WRX Hell: Kristoffersson dominates for Volkswagen on day one

Championship leader Johan Kristoffersson dominated the opening day of the Norwegian World Rallycross round at Hell, setting the fastest time in both Q1 and Q2 to head the order

As has been the case for most of the season so far, Kristoffersson was handed a less-than-ideal outside grid slot from the Q1 draw.

But he made the best launch in his race, and took the lead from the start. The race didn't go without drama though.

The rear bodywork on his Volkswagen Polo was smoking after contact to the rear in the first corner.

Starting from pole position in the final race of the day in his Q2 race, Kristoffersson held off a challenge from nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb to again set the fastest time and sit top of the standings.

Loeb, who has finished on the podium at each of the four rounds so far this season, braked early on the entry to Turn 1 to duck into the standard lap behind Kristoffersson but couldn't usurp him.

He is second at the close of play on the opening day in Norway in the overnight order.

Although Loeb was second to Kristoffersson in their Q2 race, the Q1 and Q2 overall order is decided on fastest lap times.

Second fastest in Q2 was reserved for Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom, who could only manage eighth in Q1 after a last lap fight for the lead with Kevin Hansen.

Petter Solberg - PSRX team-mate to Kristorffersson - was second and then fourth in the first two qualifiers to hold third overnight, with Ekstrom fourth ahead of Hansen brothers Timmy and Kevin.

Timmy Hansen gained a position when Ekstrom was forced wide in the post-joker lap battle in Q1 with Kevin Hansen.

The older brother, Timmy, then held off a strong challenge from Andreas Bakkerud for much of the pair's race in Q2, before Ekstrom took the lead after the joker laps played out.

Producing yet another solid performance, GRX Hyundai driver Niclas Gronholm held his ground against Bakkerud at the joker merge on the last lap of their Q2 race and was seventh fastest, the Finn holding eighth overall behind Bakkerud.

His team-mate, triple European Rallycross champion Timur Timerzyanov was fourth fastest in Q1, using an exuberant move around the outside at the first corner to gain ground, but a similar move in Q2 didn't pay off.

He hit the wall on the exit of the corner and retired.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Alexander Wurz had a challenging first day in his maiden World RX event.

He jumped the start in both of his qualifying races in MJP Racing's Ford Fiesta and is 20th overnight.


VW team-mates Solberg and Kristoffersson deny any World RX conflict

World RX Hell: Johan Kristoffersson takes a fourth win from five