If you haven’t been keeping tabs on the FIA World Rallycross Championship, then you really should be. After a month’s summer hiatus, we’ve been on the edge of our seats waiting for another helping of dirt-thrashing racing, and thankfully this weekend the series launched back into action.
In trademark style, #WorldRX doesn’t do anything by halves. Marking the opener of the second half of the season, a straight-up 200km/h street-fight awaited in Canada, as the teams touched down at the GP3R Motorsports Festival in Trois Rivieres - around an hour north of Montreal.
As championship leader, and defending Drivers’ titleholder, all eyes were on PSRX Volkswagen’s Johan Kristoffersson to deliver; and the Swedish ace didn’t disappoint. Rocketing to the chequered flag ahead of second and third placed rivals Timmy Hansen and Sebastian Loeb; Kristoffersson now becomes the first ever-repeat winner of the Canadian event, and pulls 55 points further into the lead of the drivers standings.
“It’s fantastic to be back racing after the summer break now, but I really had to dig deep for this victory,” explained Johan. “I struggled on Saturday throughout my qualifying races – getting stuck in traffic a lot. Then during warm-up on Sunday I couldn’t find my rhythm, and just wasn’t quite comfortable in the car.
“Petter helped me a lot by explaining better driving techniques on the gravel sections of the infield, so I was able to fight back really hard in Q3 and Q4 – taking top the top qualifier spot into the semi finals. I didn’t get the best launch in the final, but the Peugeots had similar issues, so I was still able to get ahead for turn one. After that I just pushed hard to get a clear gap for the joker. I’m really happy to get another victory for the team which gives us more vital points in the championship.”
Despite smashing the outright lap record at the Canadian circuit – with a time of 46.959 seconds – Petter Solberg was forced to leave the weekend empty handed, finishing fifth. “It’s been a fantastic weekend for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. But I’ve got to admit, I do feel a little bit frustrated.” Admitted Solberg. “I felt I could have come away from Canada with a little bit more. But the big thing is the performance of the team and, of course, Johan. It was a great job.
“We did the fastest time on Saturday [in Q2] and that showed how quick the car was; everything was working well and I was really feeling it then. We were maybe a little bit unlucky not to be higher up in the standings on Saturday night, but I was confident for Sunday. In the end, nothing really worked for me on Sunday. You know that thing where you put some butter on a slice of bread and the bread falls on the floor – every time today it was falling butter-side down! I took the joker and just missed out on the position coming out; I got half a look up the inside of a car and it just didn’t work. So frustrating.
“But, you know we work as a team and it’s a big congratulations to Johan. He was fantastic today (Sunday) and, of course, it’s a very big congratulations to Volkswagen Motorsport – the Polo R Supercar was on incredible form. I don’t like to take such a long gap between racing; holidays are nice, but they’d be even better if they came with a World Rallycross round in the middle of them!”
If all that wasn’t enough, the World RX of Canada featured a double helping of racing, with the Americas Rallycross Championship running on the Trois Rivieres circuit on the same weekend. Making a return to rallycross racing after bowing out of World RX last year, Head Hoonigan in Charge Ken Block scooped up a third place podium, snapping at the heels of former rivals Scott Speed and Tanner Foust.
“I drove the track the best I could. The team did a great job – it was only the third time in this car this season; and to get on the podium with the limited testing we’ve had this season is just awesome.” explained Block. “For me it goes out to [Steve] Arpin and his team who have pulled this package together. We’ve taken a good step now with the car, and although we don’t have the pace we need to beat these guys, we’ll do our best at COTA in a months time!”