The medals decided in South Africa

The season finale in the FIA World Rallycross Championship was run near Cape Town in South Africa.

It was already clear that Johan Kristoffersson would be crowned World Champion, just like the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden had already won the Teams Championship.

The fight for second was still on, and Petter Solberg flew to South Africa with a one point lead over the 2016 Champion, Mattias Ekström. Sebastien Loeb was in P4 but could neither be caught nor catch the guys ahead. So it was going to be a Norwegian/Swedish duel.

The weekend started out quite dramatic for Mattias Ekström, after he received a 5-seconds time penalty in his Qualifying heat 2, when the stewards decided that a manoeuvre against his former DTM teammate Timo Scheider, had been too hard.

Ken Block was actually the best driver after the Saturday running, ahead of Janis Baumanis. But there was still two Qualifying heats to be run on Sunday morning.

Toomas Heikkinen got a great start in his Q3, but was turned around in Turn 1 by Andreas Bakkerud and ended the heat in last position.

Andreas Bakkerud & Johan Kristoffersson

Reinis Nitiss made a contact with Oliver Eriksson at the start of Q4, and the former was sent onto two wheels for several meters – and it was the rear wheels in the air! When Nitiss finally landed again, the field had already left him for good, but he had already delivered a lot of entertainment for the fans and the TV viewers. Later on the same lap, we saw Timur Timerzyanov hit a stack of tires that send him off track, but he was able to recover after a quick spin. On the very final lap of the race, Oliver Eriksson hit the exact same tire stack, and ended up being on top of it, with only 1 tire still touching the ground. Great show.

The fifth race in Q4 saw a battle that was worthy of a final with all the World Champions Johan Kristoffersson, Sebastian Loeb, Mattias Ekström and Petter Solberg taking on young Timmy Hansen, who ended up beating all the experienced guys. But Ekström beat Solberg which was important in regards to the Championship.

Johan Kristoffersson, Mattias Ekström, Andreas Bakkerud, Petter Solberg, Janis Baumanis and Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen all qualified for Semifinal 1, with Timmy Hansen, Timo Scheider, Ken Block, Kevin Hansen, Sebastien Loeb and Kevin Eriksson going into Semi 2.

The results from the qualifying heats meant that Ekström had a 3-points lead over Solberg. So Semi 1 could very well be Championship deciding regarding P2.

Timo Scheider etc

Johan Kristoffersson kept the lead doing into Turn 1, bridging the rest of the field by 1,5 after the first lap! Solberg and Baumanis were the first to take their Joker Laps. Ekström caught up with Kristoffersson making it only half a second between the two of them. Kristoffersson, Ekström and Bakkerud waited until the very final lap to take their Joker laps, so everything would be decided towards the finishing line.

Kristoffersson went side by side with Ekström, and Kristoffersson tried to push Ekström into the armco. Eki didn’t want any of that and kept the foot on the throttle. Solberg got involved too, and the three cars hit each other several times towards the finishing line. Ekström went over the grass and finished second, behind Kristoffersson but ahead of Solberg.

There was loads of drama in Semi 2. Timmy Hansen and Timo Scheider went side by side towards Turn 1 and banged doors several times. Scheider was pushed wide but made it back again. At the same time, it came to contact between Ken Block, Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen. Block ended up coming out in front, but with plenty of body parts hanging off his car. Sebastien Loeb ended up with a puncture on his left front tire, and had to retire. Timmy Hansen had the speed to go past Block, after the latter took his Joker Lap on the very final lap. So after 6 intense laps, Timmy Hansen took the win ahead of Ken Block and Timo Scheider.

The stewards however found Block underweight and he was disqualified, sending Kevin Hansen into the final. It was no surprise that the car was underweight since the whole of the front was missing. But it was still a heartbreak for the American, who had his very final FIA World Rallycross Championship round with himself and his own team. A decided that had been made long before this weekend, so it wasn’t influenced by that decision.

Johan Kristoffersson took the start ahead of Mattias Ekström, who made it past Timmy Hansen at the start. Timmy Hansen was the first guy to enter the Joker Lap, while Timo Scheider following him in one lap later. Solberg was right on the back bumper of Ekström, before the Norwegian decided to dive into the Joker Lap one lap prior to the Swede. Eki stayed ahead but couldn’t match Johan Kristoffersson who took the 7th win of the year out of 12 rounds. Timmy Hansen finished second ahead of Mattias Ekström and Petter Solberg.

Johan Kristoffersson

Johan Kristoffersson finishes the FIA World Rallycross Championship season as Drivers World Champion ahead of Mattias Ekström, Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden wins the Teams Championship ahead of Team Peugeot-Hansen and EKS – or in other words, Volkswagen in front of Peugeot and Audi.

That was the end of this years Championship, but the World RX series is back in April 2018, where the season starts in Barcelona.

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