WorldRX of Spa-Francorchamps; Kristoffersson closes down on the champioship after winning at Spa


October 11, 2021

by Johnathan Bennett

Johan Kristoffersson takes his second win of the season with the crowds cheering as he puts the pressure on the Hansen brothers slotting into second position in the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

During practise Nicolas Gronholm had power steering failure and didn’t complete all laps. Enzo Ide had an issue with the anti lag system but managed to fix it and won his race in qualifying two. Kevin Abbring came along to win qualification one from Kristoffersson.

Gronholm went one the outside for turn one, qualification two but made contact with Timmy Hansen and spun into the wall. After the race, Gronholm was found to be not at fault by the stewards but no investigation into the cause of the contact. 

In the final RX1 race of Saturday, Abbring got a fantastic start but had Kristoffersson, Timo Schieder and Kevin Hansen push on Abbring causing Abbring to spin round. Fortunately because Abbring got such a good start. Kristoffersson was not collected and took the win. Kevin Hansen was given a 12 second penalty after the race.

Moving into Sunday, all drivers were given a warning meeting about contact into turn one. In qualification three Gronholm finally got, not only a heat win but an overall win ahead of the Hansens.

In qualification four Abbring came back after Q2, having survived Q3 to win Q4.

Ollie O’Donovan had an engine issue in Q3 meaning he missed Q4 but was repaired for the finals. 

Going into the finals Abbring is the top qualifier on the same points as Kristoffersson but had two qualification wins to Kristoffersson’s one. Timmy in third with Gronholm fourth and Kevin fifth. 

Semi Final One

Abbring lined up in pole with Timmy Hansen alongside. Kevin Hansen and Scheider on row two. Anton Marklund and Herve Knapick on the back row.

Abbring launched off and secured the lead into turn one with Timmy behind and up the hill. At the hairpin Timmy pushes into the back of Abbring, spinning him round and breaking the rear suspension.

Marklund and Knapick joker early as Timmy Hansen leads from Schieder and Kevin Hansen. On lap three Schieder jokered but comes out behind Marklund as Abbring retires followed by Scheider.

Kevin Hansen jokered on lap five and secured second place from Marklund allowing Timmy Hansen to joker on the final lap taking the win from Kevin. 

Timmy Hansen ran over to apologise to Abbring stating he got pushed from behind. However the stewards reviewed the contact with Abbring and Timmy Hansen received a 5 second penalty. 

Semi Final Two

Kristoffersson took the pole position with Gronholm alongside. Both drivers coming off victory in Riga. Krisztian Szabo and Enzo Ide on row two with Juha Rytkonen and O’Donovan on the back row.

Gronholm gets a rocket start and tries to go around Kristoffersson. Kristoffersson holds his line on the inside and Gronholm with nowhere to go gets pushed out into the wall.

Kristoffersson leads from Szabo, O’Donovan who then jokers allowing Ide through, Rytkonen and then Gronholm. 

Gronholm battles Rytkonen as Ide and Rytkonen jokers. Ide now sits on Gronholm bumper who still needs to joker.

Szabo jokered on lap four and secured second place with Gronholm behind him. On the final lap, Kristoffersson jokered and won as Szabo seemed to drop pace and O’Donovan retired.

Kristoffersson wins from Szabo in second and local driver Ide into third.

Final

Due to the penalties, Kristoffersson took pole with Kevin Hansen in second. Szabo and Marklund on row two with Timmy Hansen and Ide on row three.

As the lights turned green Kristoffersson gets the perfect launch on the inside and keep the lead as he crosses over to protect from Szabo.

At the hairpin Marklund runs wide and Timmy Hansen makes the move past pushing Marklund wider.

Kristoffersson out front with Kevin Hansen second and Szabo third. Marklund jokered early as Timmy Hansen tried to push and pass Szabo. 

Szabo continues to defend as Timmy Hansen goes to the joker on lap three and comes out ahead of Marklund.

Ide now has to defend from Hansen as Szabo immediately responds to Timmy Hansen and jokers and comes out ahead of Timmy Hansen. 

Ide then jokered on lap five as the battle for third position continued between Szabo and Timmy Hansen.

Kristoffersson at the front took a two second lead from Kevin Hansen. 

