Tuesday | 24 Aug 2021

Abbring ‘kicks it up a notch’ with maiden podium finish

Kevin Abbring reached the rostrum in only his sixth FIA World Rallycross Championship start at Höljes last weekend (20-22 August), and having displayed race-winning pace in Sweden, the Unkorrupted ace is now targeting an ‘even better result’ next time out on the team’s home soil in France.

Kevin Abbring reached the rostrum in only his sixth FIA World Rallycross Championship start at Höljes last weekend (20-22 August), and having displayed race-winning pace in Sweden, the Unkorrupted ace is now targeting an ‘even better result’ next time out on the team’s home soil in France.

Abbring’s World RX debut in Norway in 2019 already hinted at his potential in the discipline, as the Dutchman led the final in tricky conditions in an ESMotorsport Škoda Fabia, going on to finish fourth. He matched that result just three weeks later in Sweden, and in his maiden appearance behind the wheel of Unkorrupted’s Renault Mégane R.S. RX in Barcelona last month, he unleashed a scintillating turn-of-speed on his way to sixth place.

At Höljes, Abbring was one of the leading contenders from the outset. After lapping second-fastest in free practice, the 32-year-old found himself delayed by a joker lap collision with KYB EKS JC rival Enzo Ide in Q1, but thereafter posted the three quickest laps of the session to underscore what might have been.

Traffic in Q2 was a further frustration, but Abbring woke up on Sunday morning with the bit well-and-truly between his teeth. Having paced morning warm-up, he proceeded to top the timesheets again in Q3, setting the fastest lap on this occasion by almost half-a-second to move up to third position overall.

Another strong run through Q4 secured Abbring a front row starting spot for the first semi-final, which he duly converted into a second-place finish. An early joker tactic in the final left the former rallying star hunting down the Hansen brothers at the head of the field, but several laps stuck behind Krisztián Szabó’s Hyundai i20 dashed his hopes of fighting for victory.

Nonetheless, Abbring’s breakthrough World RX podium has vaulted him up to fourth in the title standings ahead of the third round of the 2021 campaign at Lohéac next weekend (3-5 September).

“I’m super pleased with this result,” he enthused. “The team has been working so hard, and it’s great to see us convert on the track and end up on the podium – I’m really proud of everyone. We started off the season showing promising pace and at Höljes, we kicked it up a notch again.

“We put down leading times in both the semi-final and final, which gives the whole team such a boost ahead of the upcoming event in France. I absolutely loved this spectacular track here in Sweden, and it was great to race in front of fans to take my first podium in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Now onto Lohéac, where I'm hoping for an even better result.”