Swedenâ€™s Johan Kristoffersson has won this weekendâ€™s Bompiso Rallycross of Portugal, round one of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy, after a dominant display in his Volkswagen Team Sweden Polo RX Supercar. Reigning World RX Champion Petter Solberg clinched the runners-up spot and Timmy Hansen finished third for Team Peugeot-Hansen.
Kristoffersson â€“ an accomplished racing driver having won the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship (STCC) and Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia â€“ lined up on the front row along Solberg for todayâ€™s six-car final. Joining Solberg, Kristoffersson and Hansen on the grid was Andreas Bakkerud (Ford Olsbergs MSE), Davy Jeanney (Team Peugeot-Hansen) and PG Andersson (Marklund Motorsport). Kristoffersson was quickest off the line and was awarded with the first Monster Energy Super Charge Award of the year.
â€œI am so, so happy,â€ beamed Kristoffersson, who also wins a Rebellion Timepieces Wraith Drive Rallycross limited edition watch for his win in Portugal this weekend. â€œI nearly stalled the engine on the start line and the whole circuit was unbelievably slippery but I drove a clean race. I couldnâ€™t see out of the side windows so it was more about survival than actual racing. I want to say a big, big thank you to Volkswagen Sweden and to my entire team who have done a fantastic job over the past few months. They have worked very hard to build this car which has been working well all weekend. Itâ€™s the best possible start to the season.â€
Second placed Solberg, who won last yearâ€™s race in Portugal, added: â€œIt is very important to have a good first race – consistency is as important as winning races in rallycross. Iâ€™ve not been feeling well this weekend and then I lost my gear lever in the final so it certainly wasnâ€™t easy but Iâ€™m happy with second. Johan [Kristoffersson] has done a very good job this weekend.â€
Team Peugeot-Hansen got its 2015 season off to a promising start after team-mates Timmy Hansen and Davy Jeanney finished third and fourth respectively. â€œThe final was like driving on soap, there was no grip and then I lost my power steering â€“ my arms are so tired now,â€ explained 22-year-old Hansen. â€œIâ€™m really happy with the car, itâ€™s very quick but itâ€™s new so we need to make some small changes before our next race. Overall, itâ€™s been a great start to the year and Iâ€™m really happy that both myself and Davy got to the final.â€
Andreas Bakkerud rounded off the top five in Portugal after a solid display in his Olsbergs MSE prepared Ford Fiesta. The Norwegian was leading overnight but was knocked out of podium contention after contact with Swedenâ€™s PG Andersson during the final.
Two-time DTM Champion and EKS team owner Mattias Ekstrom finished seventh overall in Portugal, while last yearâ€™s World RX runner-up Topi Heikkinen was eighth after a consistent weekend of driving in the Marklund Motorsport prepared Polo. Russiaâ€™s Timur Timerzyanov and Austriaâ€™s Manfred Stohl finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Krisztian Szabo, a former European Autocross Champion, took the first Super1600 victory of the season at the wheel of his Skoda Fabia. Frenchman Andrea Dubourg secured the runners-up spot while Latviaâ€™s Janis Baumanis took third.
2014 RX Lites Champion Kevin Eriksson picked up where he left off last season with four heat wins and a victory in the all-important final. Kevin Hansen â€“ younger brother of Timmy – finished second after an impressive weekend of driving, while Joachim Hvaal took the third podium spot. Former European Rally Champion Krzysztof Holowczyc finished fifth on his rallycross debut.
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG, commented: â€œWeâ€™ve witnessed some sensational driving in Portugal this weekend and the performance displayed by our younger drivers in such tricky driving conditions is particularly impressive. Kristoffersson joins us as a permanent World Championship driver for the first time this year and the fact that he can win on his debut with Volkswagen Team Sweden is testament to the high standard of drivers that we have competing in World RX. Itâ€™s excellent to see three manufacturers â€“ Volkswagen, Citroen and Peugeot â€“ finish on the podium and the development on the cars over the winter hiatus has been very impressive. Itâ€™s always a pleasure coming to Montalegre â€“ the Portuguese fans are extremely passionate and still flocked in their thousands despite the rain. With four races in five weeks, the teams have got little restbite now as we head straight to Hockenheim for our first ever event alongside the highly-acclaimed DTM series.â€