Kristoffersson signs off record-breaking season with Cape Town victory
Polo driver continues his World Rallycross domination in front of Killarney fans
Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson capped a remarkable year by taking a record-breaking 11th victory of the 2018 World Rallycross (RX) season at Cape Town’s Killarney circuit on the weekend.
The Volkswagen Polo R driver, who had already won the championship, dominated the season-ending World RX round in its second visit to Cape Town. Thousands of local racing fans turned up to watch these powerful RX cars bump and barge their way through a mixed course of tarmac and dirt. The FIA World Rallycross Championship, presented by Monster Energy, was the only international motorsport event to take place in SA this year.
EKS Audi Sport’s Mattias Ekstrom started on the third row of the grid for the final in his Audi S1 and clinched second in the race, and secured second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship when his teammate Andreas Bakkerud retired from the semifinals. Team Peugeot Total’s Sebastien Loeb completed his third full World RX programme with another podium in his Peugeot 208 and finished ahead of teammate Kevin Hansen in the final.
“I have to say today is quite emotional. This season comes to an end and it’s been a fantastic year for me – really the world championship title sinks in a little bit more now. I really have to thank this great team. they have done everything for me,” said Kristoffersson.
Ekstrom was pleased to finish his year on the podium. “We actually came to Cape Town to win the race. We were fast throughout the entire weekend, but somehow didn’t get into the right rhythm,” he said. “In the final, things finally fell into place. Second is a fantastic result and a good end to a long season, in which Johan was always a small step ahead.”
Multiple former World Rally champion Loeb set the fastest time in Q1 on Saturday and finished on the podium for the seventh time in 2018. “The car was good here, we improved it all year and since the middle of the season we have changed a lot of things,” he said. “I think we had good performance, we tried to improve some details and here in the last race we were really competitive. I had a good weekend, and finally to be third overall, I’m happy.”
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s Petter Solberg won the Monster Energy Supercharge Award for having the fastest reaction time at the start of the final in his Volkswagen Polo R but retired on the second lap after a spin. Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen joined teammate Loeb on the second row of the grid for the final but retired after contact with Solberg’s car.
Norway’s Ben Philip-Gundersen won the final round of the RX2 International Series support race ahead of compatriot Sondre Evjen and Latvia’s Vasily Gryazin. Sweden’s Oliver Eriksson entered the final round locked in a battle with Belgium’s Guillaume De-Ridder for the title and wrapped up the single-make championship by qualifying for the final.
Paul Bellamy, World RX MD for IMG, said: “It’s been a really good season with a lot of new things that we’ve done, starting off with the Speedmachine Festival at Silverstone for the first time and going to Cota for our first trip to America.
“We’re seeing the best rallycross driver ever in our championship in Johan and that’s something that I think should be embraced. He’s just so good. The crowds have been good all year, the live streaming has been a big success and overall it’s been a busy and hectic year, which has finished with the festival atmosphere here in Cape Town.