WRX France: PSRX Volkswagen's Johan Kristoffersson recovers to win

PSRX Volkswagen's Johan Kristoffersson recovered from a pair of less-than-perfect starts to score victory in France, as he continues the defence of his World Rallycross Championship crown

WRX France: PSRX Volkswagen's Johan Kristoffersson recovers to win

The Swede battled back from a poor start in Q2 on Saturday afternoon to claim the top spot in the intermediate classification but he was beaten to the semi-final victory by a fast-starting Mattias Ekstrom.

Starting from the second row of the grid for the final, Kristoffersson ran third on the opening lap but dropped to fifth when he took his compulsory joker on the second tour.

He climbed to fourth when fellow second-row starter Sebastien Loeb, who had qualified in 12th, completed his joker on lap three.

Kristofferson then closed the gap to the leading trio of Audi's Andreas Bakkerud and Ekstrom, as well as Peugeot driver Timmy Hansen.

The Volkswagen Polo driver leapfrogged into the lead on the final lap as the leaders took their joker together, to claim his third Loheac victory in succession.

Just days after Audi confirmed to Autosport that it will pull out of World RX at the end of the season, the Audi-supported EKS pairing of Bakkerud and Ekstrom locked out the front row for the final.

Running one-two for all of the final but the last third of the final lap, Bakkerud slotted into second at the joker merge as Ekstrom dropped to fourth behind PSRX driver-owner Petter Solberg.

Solberg had taken his joker at the first opportunity from fifth, having passed Loeb in the opening corners and consequently made the podium.

Loeb's Peugeot team-mate Hansen replicated a move made by his colleague in the semi-finals by cutting inside for the first corner from the outside of the last row, before running around the outside of Loeb and Solberg in turn two to climb the order.

Hansen's late joker meant he dropped to fifth, emerging just ahead of Loeb at Peugeot's home event, with the six finalists covered by just 1.5 seconds as they crossed the finish line.

British driver Liam Doran starred on his comeback to the series by setting the second fastest time to Kristoffersson in Q3 on Sunday morning in damp and slippery conditions to qualify sixth.

But he would miss out in the sem-finals, meaning Doran wasn't able to make a dream final start on his debut for Guerlain Chicherit's GCK squad.

Final result

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 Johan Kristoffersson PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Volkswagen 3m44.787s -
2 Andreas Bakkerud EKS Audi Sport Audi 3m45.127s 0.340s
3 Petter Solberg PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Volkswagen 3m45.571s 0.784s
4 Mattias Ekstrom EKS Audi Sport Audi 3m45.945s 1.158s
5 Timmy Hansen Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 3m46.210s 1.423s
6 Sebastien Loeb Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 3m46.362s 1.575s

Drivers championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Johan Kristoffersson 224
2 Andreas Bakkerud 165
3 Petter Solberg 160
4 Timmy Hansen 158
5 Mattias Ekstrom 157
6 Sebastien Loeb 151
7 Kevin Hansen 98
8 Niclas Gronholm 95
9 Janis Baumanis 68
10 Timur Timerzyanov 66
11 Jerome Grosset-Janin 47
12 Guerlain Chicherit 44
13 Robin Larsson 22
14 Kevin Eriksson 16
15 Tommy Rustad 14
16 Liam Doran 12
17 Gregoire Demoustier 9
18 Anton Marklund 7
19 Oliver Bennett 5
20 Francois Duval 4
21 Toomas Heikkinen 3
22 Andrew Jordan 2
23 Joni-Pekka Rajala 1
23 Mark Higgins 1

Teams championship

Pos Team Points
1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 384
2 EKS Audi Sport 322
3 Team Peugeot Total 309
4 GRX Taneco Team 161
5 GC Kompetition 103
6 Olsbergs MSE 38

World RX Loheac: Kristoffersson heads Ekstrom after France day one
Previous article

World RX Loheac: Kristoffersson heads Ekstrom after France day one

Next article

Petter Solberg almost withdrew from 2018 WRX season with illness

Petter Solberg almost withdrew from 2018 WRX season with illness
From Lebanon to cross-category world titles - a rally legend's top 10 Plus

From Lebanon to cross-category world titles - a rally legend's top 10

Petter Solberg has called time on his top-flight career after winning titles in two FIA world championships. Here, the 2003 rally and '14/15 rallycross king recalls his 10 best events - including the moment where all his success began

World Rallycross
Nov 7, 2019
How to make an F1 venue fit for World RX Plus

How to make an F1 venue fit for World RX

World Rallycross makes its first appearance at Silverstone this year as part of the 'Speedmachine' festival in May. We take a look at how the new rallycross track fared in its debut event

World Rallycross
Mar 22, 2018
Volkswagen hasn't disappeared completely Plus

Volkswagen hasn't disappeared completely

Volkswagen's abrupt departure from the World Rally Championship it was dominating was one of the winter's biggest shocks. Now 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg's World Rallycross team has VW support. What does that mean for World RX and what remains of Volkswagen Motorsport?

World Rallycross
Apr 3, 2017
Why rallycross is becoming irresistible Plus

Why rallycross is becoming irresistible

Sebastien Loeb started a new journey in his motorsport career last weekend, but he wasn't the only attraction in Portugal. DAVID EVANS examines why the World Rallycross product works so well

World Rallycross
Apr 21, 2016
How good is World Rallycross? Plus

How good is World Rallycross?

The entries are strong, the cars are powerful and it can teach the WRC a thing or two about promotion. But after visiting the Lydden Hill round, DAVID EVANS still has his doubts

World Rallycross
May 30, 2014
New rallycross golden age comes to Britain Plus

New rallycross golden age comes to Britain

The sport began at Lydden in the late 1960s and this weekend the new-look World Rallycross Championship will strut its stuff at the Kent venue. HAL RIDGE explains why it will be unmissable

World Rallycross
May 23, 2014
Solberg: why rallycross is my future Plus

Solberg: why rallycross is my future

PETTER SOLBERG had a rough first season back in rallycross, but that hasn't deterred him from signing up for the first year of its new era in 2014, as he explains in his AUTOSPORT column

World Rallycross
Oct 16, 2013
Solberg: back to school Plus

Solberg: back to school

Petter Solberg says that there's still lots to learn about running a successful rallycross campaign, but he's really enjoying getting back to his roots

World Rallycross
Apr 2, 2013