Mon 20 Nov 2023

Kristoffersson eyeing Loeb’s legacy after latest title triumph

Never one to rest upon his laurels, Johan Kristoffersson is already targeting further titles at the international pinnacle of the sport after clinching his sixth career crown in the FIA World Rallycross Championship on the streets of Hong Kong...

Never one to rest upon his laurels, Johan Kristoffersson is already targeting further titles at the international pinnacle of the sport after clinching his sixth career crown in the FIA World Rallycross Championship on the streets of Hong Kong just over a week ago (11-12 November).


Requiring only ten points heading into the event to seal the deal, Kristoffersson got the job done on the opening day of competition on the Central Harbourfront circuit in the Asian metropolis – World RX’s first-ever downtown venue – despite failing to take the chequered flag in the final when technical issues intervened on the last lap.


That misfortune, the Swede reckoned, robbed fans of a thrilling photo-finish as he hunted down Kevin Hansen, but 24 hours later, there was to be no denying him, as Kristoffersson dominated proceedings from heat two onwards to cement his 40th series triumph.


“What an amazing weekend!” the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS ace enthused. “It was great to go to Hong Kong and race on a fun track in front of so many enthusiastic spectators, so it was obviously a shame that we couldn’t give them a fight all the way to the finish line on the Saturday due to my car stopping in the final.


“This team doesn’t accept results like that, so it was a little hard to stand on the podium for the Teams’ Championship and look happy, because we wanted more, but we gained our revenge on the Sunday.


“I was a bit too cautious at the start of the semi-final, which allowed Timmy [Hansen] to get past, but I managed to pull out a great joker and then a very fast last lap to take the win. After that, I tried a different approach at the start of the final, and I knew that if somebody wanted to get ahead of me into Turn One, they would need to do something extraordinary.


“When I exited Turn Two, I saw that Ole Christian [Veiby – team-mate] was behind me. I pushed really hard on the first lap before focussing on staying safe and avoiding any punctures or damage. To come away with a one-two finish for the team, there’s no better feeling than that – what a fantastic end to the season!”


It was another masterful performance by the undisputed master of the discipline, but underscoring his burning ambition, Kristoffersson’s thoughts are already turning towards the future – and to further championship celebrations...


“The team did a great job over the winter by working so hard to improve the car – that's where we laid the foundations for this success,” the 34-year-old mused. “Every single person put in a tremendous effort and we showed how strong we were at the start of the season by winning the first three rounds. We made the right choices with smart decisions and no mistakes, and it was very special that we were able to defend both titles – that's a real statement of strength.


“Now it’s time to enjoy a little bit of a winter break before we begin re-charging for the next and the next and the next. My aim is to become world champion for the seventh time next year, and beyond that, well, Sébastien Loeb’s record of nine world championship titles looks like an appealing target, too...”


Team Principal Tommy Kristoffersson was also quick to pay tribute to the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS crew following five victories from seven outings in 2023.


“It was a dream scenario to round off the season – we could not have directed it better than that,” he acknowledged. “The atmosphere in Hong Kong was like what we experienced in World RX a few years ago, and the final on Sunday was outstanding.


“I have to say, though, these titles were already won during the winter when everybody put their absolute soul into this project. There is something very special about this team. Everyone was on their toes early every morning and even after securing both championships on the Saturday, we were first in the paddock on the Sunday. I’m immensely proud.”

Latvia
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Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM