Tuesday | 01 Nov 2022

Spanish stars: Cooper Tires’ heroes of Catalunya

The winners of the Cooper Tires ‘Racer of the Day’ and ‘Racer of the Weekend’ awards from World RX of Catalunya (29-30 October) were revealed today, celebrating some of the very best performances at the famous Spanish Grand Prix venue. Each of the recipients will be presented with a free set of Cooper Tires. Here, we take a look back at why they were selected...

World RX (Round 8): Timmy Hansen

It had been a long time coming. Timmy Hansen had been threatening to win since practically the start of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship campaign, but for one reason or another, it had never quite come together for the Hansen World RX Team ace.

That all changed on Saturday in Spain. Taking the fight to Johan Kristoffersson in the pair’s progression race – with the countrymen running literally wheel-to-wheel all the way down the back straight – showed that Hansen was serious indeed about belatedly opening his victory account for the season.

After emerging unscathed from a first corner squeeze in the final, he proceeded to overhaul early leader Niclas Grönholm once the joker laps had shaken out to secure his 13th career triumph. He might not have been the outright fastest on the day, but he was in the right place at the right time at last and following all the ill-fortune he has endured this year, nobody begrudged the 2019 world champion his overdue success.

World RX (Round 9): Johan Kristoffersson

No real argument here. After missing out the previous day, Johan Kristoffersson was clearly in no mood to mess about on Sunday. He wanted to win the title – and he wanted to win it in style, leaving nobody in any doubt at all about who was King of Catalunya.

The Kristoffersson Motorsport star lapped almost a full second faster than any of his adversaries in the one-shot SuperPole session – a veritable eternity in rallycross terms – and he would prove to be similarly out-of-reach throughout the heats, progression race and semi-final.

From pole position in the final, Kristoffersson was then supreme. Reproducing his SuperPole and progression pace, a 34th career victory wrapped up his fifth Drivers’ crown in emphatic fashion. Twice during the day, the Swede took the chequered flag more than five seconds clear of anybody else. It was as dominant a performance as has ever been seen in the World Championship.

RX2e: Isak Sjökvist

Much like Timmy Hansen, Isak Sjökvist was overdue a win arriving in Spain. The Swede has been a front-runner in the FIA RX2e Championship since he joined, with five podium finishes to his credit going into the weekend – albeit none of them on the very highest step.

A trio of top two times in the heats propelled Sjökvist to the summit of the intermediate ranking, and he then followed champion-elect Viktor Vranckx home in the first of the progression races. The 21-year-old’s challenge looked to be over in the semi-final, however, as a Turn One crunch initiated by Pepe Arqué left him down in fourth, but a last corner accident involving Arqué, Patrick O’Donovan and Raül Ferré – and accompanying penalties – would prove to be his saving grace.

Having looked out for the count through no fault of his own, Sjökvist was all of a sudden promoted to pole position for the final, and despite constant pressure from Vranckx in the closing stages, he refused to be rattled, confidently fending the Belgian off to deservedly claim his breakthrough RX2e victory in his ninth start in the single-spec series.