone is going to even attempt a challenge on his authority, it will have to happen seriously at the next round.

The championship’s next move is a much anticipated one, as the season returns to where it all began. Lydden Hill, the birthplace of rallycross, plays host to round 4 as the FIA World Rallycross Championship returns to Britain for the World RX of United Kingdom. The Checkered Flag will be there, covering all the action 22/23 July.