Fri 24 Nov 2023

Kristoffersson keen to add Åhlin-Kottulinsky to 2024 World RX line-up

Tommy Kristoffersson says he is ‘working hard’ to bring Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky into his team’s World RX line-up next season, arguing that his fellow Swede is ‘absolutely ready’ to step up to the highest level.

Tommy Kristoffersson has revealed that he is ‘working really hard’ to bring Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky into his team’s FIA World Rallycross Championship line-up next season, arguing that his fellow Swede is ‘absolutely ready’ to step up to the highest level.

A multiple event-winner and current title contender alongside Johan Kristoffersson in off-road series Extreme E, Åhlin-Kottulinsky made her full-time debut in rallycross in 2023, following sporadic appearances over the years while she concentrated predominantly on circuit racing – with considerable success.

She wasted no time at all in replicating that success in the single-spec FIA RX2e Championship, reaching the rostrum on her debut in Hell with Team E and finishing as runner-up to guest entrant Kristoffersson at Mettet en route to third in the overall standings.

The 31-year-old subsequently joined the Kristoffersson Motorsport-run Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS outfit for the World RX season finale in Hong Kong earlier this month, and although it would prove to be a challenging weekend, Team Principal Tommy Kristoffersson saw enough to be convinced that Åhlin-Kottulinsky is ready for a seat at the highest table.

“Even if she wasn’t able to show her true potential in Hong Kong, we know what Mikaela is capable of,” he explained. “It was a difficult weekend in which she seemed to find herself repeatedly in the wrong place at the wrong time, but while the results might not have reflected it, the data showed some real flashes of speed.

“She grew up in the sport and has been in and around it for a long time, so she fully understands how it works, and she has a great attitude and a really positive outlook and approach. She’s very professional and very smart. She listens, analyses the data and then goes out and implements what she has learned – and she’s a very quick learner.

“The main thing she needs right now is more proper rallycross experience. Most of her career has been in circuit racing. If she can do some ice-driving over the winter, that would be a great opportunity for her to have a bit more of a play and get a better feel for how the car moves around on loose surfaces.

“The bottom line is that Mikaela is absolutely ready to take the next step and move up to World RX – I have no doubts at all about that – and I’m pushing to get her on-board in our team next year. There’s a long way to go yet, but that’s the target and we’re all working really hard to achieve it.”

Indeed, while the results sheets might show a pair of semi-final exits for Åhlin-Kottulinsky in the high-calibre field in Hong Kong, that does not do justice to her performance on her World RX bow. On a damp circuit in heat one on the opening day, she kept pace with six-time world championship-winning team-mate Kristoffersson in the early stages and posted the fifth-fastest time overall.

She was then the quickest Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver in the Sunday morning warm-up, and was going well in heat three later that day until her race ended with a spin at the last corner. Nevertheless, as an exercise in gaining experience, it was mission accomplished – and the Karlstad native is already keen for more.

“It obviously wasn’t the result I had been hoping for, with some errors and technical issues keeping me out of both finals, but there were a lot of lessons learned and positive experiences to take away as my goal is to be back racing in World RX sooner rather than later,” asserted Åhlin-Kottulinsky.

“It was awesome to drive in the centre of Hong Kong – it was the coolest racing venue I’ve ever been to, with so many amazing fans – but it was tough out on the track. I started well on the Saturday but made a small mistake in heat two and then we didn’t have enough time to get the car back in good shape for the semi-final.

“It was a rough weekend for me in that respect, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity and for everybody’s support, and very happy for the team’s success in the championship. It was fantastic to be able to work so closely with KMS. I learnt a lot about analysing data and even though I’m a little disappointed with my own result, I will reflect upon this experience with positive feelings and I hope to be back soon!”

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