World RX - Kristoffersson aims for World RX hat-trick in Höljes

  • gb

Having won the opening two rounds of the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship in Portugal (Montalegre) and Norway (Hell), defending World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson will be aiming for a hat-trick of victories as he heads to the famous ‘Magic Weekend’ at the World RX of Sweden in Höljes (1-2 July).

Tens of thousands of fans are expected to make their rallycross pilgrimage to the circuit tucked away deep in the Värmland forest. The undulating mixed surface track has been staging rallycross events for almost half a century and has been a happy hunting-ground for local heroes, with previous winners including Kristoffersson, Timmy Hansen and Mattias Ekström.

Indeed, defending World RX champion Kristoffersson will once again be the favourite as he chases a sixth world championship crown. The Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS star currently holds a 13-point advantage over Finland’s Niclas Grönholm (CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment) in the drivers’ classification.

Kristoffersson will face stiff opposition, not least from countryman Timmy Hansen (Hansen World RX Team), as the 2019 title-holder strives to kick-start his campaign following accidents that have uncharacteristically kept him out of the final in both rounds so far.

“The season clearly hasn’t started too well for us and we’re not in the position we had hoped to be, but we definitely took a step forward in terms of pace last time out and I’m excited to see if we can carry that forward,” says the Peugeot 208 RX1e driver.

“I’m not in the mood to hold anything back – I’m just going to send it!”

Kevin Hansen followed his older brother across the line for a one-two finish in Höljes in 2021 and the Swedish squad will be eager to repeat that result two years on.

Klara Andersson (CE Dealer Team) sits an impressive fourth in the standings as she prepares to make her maiden appearance at Höljes in World RX, while Sébastien Loeb returns to the circuit he last raced at in 2018 in a Special ONE Racing’s Lancia Delta Evo-e RX.

Timo Scheider will be keen to repeat the podium he scored last time out in his Münnich Motorsport SEAT Ibiza RX1e, while hoping to boost their World RX points tally are Gustav Bergström (Volkswagen RX1e), Guerlain Chicherit (Lancia Delta Evo RX1e) and Ole Christian Veiby (Volkswagen RX1e).

In the support categories, Swedes spearhead the charge in the FIA RX2e Championship, including series leader Isak Sjökvist (#YellowSquad), Nils Andersson and his Kristoffersson Motorsport stablemate Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who finished on the podium on her RX2e debut in Norway.

Joining them will be Catie Munnings, Pablo Suárez, Viktor Vranckx, Filip Thorèn, Ole Henry Steinsholt and Cristina Gutierrez – plus the reigning Estonian and Latvian-Lithuanian rallycross champion, and former RX Academy event-winner, Marko Muru.

Just one point separates Enzo Ide (Audi S1) and Anton Marklund (Ford Fiesta) at the top of the Euro RX1 points table. Any one of the 24 drives entered is capable of scoring victory in Höljes, including Jānis Baumanis (Peugeot 208), Andreas Bakkerud (Audi A1), Patrick O'Donovan (Peugeot 208), Robin Larsson (Audi S1) and Sivert Svardal, who won last time out in his Volkswagen Polo.

Damian Litwinowicz has led Euro RX3 since the start of the season but is coming under pressure from his Volland Racing team-mates Espen Isaksætre and Nils Volland who are second and third in the standings. Jens Hvaal (Škoda Fabia), David Bouet (Renault Clio) and Balázs Körmöczi (Volkswagen Polo) are some of the drivers aiming to end the Audi winning streak.

World RX SuperPole and support race heats take place on Saturday (1 July), with final heats, semi-finals and finals on Sunday (2 July).

All the action from the World RX of Sweden will be broadcast live on RX+.