Mon 01 Jul 2024

Defending champion sets the pace on first day of testing

Testing for the 2024 FIA World Rallycross Championship season – the first under the series’ exciting new ‘Battle of Technologies’ format – got underway at Höljes in Sweden today (1 July), with the timesheets pointing to an ultra-competitive campaign ahead.

Following seven-and-a-half hours of running – seeing a total of 339 laps completed around the iconic Swedish circuit – less than a second blanketed the leading nine drivers in the classification.

As has become somewhat customary in World RX in recent years, it was Johan Kristoffersson who ended up at the top of the pile, as the six-time world champion vaulted from an uncharacteristically lowly seventh place in the morning to the summit of the standings behind the wheel of his sustainably-fuelled, combustion-powered VW Polo KMS 601 RX.

That left the Swede 0.156s clear of his closest rival, fellow former title-winner Timmy Hansen, who led the electric charge in his Hansen World RX Team Peugeot 208 RX1e – raising the prospect of another battle royale between the pair during the forthcoming season and an intriguing ICE vs. EV duel.

“I’m happy with the day in terms of what we achieved on-track,” reported KMS – HORSE Powertrain star Kristoffersson. “Still, this is only testing and we can already see how close it is between everybody. Let’s see how things look when the real race is on.”

Morning pace-setter Niclas Grönholm ultimately wound up third for CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment, 0.329s shy of Kristoffersson’s best and making it three different teams inside the overall top three, with World RX debutant Sondre Evjen an impressive fourth in the similarly electric Volkswagen RX1e fielded by Kristoffersson Motorsport.

Kevin Hansen placed fifth and Ole Christian Veiby sixth, while René Münnich turned heads in his newly-liveried SEAT Ibiza – particularly when he piloted it to second position in the morning session. In his maiden competitive appearance in World RX, JDM Raptor Racing’s Anthony Pelfrene covered the greatest number of laps with 45.

Testing continues tomorrow (Tuesday, 2 July) with a further eight hours of track time, before the campaign begins in earnest with a double-header curtain-raiser at Ferratum World RX of Sweden – rallycross’ legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ (6-7 July).

Test Times, Day One (1 July)

1. Johan Kristoffersson KMS - HORSE Powertrain VW Polo KMS 601 RX (ICE) 42.854s
2. Timmy Hansen Hansen World RX Team Peugeot 208 RX1e (EV) +0.156s
3. Niclas Grönholm CE Dealer Team PWR RX1e (EV) +0.329s
4. Sondre Evjen Kristoffersson Motorsport Volkswagen RX1e (EV) +0.363s
5. Kevin Hansen Hansen World RX Team Peugeot 208 RX1e (EV) +0.513s
6. Ole Christian Veiby KMS - HORSE Powertrain VW Polo KMS 601 RX (ICE) +0.542s
7. Gustav Bergström Kristoffersson Motorsport Volkswagen RX1e (EV) +0.747s
8. René Münnich ALL-INKL.COM Muennich Motorsport SEAT Ibiza (ICE) +0.820s
9. Klara Andersson CE Dealer Team PWR RX1e (EV) +0.909s
10. Anthony Pelfrene JDM Raptor Racing Peugeot 208 WRX (ICE) +1.720s

Images: Jaanus Ree / CE Dealer Team

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