Fri 08 Dec 2023

World RX Season Review: Kristoffersson hits rivals for six

The writing was on the wall early on. Johan Kristoffersson left his home circuit of Höljes with a full scorecard from the opening three events of the 2023 World RX campaign, and ultimately, nobody could stop the Swede from speeding to an extraordinary sixth career crown...

The writing was on the wall early on. Johan Kristoffersson left his home circuit of Höljes with a full scorecard from the first three events on the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship calendar, and while a change of car for the remaining four rounds offered his rivals a brief ray of hope, ultimately, nobody could stop the Swede from speeding to an extraordinary sixth career crown.


Kristoffersson has long been acknowledged as the benchmark in modern-day rallycross, and he came out-of-the-blocks in imperious form with back-to-back victories in Portugal, Norway and Sweden to establish a daunting 27-point advantage over his nearest competitor at the summit of the standings.


The events of Lydden Hill put the title fight on-hold, before the action resumed in South Africa in October, with the entire field taking to the track in identical ZEROID X1 machinery in Cape Town and Hong Kong.


After relinquishing his hitherto unblemished SuperPole record on the opening day at Killarney International Raceway, Kristoffersson responded in the only way he knows – with a crushing victory, the 39th of his glittering career at the international pinnacle of the sport.


The Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS star headed to Hong Kong for the double-header season finale sitting 36 points clear of his closest pursuer. By the end of the first day around the city’s Central Harbourfront circuit, the job was done, even if a technical issue denied him a chance to pip Kevin Hansen to the top step of the podium in the final. No matter – he took his revenge 24 hours later, with a demonstration drive that celebrated his coronation in style.


It was the younger Hansen brother who secured the runner-up spoils in the championship table – a career-high – courtesy of four rostrum results from seven starts, including his brilliant triumph on the streets of Hong Kong. The Hansen World RX Team ace gelled immediately with the ZEROID X1 following the mid-season switch – unsurprisingly, perhaps, given his background – and has unquestionably marked himself out as a potential future champion in the sport.


For the third consecutive campaign, Niclas Grönholm wound up third, not winning for the first time since 2018 but progressing to the final on all-bar-one occasion. Timo Scheider placed an excellent fourth – four spots higher than his previous best in World RX – racing to an unexpected podium finish in Hell and claiming a hugely popular and well-deserved breakthrough victory in Cape Town by getting the better of Kevin Hansen and Kristoffersson.


Ole Christian Veiby and 2019 world champion Timmy Hansen endured difficult seasons in fifth and sixth respectively, with the pair famously coming to blows in Norway both on and off-track.


Klara Andersson advanced to the final five times for CE Dealer Team as the young Swede continued to build upon her impressive rookie campaign in the top flight in 2022, while Sébastien Loeb rolled back the years with some vintage performances behind the wheel of Special ONE Racing’s Lancia Delta Evo-e RX in the early rounds and British teenager Patrick O’Donovan stunned with a third-place finish on his world championship debut in Hong Kong.


Championship Standings

1. Johan Kristoffersson 141 pts
2. Kevin Hansen 104 pts
3. Niclas Grönholm 94 pts
4. Timo Scheider 89 pts
5. Ole Christian Veiby 82 pts
6. Timmy Hansen 78 pts

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