KRISTOFFERSSON CLEAN SWEEPS KOUVOLA
Saturday 29th of August 2020
Kristoffersson Motorsport’s driver was TQ (top qualifier) in the Intermediate Classification, won semi-final one and the final to secure his second win of the season – following victory in round on at Holjes in Sweden last weekend.
Finland’s Juha Rytkonen was a star performer, racing a Hyundai i20 Supercar for the GRX SET team. He was fourth in qualifying, won semi-final two and finished second in the final, one place ahead of Sweden’s Timmy Hansen, the reigning World RX Drivers’ Champion fighting back from a difficult opening to the season a week ago.
Hansen didn’t have the pace to match Kristoffersson or Rytkonen at the front of the six-lap final on the Kouvola circuit, but claimed the final podium position in a race for the finish line with Finnish star Niclas Gronholm. Competing at home for GRX Taneco, Gronholm finished fourth. Germany’s Timo Scheider, the ALL-INKL.COMMuennich Motorsport driver, was fifth and Team Hansen’s Kevin Hansen, from Sweden, made the final following an opportunistic overtake on lap one of the semi-final two and finished the final sixth.
Kristoffersson’s 22nd career victory was accompanied by winning round three of the new-for-2020 Champion Fast Start Award. “The final was very, very good. I had a very good start, like I had all day and from there on, the track was similar to how it was in the semi-final, so we could adapt a bit and do some small changes for the final which worked out well. I have to thank the team today, we did a lot of work and put a lot of effort into this weekend, especially having only one car on a new track to learn. It’s been quite tricky but it feels very nice to win practice, Q1, Q2, Q3, my semi-final and final today,” said Kristofferson.
Rytkonen’s second place marked the first podium of the season for a Gronholm RX Hyundai i20. “I’m really happy. The team is very, very good. I did not expect this at all. I just kept pushing in the final, I had Topi [Toomas Heikkinen] on the radio giving me information and he is very good, that helps a lot,” said Rytkonen.
Despite not making it into the final in round three, Mattias Ekstrom remains second in the Drivers’ standings, with the Hansen brothers tied in third. Timmy Hansen was delighted to his first podium of the season at Kouvola. “It was a hard final, I came out in third and from there it was a race of pace. When Rytkonen took the joker I knew that we were racing for position. Dad was pushing me so hard on the radio, especially the two last laps was absolutely everything I could give. It wasn’t enough for more than third today but I’m happy for this. It’s a huge step from Holjes in Sweden last weekend when we didn’t really know what was going on and Kevin claimed a P2, but we were a bit off the pace. After all the work we’ve done this week to be rewarded with a podium feels incredible,” said Hansen.
First reserve for the final was Monster Energy RX Cartel’s Andreas Bakkerud, from Norway, who was third in Q2 and just missed a place in the final with fourth in semi-final one in the Renault Megane. Finland’s Jere Kalliokoski returned to World RX in a Ford Fiesta and was fourth in semi-final two, in front of both KYB Team JC drivers. Sweden’s Robin Larsson was classified fifth but retired with a front puncture on his Audi S1. Ekstrom qualified on pole position but retired from the race on the second lap. GRX Taneco’s Timur Timerzyanov, from Russia, and GCK Bilstein’s Anton Marklund, from Sweden, were fourth and fifth in semi-final one.
Hungary’s Tamas Karai was 13th in the Intermediate Classification on his first World RX start of the season, after racing in the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Holjes-Sweden. France’s Guerlain Chicherit was highest placed of the Unkorrupted drivers in the team’s Renault Clios, with Netherland’s Kevin Abbring 18th on his debut with the team. Finland’s Jani Paasonen took 15th in his home event for Ferratum Team. ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport’s Rene Muennich was 16th, Monster Energy GCK RX Cartel’s Liam Doran again showed good pace but had a disappointing round and was 17th. Former Finnish Rallycross Champion Atro Maatta was 19th in the Intermediate Classification.
Paul Bellamy, Senior Vice President of Motorsports Events at IMG, concluded: “Congratulations to Johan for claiming another win, and to Juha for producing such a strong drive. Also to Timmy, like all of teams in the paddock Team Hansen has worked hard in the week between Sweden and Finland to find every bit of performance they can. Thanks to the Finnish event organisers and partners for delivering this event from nothing in just eight weeks, and to the FIA and teams for their continuing efforts in difficult circumstances this year. 350 personnel took PCR tests, returned negative results and continue to follow new working practises to enable these events to take place.
“I’m looking forward to more great racing in round four tomorrow, after which we will have the second edition of the new RX After Track fuelled by Monster Energy on our Facebook and YouTube channels.
The fourth round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place tomorrow (30 August), also at the CapitalBox World RX of Finland in Kouvola.