Tue 27 Sep 2022

Bergström ‘surpassing expectations’ in rookie campaign

It is fair to say one of the most impressive performers of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign to-date has been Gustav Bergström, with multiple world champion Johan Kristoffersson even going so far as to reveal that he ‘recognises himself’ in his young Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS stablemate.

It is fair to say one of the most impressive performers of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign to-date has been Gustav Bergström, with multiple world champion Johan Kristoffersson even going so far as to reveal that he ‘recognises himself’ in his young Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS stablemate.

An unknown on the World RX scene at the start of the season – indeed, having only begun racing at all the previous year – Bergström immediately looked at home amongst his illustrious adversaries in the Hell curtain-raiser last month, prior to reaching the final for the first time in round two in Rīga behind the wheel of his Volkswagen RX1e.

The Swedish teenager achieved that courtesy of some electrifying launches and a not-insignificant turn-of-speed, going on to repeat the feat on the opening day at Montalegre just over a week ago on his first visit to the challenging Portuguese circuit, after securing an excellent fourth in the intermediate ranking.

Bergström looked well-placed to advance to the final again 24 hours later as he occupied fifth position at the end of the heats, only for a technical issue to rule him out of the rest of the day. Still, he has more than proven his ability to hold his own against rallycross’ elite at the international pinnacle of the discipline – a fact not lost on either Kristoffersson Junior or Senior.

“I recognise myself a lot in Gustav,” explained Johan. “He’s a little bit younger than when I started my career, but he’s keen to learn and is doing so quickly. Of course, it’s very nice to give him my feedback to learn from as well, and sometimes we look at his V-box and try to learn some lines from him. He’s delivering a great performance on-track – to be able to fight Timmy and Kevin [Hansen] in Portugal was a fantastic effort. It’s really good to have him in the team.”

“Gustav has surpassed all of our expectations,” echoed Tommy, who oversees the three-car Kristoffersson Motorsport-run outfit. “He has had a tough task so far in having so much to acclimatise to, but he is taking giant steps and is already able to play an important part in our strategies. Honestly, I’m lost for words. What he’s doing is incredibly impressive.”

As he prepares for the upcoming double-header at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend (8-9 October), Bergström himself acknowledges that the goalposts are constantly shifting while he navigates his way through his maiden World RX campaign.

My problem in the past has been finding the pace quickly enough,” reflected the 19-year-old, “but I have been closely studying Johan and trying to copy what he’s doing. My focus is always forward and I am continuously aiming higher. There are always new targets to reach...”

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