Wild and surprising race in Höljes

The FIA World Rallycross Championship had reached the magic place of Höljes in Sweden, for the 6th round of this year’s Championship.

Johan Kristoffersson arrived at his home race as the championship leader, and with the wave that he had been riding on for the last few rounds, there was very good chances of him leaving Sweden with an even bigger lead.

But he had to race 4 qualifying heats just like everybody else, before a place in the semi finale and later on, a place in the final would be secured.

He started out very well by winning Q1, Q2 and Q4, and therefore went to the semi final with almost maximum points. Only a third place in Q3 tainted his results table. Until that point, he had taken 8 qualifying heat wins in a row.

Petter Solberg made a small mistake in his Q1, where he spun in the Joker Lap, and therefore finished last in that heat.

Sebastien Loeb got a huge punt on the rear in the second turn of his Q3, and was send directly into the Joker Lap without his will, which forced Kevin Hansen and Jerome Grosset-Janin in there too. Loeb was blocking the middle of the Joker Lap, so they both were slowed down. That made it quite easy for Timur Timerzyanov and Janis Baumanis to take an 1-2 ahead of Kevin Hansen.

There were more troubles in Turn 2 in Q4 where Janis Baumanis got punted in the rear and spun around in the Joker Lap. So that possibly made it hard for him to go through to the semi final.

Johan Kristoffersson, Petter Solberg, Timmy Hansen & Mattias Ekstström
Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

Andreas Bakkerud made a small mistake when he was taking his Joker Lap in Q4, but he was heading for last positions in that heat anyway.

Johan Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen, Mattias Ekström, Sebastien Loeb, Janis Baumanis and Niclas Grönholm all made it into Semi final 1, while Petter Solberg, Andreas Bakkerud, Timur Timerzyanov, Kevin Hansen, Jerome Grosset-Janin and Robin Larsson went through to Semi 2.

Of the well known names missing out on the semi finals were Kevin Eriksson, Guerlain Chicherit and Timo Scheider.

Kristoffersson took the start in Semi 1, while Ekström made a great start and took P2. Timmy Hansen and Janis Baumanis jokered right away, while Sebastien Loeb waited until the 4th lap.

Niclas Grönholm got a puncture on the penultimate lap, and therefore out of the running for a spot in the final. Kristoffersson and Ekström waited until the very last lap to take their Joker, and while Kristoffersson made it out with 2 seconds gap to P2, which was Timmy Hansen right in front of Ekström. Those three were into the final while Sebastien Loeb, Janis Baumanis and Niclas Grönholm were done for the weekend.

Petter Solberg & Johan Kristoffersson
Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

Solberg took the start of Semi 2 ahead of Bakkerud and Kevin Hansen. Timerzyanov and Grosset-Janin took their joker lap right away. Robin Larsson retired with technical problems. Timerzyanov got a puncture, which ended his dreams of a final. Solberg was on his way to an easy win, when the engine on his car gave up. That handed the victory to Bakkerud ahead of Kevin Hansen and Jerome Grosset-Janin. Timur Timerzyanov fought his way on the finishing line with the puncture, while neither Robin Larsson nor Petter Solberg made it past the chequered flag.

Kristoffersson took the start ahead of Bakkerud and Kevin Hansen, while Timmy Hansen, Ekström and Grosset-Janin took Joker Lap right away. Eki was right on the rear bumper of Timmy Hansen and tried to make it past. Kevin Hansen retired on the second lap with a technical issue, and therefore the chance of two brothers on the podium was gone.

Kristoffersson and Bakkerud waited until the very final lap with their Joker Lap, and while Kristoffersson made it safely back out in P1, there was a tough fight between Timmy Hansen, Bakkerud and Ekström. Bakkerud made it out right behind Timmy Hansen, and almost pushed Timmy around the next few corners. A few turns later, he made it safely past Hansen with a clean manoeuvre. Ekström made it up until the door of Timmy Hansen, and the two Swedes tangled, which sent Timmy into the gravel, while Ekström crossed the line in P3.

Final, Start
Johan Kristoffersson, Andreas Bakkerud, Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Mattias Ekström & Jerome Grosset-Janin
Photo: FIAWorldRallycross.com

But that didn’t last long before the stewards took a decision, demoting Ekström to last position in the final due to the contact. So the final result was Johan Kristoffersson winning ahead of Andreas Bakkerud, and the first ever podium for Jerome Grosset-Janin and the GC Kompetition team with their relatively new Renault Megane RS.

Johan Kristoffersson leads the World Championship ahead of Andreas Bakkerud and Petter Solberg. Sebastien Loeb has dropped to fourth, after having two events without finals, and is now only ahead of Timmy Hansen by one point, with a few more points to Mattias Ekström. While Kristoffersson is leading by miles, there are only 11 points between P2 and P6.

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden (Volkswagen Polo R) leads the Teams Championship, ahead of EKS Audi Sport (Audi S1) and Team Peugeot Total (Peugeot 208 WRX), GRX Taneco (Hyundai i20), GC Kompetition (Renault Megane RS) and Olsbergs MSE (Ford Fiesta).

The FIA World Rallycross Championship teams are going for a five-week holiday, until the next round will be held in Canada on 4-5 August.

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