WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
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Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Bauhaus Royal Rally of Scandinavia
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Starts: Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 12:00:00 PM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
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Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Sat 05 Aug 2023

Kristoffersson leads as Åhlin-Kottulinsky stars on day one

He might be competing in a different category and different car this weekend, but Johan Kristoffersson is still top of the table after the opening day of action in RX2e at Mettet today...

He might be competing in a different category and different car this weekend, but Johan Kristoffersson is still top of the table after the opening day of action in the penultimate round of the 2023 FIA RX2e Championship at Mettet in Belgium today (5 August).

Uncharacteristically, Kristoffersson was ‘only’ fourth-quickest in qualifying practice, but he upped the ante in heat one to advance to second, despite losing time behind Kristoffersson Motorsport stablemate Ole Christian Veiby.

The five-time world champion subsequently soared to the summit of the standings in heat two, as early leader Kevin Hansen came unstuck after a first corner clash with Veiby damaged the suspension on his Hansen World RX Team car.

The younger of the two Hansen brothers had initially looked to be the driver to beat, comfortably setting the pace in both free practice and qualifying practice and then holding Kristoffersson off in heat one, but his heat two misfortune dropped him to second in the overnight classification, just ahead of team-mate Timmy Hansen in third.

The 2019 world champion had to contend with a bent steering column in heat one and lost time due to a last lap error in heat two, but still did enough to pip Veiby to third overall, with Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky the best of the RX2e ‘regulars’ in fifth on her Mettet debut. The Swede was rapid throughout, and a stellar start from the outside of the grid in heat two propelled her to the second-fastest time of the session behind only Kristoffersson.

Marko Muru – making only his second appearance in the fiercely-contested single-spec series – sits sixth following an impressive run, but there was less joy for title protagonists Nils Andersson and Isak Sjökvist, both of whom endured a difficult day. Andersson was hit by Ole Henry Steinsholt, while Sjökvist picked up a puncture – with the #YellowSquad star additionally incurring a five-second penalty for cutting the track – leaving the pair tied on points down in tenth and 11th.

“It feels like a new experience every time we go out in this car, and I’ve just been trying to find my way around it,” revealed Kristoffersson. “It hasn’t been easy – you need to be very smooth and not as sideways as I’m used to – but I’m enjoying it and giving it my best.”

The racing continues tomorrow (Sunday, 6 August) with heats three and four, the semi-finals and all-important final. Every moment of the action will be broadcast live on RX+ from 10:30 CET.