Silverstone World RX: Kristoffersson survives Solberg crash to win
Johan Kristoffersson overcame contact with PSRX teammate Petter Solberg in the semi-final stages of Silverstone’s first World Rallycross event to claim victory.
The Volkswagen pair started side-by-side in semi-final one but on the entry to the first corner, Kristoffersson’s Polo made contact with the left-right wheel of Solberg’s sister car, throwing the reigning champion’s machine into the air and then the tyre barrier on the inside.
The incident moved the tyre wall onto the circuit which forced the race to be stopped, Kristoffersson able to retake his grid position for the restart.
The Swede subsequently led the race throughout to secure pole position for the final, as Solberg retired with technical problems on lap two. The drama wasn’t over for Kristoffersson after the semi-final finish however, his Polo stopping after the line and had to be recovered to the paddock.
He did make it to the final grid, from where he repeated his semi-final performance by leading throughout to score his third victory of the season and extend his points lead over Sebastien Loeb, who was third in the British round.
At the start of the final, Kristoffersson covered the inside line into turn one, as fellow front-row starter Loeb made a slow getaway and dropped to sixth by the first corner.
EKS Audi pair Mattias Ekstrom and Andreas Bakkerud shared the second row of the grid but it was Bakkerud who moved to second in the opening corners, around the outside of his teammate, while Loeb immediately repassed Kevin Hansen for fifth.
The Audi pair hassled Kristoffersson for the opening half of the race, as Loeb ducked out of the traffic on lap three by taking his joker.
Ekstrom responded by taking his extra route on the next tour and initially held track position ahead of Loeb, the Frenchman then diving up the inside into turn one to take track position and maintain his 100% podium record in 2018.
Both Bakkerud and Kristoffersson subsequently took their joker laps in the closing stages of the race and held track position.
Niclas Gronholm produced another solid performance to make the final for the second time in 2018 and was top non-works-backed driver in GRX’s Hyundai i20 in fifth, while Kevin Hansen was slowed with mechanical problems on the final lap.
Silverstone World RX: Solberg leads Ekstrom after Saturday
FIA approves World RX plans to go electric in 2020