He might not have been able to celebrate his sixth title on the podium yesterday, but 24 hours later, Johan Kristoffersson capped his victorious campaign with a 40th career triumph as the FIA World Rallycross Championship electrified Hong Kong again on 12 November 2023.
Following Saturday’s success, an even bigger crowd flocked through the gates of the Central Harbourfront venue on Sunday as the sun shone down on the first city-centre circuit in World RX history. They were treated to a truly spectacular show from the very best drivers in the sport, with rallycross announcing its arrival in the Asia-Pacific region in sensational style.
It uncharacteristically took Kristoffersson until the second heat on the second day of competition to hit the front of the field – but once he did, he never looked back, proceeding to snatch the top spot in the intermediate classification and overcoming a fast-starting Timmy Hansen on the last lap of the pair’s semi-final to earn pole position for the all-important final.
The Swede subsequently produced a textbook launch to race immediately into the lead and went on to prevail by more than three-and-a-half seconds – a champion’s drive by any yardstick.
“I’m very happy to have been able to put on a show in front of so many fans. It’s been fantastic coming here, and after a disappointing final yesterday, it was great to pull off the win.Kristoffersson said
“I can’t thank the team enough for all the effort they have put in. They work every waking hour, sacrificing time with their families to give us the best car possible, so to reward them like this is fantastic – and there’s no better place to celebrate than here in Hong Kong!”
On a weekend when Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS was crowned Teams’ Champion for the second consecutive season, Ole Christian Veiby made it a one-two finish for the Arvika-based outfit in the final – after pipping his illustrious stablemate to the chequered flag in heat three – with World RX rookie Patrick O’Donovan rounding out the rostrum in third.
Competing for Hansen World RX Team, the two-time British champion was fast and feisty throughout, winning a thrilling heat two race and beating 2019 world champion team-mate Timmy Hansen to the podium on his debut at the international pinnacle of the discipline.
Niclas Grönholm wound up a frustrated fifth on a day when CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment showed much-improved pace. The Finn looked set to secure first place in the ranking until his car suddenly slowed within sight of the finish line in heat three. He battled back to line up on the front row of the grid for the final, but then lost ground in Turn One and was never able to recover.
Team-mate Klara Andersson followed Grönholm home in sixth, making history – again – as the first female driver ever to go fastest outright in a World RX heat. Yesterday’s winner Kevin Hansen, meanwhile, missed out on the final after contact into the first corner in heat two dropped him down the order. From that point on, he found himself repeatedly caught up in traffic – but he had already done enough to cement a career-best runner-up result in the championship standings.
FINAL RESULT: WORLD RX
- Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (SWE) Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS 5 laps
- Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS + 3.641s
- Patrick O’DONOVAN (GBR) Hansen World RX Team + 4.599s
- Timmy HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team + 4.939s
- Niclas GRÖNHOLM (FIN) CE Dealer Team + 6.218s
- Klara ANDERSSON (SWE) CE Dealer Team + 6.980s