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Sunday images from the 2017 World RX of Latvia
NEWS

Double Champions: Kristoffersson and PSRX VW reign supreme

Sep 182017

Eleven podiums places, seven event wins, and two world championships. The competition can read it and weep, because the statistics speak for themselves.

Firstly with Johan Kristoffersson; who used unbelievable pace and consistency at this weekend’s World RX of Latvia, to secure his fifth consecutive win, and the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Drivers’ Championship title. And secondly with the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Team; who leave the spectacular tree-lined Biķernieki circuit in downtown Riga with a 112 point lead over nearest rivals Peugeot-Hansen; and an unassailable lead in the Teams’ Championship standings – guaranteeing themselves the title in the process.

Despite this absolutely remarkable achievement, which sees the new-for-2017 team wrap-up both championship titles two events ahead of time; the result is slightly bittersweet. Johan’s team mate, and championship rival, Petter Solberg - currently placed second in the driver’s standings – was on course to make it a podium lockout. However the Norwegian ace suffered a big impact during a battle for the lead in semi-final two, and was ruled out of the event on medical grounds with a broken collarbone.

In spite of Petter having to celebrate the final result from the medical centre, the 30,000 attending fans were treated to an absolute masterclass in #WorldRX over the course of the two day competition. Through rain and shine, Petter and Johan scorched to a set of 1-2 finishes in the qualifying races, a top-qualifier spot, and a semi-final win; further reaffirming their place as the team to beat in 2017.

The bittersweet feeling continued over in Hoonigan Racing Division, where Andreas Bakkerud charged to a solid fourth place finish, narrowly missing out on the podium spoils. Andreas squeezed the absolute maximum from of his Ford Focus RS RX in the ever changing conditions, to lock in top-ten finishes in all his qualifying races, as well as third position in semi final one. Finishing fourth in Latvia, as well as fourth last time out in France, also means a welcome boost in championship points for the 25 year old racer; who now places fifth in the drivers championship overall.

 

For the first time in the 2017 season Head Hoonigan in Charge Ken Block was unable to make the semi-finals after being spun out of the lead in the first turn of Q2. The incident unfortunately put Ken on the back foot for the rest of the weekend, because even with some blistering shows of pace, Ken was denied the opportunity to climb higher than 14th in the overall rankings.

 

Full results from the World RX of Latvia are available, here. Don’t forget to keep scrolling to read the exclusive reaction from our athletes.

“World Champion! I can’t believe this. It’s just an incredible result. It doesn’t seem right, for sure it doesn’t make so much sense now – world champion! It hasn’t sunk in at all. I have been so focused on the race, just taking one corner at a time, breaking everything down and just doing my job – like every World RX weekend, this one has been tough with some crazy conditions and tough calls on the set-up. When you are going off the line, everything else disappears from the mind – you are just staring at that starting light and thinking of nothing else except looking after the car and staying out of trouble. After three laps in the final, I had a small lead and I started to think about what might happen. I was thinking: “I could be world champion…” So I said to myself: “Stop it now!” I had to concentrate and I did this. When I came from the last corner, I was yelling to the team: “Am I world champion? Did I do it? Am I world champion? The voice came to the radio and said: “Johan, you are world champion.” They were the most incredible words. As always, we had a plan for this race and today’s plan was a special one: today’s plan was to be a world champion!”

“It was a hard weekend for sure and the weather changed a lot. We were constantly running around trying to make changes and keep up with the conditions. Especially in the final, where I bogged down in the start… It was a real shame because once I got going properly – I really had strong pace. Instead of being in the fight, I was just chasing the pack. That really ended my podium chances. I had a great battle with Sébastien Loeb during the final two laps. To be pushing a nine-time World Champion after a stall isn’t bad. Of course if I had been third I would be smiling more now. Last time out in France I was fourth as well – and I’m not content with this. I want to win and fight for titles! We have a solid base at the moment, but need to push a little bit harder to get onto the podium. Congratulations to Johan and the VW guys, I really take my hat off to them – what they have achieved in one season is remarkable. It’s up to us now to answer back next season!”

“For the first time this season I didn’t make the semi finals. Although I know it doesn’t count for a huge amount in terms of championship points I’m still pretty disappointed to have broken the run of consistent appearances in the finals. I got spun out at the start of Q2 in the rain yesterday, and that just set me too far back in the qualifying points to recover on Sunday. It’s a huge shame to end a weekend like that. The conditions have been really challenging here in Latvia and on a positive note my teammate Andreas Bakkerud finish fourth overall starting from the back row of the final. Congrats to Johan for wrapping up the championship, and I hope Petter has a quick recovery and is back racing as soon as possible. Focusing on the short term we are heading out to Germany in a couple of weeks, so I’m looking forward to racing and seeing all the fans turn out there.”

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