Rallycross: Kristoffersson wins WRX season opener in Montalegre
Everything as usual in the FIA World Rallycross Championship: Johan Kristoffersson dominated the first race weekend of the new 2023 WRX season, beating Kevin Hansen and Niclas Grönholm in the final. The latter fell behind the younger of the Hansen brothers in the final, but was the second-fastest driver on track throughout the weekend, due in particular to major pace problems at the Hansen World RX Team on the first day of racing.
Defending champion Kristoffersson won every race he contested at Montalegre. With a good joker lap strategy, Kevin Hansen finished second in the first semifinal behind his compatriot. Timmy Hansen, who had been in third and last position until the last turn, touched his brother and spun as a result. Gustav Bergström was unable to brake in time and drove into the Peugeot. Sebastian Loeb was able to squeeze past both with slight battle scars and was thus in the final. From the second semifinal, Niclas Grönholm, Klara Andersson and Ole Christian Veiby qualified for the final.
Also in the final Kristoffersson got away quickly and was unstoppable. Kevin Hansen tried to follow him, while Grönholm turned directly into the joker lap. In between, a thrilling duel developed with close wheel-to-wheel duels between Loeb and Veiby - with the better end for the Norwegian. At the start of the fifth lap Kevin Hansen suffered a puncture and only just made it out of the joker lap and through the final lap ahead of Grönholm. He was rewarded with second place.
Timo Scheider finished ninth in his Rallyecross comeback. The next points will be awarded in Hell (Norway) in two weeks.
Result of the 2023 Rallycross final race in Montalegre
|1||Johan Kristoffersson||Volkswagen Dealer Team BAUHAUS||3:30.364 min|
|2||Kevin Hansen||Hansen World RX Team||+4.726 s|
|3||Niclas Grönholm||Construction Equipment Dealerteam||+4.907 s|
|4||Ole Christian Veiby||Volkswagen Dealer Team BAUHAUS||+5.373 s|
|5||Klara Andersson||Construction Equipment Dealerteam||+6.655 s|
|6||Sebastian Loeb||Special One Racing||+8.884 s|