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Sat 08 Oct 2022

Kristoffersson: We don’t seem to have an Achilles’ heel

As he tackles rounds six and seven of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend (8-9 October), Johan Kristoffersson has warned his rivals that he has ‘a little extra to give when required’ – while suggesting that his Kristoffersson Motorsport team ‘doesn’t seem to have an Achilles’ heel’.

As he tackles rounds six and seven of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend (8-9 October), Johan Kristoffersson has warned his rivals that he has ‘a little extra to give when required’ – while suggesting that his Kristoffersson Motorsport team ‘doesn’t seem to have an Achilles’ heel’.

Kristoffersson has won four of the opening five outings of the campaign behind the wheel of his Volkswagen RX1e – five on-the-road, before being penalised ten seconds for contact with Timmy Hansen last time out in Portugal – and at three very different tracks, from the undulations of Hell to the high-grip asphalt of Rīga and the gravel-heavy nature of Montalegre.

Although he has not had it easy and has had to fight for the top step of the podium on every occasion, each time his rivals have applied the pressure, the Swede has been able to turn up the wick. The message is clear – if they want to beat him, they will need to dig deep.

We have now had races with high and low grip, dry and wet surfaces – we don't seem to have an Achilles heel,” Kristoffersson mused. “Here at Spa, the first turn is a bit hazardous – it can be risky on the outside and on the inside there is a concrete wall, and since we are carrying lots of points into this event, we are not in a position to take any big risks.

“The car is working well and there have been moments when I have had the same feeling as in 2018 and 2020, where I can push a little bit more on the laps I need to. I feel I have a little extra to give when required.”

That was certainly the case in Portugal, when Kristoffersson looked set to lose out to CE Dealer Team rival Niclas Grönholm on-track in the final, only to produce a stellar penultimate lap to emerge from the joker just ahead of the Finn, prior to his post-race penalty. Team Principal Tommy Kristoffersson says the four-time world champion should take much of the credit for the Swedish squad’s ultra-successful start to the season.

“Johan is the anchorman of the team,” he explained. “We all know what he can do, but I think even by his high standards, he has reached a new level of maturity. He has been deeply involved in the process of building the car and has worked on his role as a mentor to the other drivers.

Communication is a very big part of the team, and he is very good at sharing information and his experience with the others. That has helped Ole Christian [Veiby] and Gustav [Bergström] to develop a lot – they have performed better than we could even have dreamt of. 

Portugal was a rollercoaster ride with problems for both Ole Christian and Johan and we had to reset, but the team is showing incredible character and mental strength. We were outnumbered, but we came back to extend our lead in both the drivers’ and teams’ championships.

We feel very confident in the team and the atmosphere is great. As we progress, we learn what buttons to push and our drivers are feeling more and more comfortable – but we need to remain disciplined to make the best of the great situation we have put ourselves in. We are the hunted team, and we must act accordingly.”