source: FIA World Rallycross
- Johan Kristoffersson kept the defence of his FIA World Rallycross Championship crown well and truly alive at the Nürburgring today, racing to his third victory of the 2021 campaign as championship leader Timmy Hansen was disqualified from the final
Johan Kristoffersson kept the defence of his FIA World Rallycross Championship crown well and truly alive at the Nürburgring today, racing to his third victory of the 2021 campaign as championship leader Timmy Hansen was disqualified from the final.
Kristoffersson entered the weekend 17 points adrift of Hansen at the summit of the Drivers’ standings, with his fellow Swede firm favourite to lift the laurels for a second time, following his 2019 success. The triple title-winner navigated his way safely through an incident-packed Q1 – with overnight snow throwing a curve ball into the mix – to post the fastest time, backing that up with third place in Q2 to secure Top Qualifier honours, with Hansen down in fourth. Three points already clawed back.
The KYB EKS JC ace then saw off the threat of Q2 winner Niclas Grönholm to take maximum points from the first semi-final, and with Hansen picking up a five-second penalty for contact in the second semi-final, the gap between the pair was down to 12 points entering the six-lap final. Not only that, but they would be starting at opposite ends of the grid.
Kristoffersson proceeded to deliver a masterclass in precision driving in the tricky conditions to take the chequered flag almost four seconds clear of his closest pursuer, and whilst Hansen battled his way up to second, he was subsequently disqualified for first corner contact that tipped Grönholm into a half-spin. That reduced the points difference to just four going into tomorrow’s all-important decider – very much game on.
Johan Kristoffersson, KYB EKS JC, said:
“Mentally, it was a tough day but I really enjoyed it. The conditions were extremely difficult, and we had to try to adapt as quickly as possible to a new track, in the snow and without studded tyres! That was maybe the biggest challenge I’ve ever had in a rallycross car, but it’s always fun as a driver taking on big challenges.
“I didn’t have the best starts in Q2 or the semi-final – we’ll have to work on that – but the final was better. The biggest problem was visibility with the low sun, particularly at the bottom end of the track – it was almost like driving blind at times, but I knew it would be even harder for the guys behind, so I tried to take it steady and drive just fast enough to secure the points.
“The Audi has performed very well today, and Yury [Belevskiy] did a fantastic job, jumping from a front wheel-drive car into World RX and finishing on the podium first time out behind only two world champions. Timmy coming from the back of the grid into second proved that he is up for a fight tomorrow – but so are we!”
Belevskiy, indeed, was arguably the star of the opening day at World RX of Germany, going second-quickest in both Q1 and Q2 to secure pole position for semi-final two on his debut at the international pinnacle of the sport, having wrapped up the Euro RX3 title at Montalegre last month. The Russian excelled behind the wheel of his Volland Racing Audi S1, and went on to scoop the runner-up spoils following Hansen’s disqualification.
Krisztián Szabó wound up third, maintaining his stellar record of reaching the final in every round to-date this season for GRX-SET World RX Team, with stablemate Grönholm a frustrated fourth. Kristoffersson’s team-mate Enzo Ide similarly advanced to the final, but retired on the first lap prior to being disqualified for the same reason as Hansen.
In the supporting FIA RX2e Championship, title duellists Guillaume De Ridder and Jesse Kallio won a qualifying session apiece, leaving them tied at the top of the table in their battle to be crowned the inaugural FIA electric rallycross champion.
The campaign will conclude tomorrow, with racing at the Nürburgring set to begin at 09:00 CET and all of the action across the board to be livestreamed in glorious HD quality via the cutting-edge RX+ broadcast platform. This premium production grants subscribers unparalleled and unprecedented access anytime, anywhere and on any device, offering a choice of viewing angles, in-depth expert analysis, behind-the-scenes features and exclusive interviews.
1. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (SWE) KYB EKS JC 6 laps
2. Yury BELEVSKIY (-) Volland Racing KFT + 4.644
3. Krisztián SZABÓ (HUN) GRX-SET World RX Team + 5.077s
4. Niclas GRÖNHOLM (FIN) GRX-SET World RX Team + 5.751s
DSQ Timmy HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team
DSQ Enzo IDE (BEL) KYB EKS JC