Rallycross: Johan Kristoffersson wins Drivers’ Championship

Johan Kristoffersson © DR

– Speedy Swede: Kristoffersson wins the Drivers’ title with victory in Latvia

– One team, one spirit: PSRX crowned champion team with races to spare

– Efficient overall package: Superlative season for the Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar

 

Overcome with joy, new world champion Johan Kristoffersson wiped tears of joy from his eyes after his major triumph: The Swede not only wrapped up his maiden Drivers’ title with victory in round ten of the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX) in Riga, Latvia, but also ensured that PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden was crowned champion team in 2017. Kristoffersson’s fifth win in a row in the 570-hp Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar also saw the man of the hour set a new WRX record. The 28-year-old produced a commanding display in Riga, once again putting on a show of top-class driving to finish ahead of last year’s champion Mattias Ekström (S, Audi) and record world rally champion Sébastien Loeb (F, Peugeot) in the final.

This season, Kristoffersson has made it through to the final of all ten events so far. As well as demonstrating magnificent speed, the 28-year-old has only ever taken calculated risks, has driven extremely intelligently, and wrapped up the title two matches before the end of the season with a spectacular record of six victories and a further three podium finishes. Team-mate and team principal Petter Solberg (N), who fractured his collarbone this weekend in a crash in the semi-final, also contributed one win and 209 points to the team’s success. The newly-formed outfit, led by three-time world champion Solberg, has been built around an impressive team spirit right from the word go: when it came to team tactics, communication and information, frankness prevailed between the team-mates – a factor that was certainly instrumental in the success.

Powerful car: Polo GTI Supercar impresses with power and efficiency
The two titles are confirmation of the potential of the Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar, which is run by PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden and was built by Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover. The basis for the 570-hp four-wheel drive powerhouse was another Volkswagen champion: the 2014 Polo R WRC, with which Sébastien Ogier (F) won one of his four titles in the FIA World Rally Championship. The WRX racer was assembled around the original chassis of the car used by Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN) in the WRC. The engineers also fell back on an engine that, prior to the WRX project, had been developed for outings in the American Global Rallycross Series, and which offers the utmost reliability. Since the start of the season, the technicians at Volkswagen and PSRX have focussed solely on fine-tuning the car – the conscious decision not to work on the technical development of the car has probably made the Polo GTI Supercar the most efficient overall package in the World Rallycross Championship.

Speedy Swede: Kristoffersson breaks record en route to world championship title
Johan Kristoffersson’s fifth win in a row in Riga was a new record in the WRX. His first victory of the season came at round four of the year in Mettet (B). His team-mate Petter Solberg then triumphed in the next race at Lydden Hill (GB), before Kristoffersson set off on his unparalleled run. The speedy Swede has six wins to his name already this season, and the newly-crowned champion already has his sights set on his next victory in Volkswagen’s backyard – in Lower Saxony. The Estering in Buxtehude will host the World Rallycross Championship from 29 September to 1 October.

*Subject to the official publications of the results by the FIA.

Quotes after title win in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX)
Johan Kristoffersson, Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar #3 : « “World champion – that is unbelievable. It is an incredible result, and feels surreal. It has not sunk in yet. Three laps into the final, I started thinking about what might be about to happen. When I came out of the final corner, I shouted to the team: ‘Have I really done it? Am I world champion?’ The answer came over the radio: ‘Johan, you are world champion.’ I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team, which has done an outstanding job all season. The spirit in our troop is really unique, and everything came together right from the outset.” »

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director : « “That was top-class from Johan. He is an absolutely worthy champion – this year, he has beaten big names like Loeb and Ekström, not to mention his team-mate Solberg. He has also been reliable and incredibly strong mentally, and has kept both feet on the ground. His world championship title puts him right up there among the very best in his sport. He also has a remarkable team behind him, which also thoroughly deserves the title. The newly-formed team has worked perfectly together, right from the first minute. I have never seen anything quite like it. However, there is often a thin line between joy and pain in sport. Get well soon Petter. He is the father of this success, has been very heavily involved in this project, and can be really proud of his team.” »
 
FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX), Standings*
Drivers’ Championship : 1. Johan Kristoffersson (Volkswagen), 271 points; 2. Petter Solberg (Volkswagen), 209; 3. Mattias Ekström (Audi), 204; 4. Sébastien Loeb (Peugeot), 194; 5. Andreas Bakkerud (Ford), 165; 6. Timmy Hansen (Peugeot), 152.

Team Championship : 1. PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden, 480 points; 2. Team Peugeot-Hansen, 346; 3. EKS, 274.

* provisional.

Press Release VW,

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