Tuesday | 20 Sep 2022

‘Proud’ Andersson reflects on history-making weekend

Klara Andersson will long remember the 2022 edition of Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal. Not only did she consistently take the fight to some of the biggest names in the sport, but her reward at the end of the weekend was a maiden podium finish in just her fifth start at the highest level.

Klara Andersson will long remember the 2022 edition of Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal. Not only did she consistently take the fight to some of the biggest names in the sport, but her reward at the end of the weekend was a maiden podium finish in just her fifth start at the highest level.

By finishing third in Sunday afternoon’s final at Montalegre, Andersson made history as the first female driver ever to reach the rostrum in top flight international rallycross – with her eye-catching progress again underscoring her status as one of the discipline’s fastest-rising young stars.

On her first visit to the flowing, gravelly Portuguese circuit, the Swede struggled for speed in Saturday morning’s SuperPole session, but a brace of rapid and assertive starts in her two heats proved to be the prelude to an impressive progression race, as she all-but matched the pace of team-mate Niclas Grönholm and Kevin Hansen ahead of her.

The semi-final would unfortunately culminate in light contact between the two Construction Equipment Dealer Team cars – bringing an early end to their challenge – but undeterred, Andersson continued to keep the championship’s big names honest throughout Sunday’s heats.

A close second place to Grönholm in the pair’s semi-final secured her a spot in the all-important final, and after taking advantage of Johan Kristoffersson’s clash with Timmy Hansen, she proceeded to keep the 2019 world champion behind her throughout, while applying the pressure to Ole Christian Veiby just ahead. When Kristoffersson was subsequently penalised, fourth place became third – and history was made.

Wow, what a weekend!” reflected the 22-year-old Löberöd native. “I knew going to Portugal that it would be the track I would struggle at the most this year, and it was really challenging. My background is in rear wheel-drive cars and circuit racing where you need to be much smoother, whereas at Montalegre, you really have to ‘send it’ if you want to be quick. It was one of the most difficult but fun tracks I’ve ever raced on and I truly had to step out of my comfort zone, which taught me a lot as a driver.

“We had an unfortunate ending to the day on Saturday, but I’m really proud of the way everybody worked over the weekend. The whole team did a great job since Rīga, and while there is obviously still a lot we need to improve, I think we have a competitive car now, more-or-less, and there were plenty of positives to take away from Portugal.

“Niclas [Grönholm] was super-fast on both days, and to claim my first World RX podium was of course amazing but above all, I was really happy with my driving and performance, and the development and progress I made over the weekend. I learnt a lot from following the really quick guys on-track and tried to push a bit too, and this double top three finish is a much-needed boost for everyone in the team that we will carry with us into the next round.”