Kristoffersson Remains Unbeaten After Winning In Portugal

Four-time FIA World Rallycross Championship winner Johan Kristoffersson is now a four-time race winner in the new RX1e class, having taken victory in the fourth round of the championship in Montalegre in Portugal. The Swedish driver is still yet to be defeated in this new all-electric class, having won every single event this year. KMS teammate Ole Christian Veiby made it a one-two finish for the team, with 2019 champion Timmy Hansen rounding off the podium.

The final featured all three KMS Volkswagen Polo RX1e cars and the Hansen brothers in their Peugeot 208 RX1e machines. Kevin got the best start, attempting to go around the outside into turn one and colliding with Veiby, causing a half spin for the Peugeot and opening the door for Kristoffersson to take the lead. Ultimately, and not for the first time this season, the final turned into a KMS technical masterclass. Timmy Hansen elected to Joker first, coming out just behind the third KMS driver Gustav Bergström, who managed to defend against the 2019 world champion until Hansen pulled off a textbook rallycross move up the inside at turn seven, gently nudging his way past and then immediately slamming the door shut again. That little hold up, however, was exactly enough to ensure that Kristoffersson and Veiby could emerge from their Joker laps in first and second.

When asked how it felt to have won every race this year, Kristoffersson showed typical humility. “When you say it like that, it feels very very nice” he smiled, adding “I was just trying to drive safe without getting a puncture…after the Joker lap on the last lap I spent more time in the mirror to see who was p2 than I did actually [going] forward” with a wry smile.

Kevin Hansen leading into turn 1 in the final, just before contact with Veiby. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

That the two KMS cars were even in the final is a remarkable achievement in itself. In his first race of the day, Veiby ended his race crossing the line before his car shunted hard into the wall, breaking his rear suspension and ruling him out of heat two entirely. In his progression round race, Kristoffersson drifted his car ever so slightly too wide in turn 7, digging his left rear tyre into the deeper gravel, ripping it from its rim, forcing an unscheduled retirement. Fortunately, he had done enough by winning both heats to see him through to the semi-final. Veiby benefited from the small grid size and the incredible speed of the KMS mechanics, who managed to get the car repaired and on the grid for his semi-final as well.

The Lusorecursos World RX of Portugal provided action from the start. The track layout has been revised to ensure even more exciting racing than the fan- and driver-favourite already did. A longer start / finish straight leads to the first corner (the old Joker lap), and a new Joker section utilising Montalgre’s famous gravel section and super high curves, making the drivers really fling their cars into the turns. The Hansens were excited about the prospect of the new track, saying they expected new speed records for the sport, and indeed that they would be competitive. Heat 1 race 1, in fact, saw a Hansen World RX Team one-two, with Timmy taking top spot, and brother Kevin slotting his car just into second position ahead of the third KMS driver, the very impressive Bergström, as both cars danced through the twists and turns of Montalegre.

Round 5 of the season takes place on Sunday 18 September. It will be fascinating to see if anyone can stop Kristoffersson, whether it comes from Team Hansen finally delivering a result, or the Construction Equipment Dealer Team duo of Niclas Grönholm and Klara Andersson, all of whom have shown consistent pace but so far have been unable to topple the titan that is Johan Kristoffersson.

L-R: Ole-Christian Veiby, Johan Kristoffersson, and Timmy Hansen; the podium for round 4 in Portugal. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool