Spain WRX: Kristoffersson stripped of Day 1 lead

Three-time World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson has lost his overnight lead at the opening round of the 2021 series in Spain due to being disqualified from the first qualifying session.

Johan Kristoffersson, KYB EKS JC Audi S1

The reigning champion's EKS JC Audi S1 had topped the overall order having set the fastest time in each of the first two sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

But Stewards Decision No.10 at 20.45 announced Car #1’s disqualification from Q1 for the FIA Data logger not being connected, which meant that no data could be read by the FIA technical delegates after the session.

The Stewards received a report from the FIA Technical delegate, then heard from KYB EKS JC team representative, team principal Joel Christoffersson as event Summons No.03.

The FIA data logger system, supplied by Marelli, is used to store data from competing cars in the top-flight World Rallycross Championship RX1 category. All cars in the series use homologated ECUs, to control the use of banned aids such as traction control.

Kristoffersson’s Q1 disqualification leaves the reigning champion 15th overnight, outside of the top 12 positions that will progress to the semi-finals - with two sessions still to run on Saturday afternoon.

Timmy Hansen, the 2019 World RX drivers champion, therefore takes the overnight top qualifier position in a one-two for Hansen's Peugeot 208 WRXs ahead of younger brother Kevin Hansen, with double DTM champion Timo Scheider's Munnich Motorsport Seat Ibiza third.

Johan Kristoffersson, KYB EKS JC Audi S1

Johan Kristoffersson, KYB EKS JC Audi S1

Photo by: FIA World Rallycross

However, because Kristoffersson’s disqualification is from Q1 and he maintains his Q2 time, he will continue to race in the final race of Q3 on Saturday afternoon.

Starting from the outside grid slot in his Q1 race, Kristoffersson took an early joker lap then delivered what would be the fastest laps of the day to eventually overcome Timmy Hansen for the race win, and the fastest time.

Kristoffersson and Hansen started on the inside of the grid in the first race in Q2, Hansen taking the lead after Kristoffersson ran deep into the revised-for-2021 Turn 1. Kristoffersson again jokered on lap one, and leapfrogged his compatriot on the final lap when Hansen took his joker, Kristoffersson claiming the race win and his second fastest time.

Another of the pre-event title-favourites, Niclas Gronholm, had a difficult opening day of the season. The GRX SET driver carried a technical issue with his Hyundai i20 from the opening practice session that even with a substantial gap in the time schedule between practice and Q1, the team was not able to fully rectify.

Despite his problem affecting the i20’s starts, Gronholm took a pair of wins and end up fifth in the day one order, promoted to fourth after Kristoffersson's disqualification.

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