WRX Sweden: Kristoffersson makes winning return in World Rallycross opener

Double World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson made a winning return to the series after a year away, claiming the spoils in the opener at his home circuit

WRX Sweden: Kristoffersson makes winning return in World Rallycross opener

Kristoffersson dominated a rain-hit final in the delayed season-opener at Holjes, driving a works-built Volkswagen Polo run by his family's Kristoffersson Motorsport team.

Heavy rain fell just moments before the final, causing the entire grid switching to wet tyres, but it was polesitter Kristoffersson who made the best start in the run to first turn, breaking free from the battle for track position behind.

Having made it to the front, overcoming the rubbered-in slippery front row of the grid, renowned wet-weather specialist Kristoffersson led proceedings from the front, chased throughout by another returning World RX champion, Mattias Ekstrom.

Ekstrom was the only driver other than Kristoffersson to set a fastest time through the three qualifiers in the single-day season-opener, and won his semi-final to join Kristoffersson on the front row, just days after announcing that he would make a surprise return with the KYB Team JC squad that runs ex-EKS Audi S1s.

Ekstrom also broke free of the first corner contact and was untroubled on his way to second, taking his compulsory joker on the third tour to cover off a fast-starting Anton Marklund behind, who finished third.

Fast all day, Marklund initially missed out on the final after a battle with Ekstrom's team-mate Robin Larsson in the semis, but a three-second penalty for Larsson reversed the positions and Marklund joined the final grid on the third row.

He made a fast start, but was forced wide at the first turn before diving back across the circuit towards the joker entry, pitching reigning drivers' champion Timmy Hansen into a spin.

While Hansen retried from the race on lap four, Timo Scheider finished fourth ahead of grid staller Niclas Gronholm.

Marklund's GCK Renault Megane stablemates Andreas Bakkerud and Liam Doran, driving for the RX Cartel team, had a torrid day.

Bakkerud was fastest in mixed conditions during free practice but had a number of problems through the qualifiers and was 13th, outside the semi-final positions.

Doran meanwhile made it to the end of his Q1 race, but with a broken propshaft causing significant damage to car, he was forced out of the event.

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About this article

Series World Rallycross
Drivers Johan Kristoffersson
Author Hal Ridge
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