Across the line Kristoffersson takes the win, Kevin Hansen second and finally, the podium Szabo has been working hard for, finally comes. 

After the race Kristoffersson said “It was good for us that the track was a little bit different from what it was in 2019 in the gravel section. I felt pretty comfortable when we arrived here and after the first couple laps.”

RX2e

Championship leader Guillaume De Ridder did not have a good Saturday race day. Isak Skokvist took the win in qualification one with Jesse Kallio in second but the two swapped positions in qualifying two.

At the end of day one, the Swede Klara Andersson sat in third position.

As with RX1, all drivers had a unique situation where they were warned about turn one contacts. 

As Sunday started, DeRidder finally got back into the swing of things by taking the win in qualification three with Kallio in second.

In the final qualification race Patrick O’Donovan put together a fantastic race to take the heat win and third overall in Q4. The teenager again showed impressive growth.

Semi Final One

Kallio took pole position as top qualifier and Sjokvist on P2. O’Donovan lined up on the second row with Christine Giampaoli alongside and Filip Thoren on the back row.

Kallio moved over to block O’Donovan. O’Donovan holds his line behind Kallio and pushes Sjokvist out wide and slots into second place. 

Giampaoli and Thoren make contact with Giampaoli spinning out sustaining damage to the front of the car. 

O’Donovan attacked Kallio while holding off Sjokvist and Sjokvist jokered on lap two.

Kallio could not shake O’Donovan but on lap three O’Donovan came into corner one, clipped the wall and got sent into the opposite wall after such incredible pace.

Kallio now had a comfortable race as Thoren jokered coming out behind Sjokvist. 

Kallio jokered on lap four securing first place comfortably.

On lap five, due to the stranded car on track, the race was red flagged. O’Donovan was stuck in the car as he could not get out of the car on the passenger side due to the electric safety cell on the passenger side and the driver's door pinned against the wall.

The race stood as it finished due to 4 laps being completed and 2 sectors of the fifth lap which is enough to declare the race. Fortunately, reports stated that O’Donovan is moving and OK. DF has since spoken to O’Donovan who is recovering well. We look forward to seeing him again at the 5 Nations Lydden night race event.

Semi Final Two

De Ridder takes pole position with debutant Andersson alongside. Pablo Suarez on row two with Connor Martell and Laia Sanz.

De Ridder made a fantastic start but Suarez pushed his way past Andersson into second. Martell slotted in behind Andersson after he pushed into the back of her, then went to the joker. Sanz slotted in last.

The lead three started to make a break however Andersson could not joker as they would be caught behind Sanz who did not seem to have the pace of Andersson and Suarez.

Andersson jokered on lap four with Sanz behind in a bid to get the undercut on Suarez. Suarez responded immediately and came out ahead of Andersson to protect second place.

On the final lap De Ridder jokered and maintained his lead, easily taking the win followed by Suarez and Andersson.

Final

The penultimate round's final race started as the drivers lined up. Kallio and De Ridder on the front row.

The lights went green and the drivers accelerated off the line. 

Kallio had the inside line but De Ridder came round the outside and took the lead. At the hairpin Kallio exits alongside De Ridder but falls back going down the hill. 

Sjokvist ran third, Andersson fourth. Suarez and Thoren.

Suarez jokered on lap one as Kallio attacked De Ridder's bumper while the top four all ran close together. On lap three Kallio jokers to now push to undercut De Ridder.

Onto lap five, and all cars have jokered apart from the leader. Kallio goes back into second and only 3.1 seconds behind.

Onto the final sector the gap is 2.9 seconds and De Ridder enters the joker. De Ridder makes a fantastic joker lap and jumps across the finish line in the lead and takes the win from Kallio and Sjokvist.

Image credits: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

FIA WorldRX Championship Standings:

Timmy HANSEN 151pts
Johan KRISTOFFERSSON 139pts
Kevin HANSEN 136pts
Niclas GRÖNHOLM 112pts
Krisztián SZABÓ 108pts
Kevin ABBRING 97pts
Timo SCHEIDER 75pts
Enzo IDE 72pts
Juha RYTKÖNEN 52pts
Mattias EKSTRÖM 37pts

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