Sat 17 Jun 2023

Clean sweep for the champ on day one

His rivals might have threatened his dominance in the SuperPole session in Norway, but there was no doubting who was top dog come the opening heat races in Hell...

Johan Kristoffersson’s rivals thought they saw a chink of light during SuperPole at World RX of Norway today (17 June), when he was quickest by ‘only’ a tenth-of-a-second. If he left the door slightly ajar in that session, though, the multiple FIA World Rallycross Champion made sure to slam it firmly shut in the two heats.

In both races, Kristoffersson kept control at the start and thereafter proceeded to pull away from his pursuers, with nobody able to take the fight to the Swede and his Volkswagen RX1e. A clean sweep of fastest times puts him in pole position going into the event’s final day tomorrow, when he will be bidding to maintain his perfect start to the campaign.

“It’s good to go to bed tonight having had two good heats, but at the same time there we can’t relax thinking we are the fastest because we have 100 points, since in the end, it’s only after the final where they hand out the championship points,” cautioned the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS star.

“I had a good SuperPole, two good starts and the car feels good, so no complaints. With the way the track is evolving, you have to be so precise because if you put half-a-wheel in the loose stuff, you can lose seven tenths-of-a-second in just one corner. There is always progress to be made and we have to keep working, be on our toes, look at all the details and see if we can continue improving tomorrow.”

Montalegre runner-up Kevin Hansen ran Kristoffersson closest for Hansen World RX Team, with the Swedish squad showing much improved race pace after struggling for single-lap speed earlier in the day. A rapid run in heat two enabled Niclas Grönholm (CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment) – another to struggle in SuperPole – to pip Timmy Hansen to fourth, with little to separate the 2019 world champion from his younger brother in either contest.

Home hero Ole Christian Veiby – celebrating his 27th birthday – sits fifth overall, with Sébastien Loeb thrilling fans with his trademark hard-charging style on his way to sixth in Special ONE Racing’s Lancia Delta Evo-e RX.

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider showed a step forward in form after settling back into the World RX groove in Portugal earlier this month, while Guerlain Chicherit in the second Lancia was slowed by a last lap issue in heat two. The overnight order is completed by Klara Andersson and Gustav Bergström, with the pair making contact in the opening heat.

In the supporting FIA European Rallycross Championship, Patrick O’Donovan leads defending champion Anton Marklund at the head of the order after three crowd-pleasing heats, in two of which they clashed on the run to Turn One. Championship leader Jānis Baumanis is in close company in third.

In Euro RX3, Nils Volland went unbeaten back at the scene of his series debut last year, with team-mates Espen Isaksætre and Damian Litwinowicz rounding out an all-Audi top three.

The action continues tomorrow (Sunday), with a morning warm-up for all categories at 10:00 CET followed by the races from 11:10 CET. Fans can watch every moment live on RX+, with monthly and annual subscriptions available to purchase here.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM