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Sunday images from the 2017 World RX of Sweden
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Kristoffersson and Bakkerud double down at #HöljesRX

Jul 022017

F1 has Monaco, NASCAR has Daytona, and World RX has Sweden. A championship highlight with little comparison; where over 45,000 people descend on the ordinarily sleepy town of Höljes – registered population 143 – to enjoy three days of world class motorsport in the height of the Swedish summer. What’s more Johan Kristoffersson and Andreas Bakkerud left their rivals floundering in the dust, and made it two-for-two, with a second successive Monster Energy podium lockout in as many race weekends.

For Swedish Kristoffersson the victory at rallycross’ fan-favourite ‘Magic Weekend’ was made even more special, as it was not only his home event win, but also his sixth successive podium of 2017. This now draws him level with team mate Petter Solberg for the outright record of consecutive podium finishes, and gives the 28 year old racer a 31 point lead in the drivers’ championship.

“This is the one I wanted! This one means so much in front of my home crowd and, of course, it’s the home race for the whole team. I am so happy for everybody. Yesterday (Saturday) went well and we were leading at the end of the day, but I was so totally focused coming into the second day – I knew this was where I had to make a difference. Like always, the car was completely perfect and a big, big thanks to all of the team and not just everybody here, but all the guys working so hard for us back at Volkswagen Motorsport. When I knew this deal was happening at the start of the season I had a real dream that we could make something special, but could we make magic? I didn’t know. But now I think it looks like we are starting to do that.”

 

“It’s the fifth time I’ve been on the podium here at the magic weekend in Höljes, and I’m so happy! I was chasing Johan really hard in the final; but I was just over a second slower than him. As a driver – when you are trying to manage a time difference like that, you risk over-driving and pushing too hard. Mid-race during the final I had to have a small re-think about strategy. I think my joker was pretty good, but I just couldn’t match Johan’s pace overall. There isn’t a magic solution to suddenly find a couple of seconds now, as the level of competition is so high now, but we are working on coming back stronger at the next round in Canada. I want to say thank you for all the support I’ve had this weekend - I used to live about an hour away in Torsby, and I’ve got a lot of old friends that have travelled down specially from the weekend. They call it the Magic Weekend – and it’s true – Höljes is a very special for rallycross and for me, and I can’t wait to come back again next season.”

 

“It was really important to get one-two coming out of the heats – that would make sure Johan and I went into separate semi-finals. I didn’t have the best time early in the heats with a lot of traffic yesterday, but it came good this morning and I won Q4 to get us in the position we wanted. It was all looking perfect until I stalled on the line in my semi-final. I couldn’t believe it. All that hard work and it had gone. OK, that’s racing. I’m not going to let this spoil the party we have earned here at home in Sweden. You might notice, I am a little bit more Swedish this weekend! Honestly, I am so happy for the team and for what we have achieved here. The focus is the teams’ title for me, but for us to be in this position with a team just six months old is incredible and a real achievement for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. You know we don’t like to talk the talk unless we can walk the walk and, while there is still a long way to go and a lot of corners to turn before the end of the season, I believe we are beginning to walk the walk! We couldn’t ask for more than this.”

 

“It’s great to be racing again in Sweden, the crowds and passion everyone has for motorsport – and rallycross specifically - here is incredible. That being said, my weekend came down very much to my starts. We changed a few things in terms of the setup in the car – which was supposed to make my starts better, but unfortunately it went completely the opposite way we intended. There was an element in there from me too – I was letting off the throttle a little bit too much when I thought I was doing the same I’d been doing for the whole of this year. I should have really been in the final this weekend with Andreas – I set an overall fastest lap in Q2, and had very good pace in the remaining qualifying races. Congratulations to Andreas again – he did a fantastic job in the final. We’re already looking forward to heading to Canada for the next round and going after more podiums.”

 

“We’ve had some very good speed this weekend, but it was somehow the little details letting us down. We were 19th overall after Q3, and had high hopes going into the final qualification race. I managed to get the hole-shot at the start by a full car length in Q4, but then I got a big hit from behind and that pushed me onto the huge kerbs on the inside of the corner and I got a puncture. It’s a shame – because realistically we just needed a top 10 finish to push through to the semi finals; but that’s rallycross. The level of competition here in Höljes has been incredible – you can tell that the other Scandinavian drivers have been testing a lot here. We have a little bit of a break now before Lohéac in September – but I’ll be back stronger there for sure.”

 

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