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Sunday images from the 2017 World RX of France
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Kristoffersson races to victory at #LohéacRX

Sep 032017

Sun scorched on Saturday and flooded-out on Sunday. While the weather did its very best to stamp an indelible mark on the 2017 World RX of France, PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson completely dominated the on-track action, securing his fourth consecutive win of the year.

From the first wheel turn in Lohéac, the Swede had been on ballistic form, en-route to victory, and his eighth podium of the year; further increasing the gap between himself and the competition on-track, as well as in the championship standings.

Two qualifying race wins, and a lights-to-flag victory in semi-final one were all just part of the story of Kristoffersson’s empiric performance in front of the 75,000 strong crowds at Rallycross’ blue-riband French weekender. What’s more, the 28-year-old ace success was topped off by snagging the Monster Energy Supercharge Award, for his lightening holeshot into turn one. Now 46 points in the lead, Johan is within touching distance of putting himself in an unbeatable position in the race for 2017 drivers crown.

While Johan was joined in the final by his team mate, Petter Solberg, as well as Hoonigan Racing Division’s Andreas Bakkerud, neither could quite match the lap times laid down by the Swede. Bakkerud himself admitted that despite his overall race pace; which saw him place sixth in the overnight standings, and third in semi final two, that he had been struggling for grip during all of Sunday’s race starts.

 

The 25-year-old Hoonigan Racing Division driver eventually finished fourth in the event’s main final, ahead of PSRX’s Petter Solberg who suffered a puncture and nursed his Polo GTI Supercar home to the chequered flag in fifth. Head Hoonigan in Charge Ken Block continued his run uninterrupted appearances in the semi-finals, charging through to seventh overall in the final classification despite enduring a puncture in semi-final one.

 

The championship now moves to Riga, in Latvia, for round 10 in just under a fortnight’s time. Full race results from the 2017 World RX of France are available, here. In the meantime check out what our athletes had to say about racing and winning in the rain and shine of the legendary Lohéac.

“I haven’t ever felt so comfortable in the car in the wet as I did today. Yesterday, the sun was shining and the track was dry and [Sébastien] Loeb was quite close to us, but today the team has just done a fantastic job with the set-up for the car. If there was one area where we needed to find something from the Polo it was in the wet and I have to take off my hat for this team – they have done that. I know some people think I am thanking the team a lot, but you need to know this team – they are the best! Petter and I work really hard together, we work in the same direction all of the time and we worked for this result. We talked to the engineers and we found the set-up for the car, which made me comfortable and was perfect for these conditions. When you have a car around you, which gives you confidence, it means you can push and this weekend I could push really as hard as I wanted. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

“I was really looking forward to coming here to Lohéac. In a lot of ways it’s a highlight of the year in terms of the atmosphere and the amount of spectators. Even during free practice on Friday the amount of people lining the circuit was crazy. Of course they are all cheering for the French drivers – like Sebastien [Loeb] – but we get a lot of support from the fans as well and that’s a great boost. We were really quick in the dry this weekend, and the lap times reflected that on the Saturday. The starts were the weakest point for both Ken and myself though. The racing is now at such a high level that if you don’t nail the start, it becomes very difficult to try and make that back. The track surface is different in Lohéac this year; previously joker was around 1.7 seconds slower but now its quicker, and that’s why even in the wet the track records have been flying and it’s been very close. In the wet we made the best of the situation; we had alright speed. Realistically I don’t think we deserved to get any higher than a place in the final. Congrats to Kristoffersson, Loeb and Ekström for bringing it home onto the podium. I’m looking ahead to fight back in Riga now!”

“We knew what we had to do this weekend. It wasn’t always straightforward, I had a stall on the line yesterday and then the puncture today isn’t so good – but look at the semi-final: Johan and me were one-two and everything was perfect. Like he [Kristoffersson] said, we made a real step with the car in the wet here and that’s so positive for the team. But now we stay focused; we have one aim this year and we are still working and giving 110 per cent for that title – and for Johan’s drivers’ title as well!”

“First off thank you to all the fans that turned out this weekend - even braving the rain on Sunday. Lohéac always has a great atmosphere. It's been a busy month since CanadaRX for us as a team; filming and being on the road so far! My expectations were pretty high coming to France as I’ve been very quick here previously. I finished day one as 3rd overall qualifier, but then rains came on day two and the track just turned into a muddy mess. Unfortunately we couldn't find the right setup to get the grip we needed off the lights. Of course it was great to push through qualifying and make the cut for the semis again - I've been in every semi final this season. Unfortunately at the start I lost three car lengths just off the launch. I picked up a rear-right puncture over the kerbs and that finished off my race. Thank you again to the team for working overtime over the past month. I'm looking forward to racing in Latvia in two weeks."

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