World champ dominates at Killarney

2018-11-29 06:00
Reigning double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson wowed crowds with a dominant display at Killarney over the weekend, capturing the final leg, his eleventh of the season, of the 12-event series.PHOTOs: Earl Haupt

Reigning double World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson wowed crowds with a dominant display at Killarney over the weekend, capturing the final leg, his eleventh of the season, of the 12-event series.PHOTOs: Earl Haupt

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Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson scored victory in the World RX of South Africa, the final round of the FIA World Rallycross Championships, held at Killarney International Raceway over the weekend.

Kristoffersson set three quickest qualifying times to claim TQ (top qualifier) position in his Volkswagen Polo R on World RX’s second visit to Cape Town, before winning both semi-final one and the final to secure his record-breaking 11th win of the season.

EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom started on the third row of the grid for the final in his Audi S1 and climbed to second during the race with a strong start, after securing second in the World RX drivers’ championship when his teammate Andreas Bakkerud retired from the semi-finals. Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb completed his third full World RX programme with another podium in his Peugeot 208 and finished ahead of teammate Kevin Hansen in the final.

“I have to say [today] is quite emotional. This season comes to an end and it’s been a fantastic year for me; really the world championship title sinks in a little bit more now. I really have to thank this great team, they have done everything for me,” said Kristoffersson

“Without them it wouldn’t be possible. I have said that so many times since my first victory in Belgium 2017, but this one meant a lot to me.”

Ekstrom was pleased to finish his year on the podium.

“We actually came to Cape Town to win the race. We were fast throughout the entire weekend, but somehow didn’t get into the right rhythm,” said Ekstrom. “In the final, things finally fell into place. Second is a fantastic result and a good end to a long season, in which Johan was always a small step ahead. Even so, I’m extremely proud of the entire team,” he said.

Loeb set the fastest time in Q1 on Saturday 24 November and finished on the podium for the seventh time this year.

Norway’s Ben Philip-Gundersen won the final round of the RX2 International Series ahead of compatriot Sondre Evjen and Latvia’s Vasily Gryazin. Sweden’s Oliver Eriksson entered the final round locked in a battle with Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder for the title and wrapped up the single-make championship by qualifying for the final. Eriksson led in lap one but stopped with technical issues and was classified sixth. Sweden’s William Nilsson finished fourth and Finland’s Sami-Matti Trogen was fifth.

“It’s been a really good season with a lot of new things that we’ve done, starting off with the Speedmachine Festival at Silverstone for the first time and going to COTA for our first trip to America. We’re seeing the best rallycross driver ever in our championship in Johan and that’s something that I think should be embraced. He’s just so good,” concluded Paul Bellamy, World RX managing director for IMG.

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