Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson set the fastest time in Q1 of the opening round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Montalegre in Portugal, in challenging wet conditions that mirrored those of 12 months ago when he scored his first World RX victory.
The Volkswagen RX Sweden driver won the first race of four, ahead of Topi Heikkinen and Sebastien Loeb, Team Peugeot-Hansen’s new signing leading the race from the first corner until his last lap joker, dropping to third on track and setting fifth overall time. Second is Mattias Ekstrom – Heikkinen’s EKS team mate winning the last race to split Kristoffersson and Heikkinen at the top of the time sheets, with the winner of the second race, Andreas Bakkerud setting the fourth fastest time despite jumping the start and having to take two joker laps.
Britain’s Liam Doran followed Ekstrom through the race to finish second on track and set sixth fastest time on his debut in the JRM Mini RX. Timmy Hansen finished third behind Doran in the final race of the first qualifiers of the season and is eighth overall, ahead of Kevin Eriksson, who was fastest in practice and led the second race, but like many drivers went wide on the loose section of the circuit at the end of the lap and lost time.
All-Inkl.com Muennich Motorsport driver Reinis Nitiss beat reigning double-champion World RX champion Petter Solberg in the race that Bakkerud won, both drivers struggling in the challenging conditions. Janis Baumanis didn’t make the best start in his race but fought back to be 13th overall – however, his World RX Team Austria colleague Timur Timerzyanov didn’t have a good first race with the team, he slid off on the loose section. Ken Block went off on the opening lap of his race in the Ford Focus RS RX, but got going again and completed the race.
Press Release FIA,