Kristoffersson and Gronholm dominate in the return of the FIA World Rallycross Championship to Finland.
Kristoffersson reaffirms himself as the leader of the competition after the third and fourth rounds held at the Finnish circuit of Kuvuola, a circuit that had been out of the championship since 2016.
Second consecutive week of competition and the world championship is already posited as a great battle between Johan Kristoffersson and the rest of the pilots who are determined to avoid a new year of absolute dominance by the Swedish driver, and it seems that they are succeeding.
The first day of competition in Kuvuola was once again a mirage of the 2018 season, that season in which Kristoffersson did not give up a point in the qualifying rounds and did not allow his rivals to even consider fighting his position on the track.
The Swede dominated the third round of the season from top to bottom, winning all the rounds in which he participated (Q1, Q2, Q3, semis and final), that is, the Swede scored a perfect or “clean sweep” as it is known in rallycrosian jargon.
“The final was very, very good. I got off to a really good start as I did all day and from then on the track was similar to how it was in the semi final so we were able to adapt a bit and make some small changes for the final which worked well. Today I have to give thanks to the team, we did a lot of work and put a lot of effort into this weekend, especially having only one car on a new track to learn. It was quite difficult, but it feels great to win practice, Q1, Q2, Q3, my semi-final and my final today, ”said Kristofferson.
The big surprise of the day was the stellar performance of the Finnish guest driver Juha Rytkonen, racing a Hyundai i20 Supercar for the GRX SET team. He was fourth in the standings, winning semi-final two and finishing second in the final, one place ahead of Swede Timmy Hansen, who savored the podium for the first time this season.
The second day of competition took place in a similar way to the day before. Kristoffersson scored the top qualifier for the second day in a row, but we already saw that in Q2 the Hyundai driver Niclas Gronholm was riding at a very high pace and making lap times worth fighting face-to-face with the Swede Kristoffersson.
And that’s what we live in the final. Gronholm won the game over Kristoffersson and was able to close the door during the 6 laps of a highly contested final. Gronholm and Ekstrom looked for the joker lap on the last lap while Kristoffersson who needed another strategy did the same on the third lap. The result was one last corner before a heart attack finish with Gronholm, Ekström, Kristoffersson and Timerzyanov hooked within milliseconds of each other. Marcus Gronholm’s heir claimed victory, while Ekström and Timerzyanov displaced Kristoffersson from his fourth consecutive podium.
“I knew the drivers behind would push me through the tight corners in the final, so I stayed on the inside lines and just accelerating on the straights was enough. I stayed calm and tried not to make any mistakes. I made some mistakes, but not too relevant. I felt the pressure, but basically it was just to control the race when I was in the lead, and it’s very good to get a win, “said Gronholm.
This is how the World Cup is after the first 4 tests. Johan Kristoffersson leads the championship with 111 points, followed by Mattias Ekström with 94 points, the third contender who has hit the table is Niclas Gronhölm who passes Timmy Hansen and places third with 76 points.
The engines of the Supercars will roar again on September 19 and 20 at the Bikernieki National Sports Base, located in the Latvian city of Riga.