Thu 16 Nov 2023

Andersson makes history again as Swede stars in Hong Kong

Klara Andersson is no stranger to breaking new ground in rallycross – and last weekend in Hong Kong, she did it again...

Klara Andersson is no stranger to breaking new ground in rallycross. In 2021, she beat 57 male rivals to clinch the Swedish Championship’s 2150 class crown. In 2022, she became the first female driver to reach the rostrum at the very highest level. And last weekend in Hong Kong (11-12 November), she made history again.

Around the first city-centre circuit ever visited by the FIA World Rallycross Championship, Andersson was a factor from the outset. On a wet track surface in heat one on the opening day, the CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment ace confidently applied the pressure to Kevin Hansen and Johan Kristoffersson – briefly clashing with the latter as she exited the joker – en route to posting the third-fastest time of the session.

Unfortunately, that bright start was swiftly undone by a technical issue that put her out of heat two, dropping Andersson to sixth in the intermediate classification. Undeterred, she fought her way into the final – for the fourth time this season – and went on to take the chequered flag fifth.

Twenty-four hours later, Andersson battled hard against Timo Scheider and Patrick O’Donovan in heat two, before storming to the quickest time of all in heat three, with nobody able to get to within 1.7 seconds of the Swede as she became the first woman ever to top a heat session in World RX.

That secured her fifth spot in the ranking, and in the semi-final, Andersson defeated Saturday winner Kevin Hansen to advance to the final once again, with only Kristoffersson lapping faster than the 23-year-old Löberöd native. She then pushed team-mate Niclas Grönholm throughout to seal a sixth-place finish that capped an impressive second campaign at the international pinnacle of the sport.

“It was a strong weekend for the team,” Andersson acknowledged. “The conditions were really rough, but I was happy with my pace and to win my first heat overall. I do think both Niclas and I deserved more after our performance on Sunday – I felt we had what it took for a double podium, but contact in Turns One and Two in the final ruled me out of contention.

“Still, I’m proud of CE Dealer Team for grabbing second place in the Teams’ championship and Niclas for finishing third in the Drivers’ championship – I owe a massive ‘thank you’ to everybody for all their hard work this season – and I have to say, racing in Hong Kong was amazing and such a cool experience. The track was challenging and fun, the venue was beautiful and the fans were some of the most enthusiastic I’ve ever seen.

“It was an outstanding event – something we haven’t ever witnessed before in World RX, and that was really exciting. I would love for the championship to go to more new places. We have some legendary tracks but a lot of them are quite remote. Going into city centres allows us to really highlight the beauty of rallycross and makes the sport more accessible.”

While hailing Andersson’s ‘promising’ progress over her two years of world championship competition to-date, Jussi Pinomäki, Team Manager of CE Dealer Team, echoed his driver’s thoughts about the series’ downtown debut.

“The rallycross community showcased a positive future last weekend in Hong Kong,” the Finn remarked. “Despite the challenges, we’re happy with the strong result of our season. A big thanks to everyone for the support, and now I’m looking forward to next year and a bright future together with all of our partners.”

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