ohan Kristoffersson is hoping to ‘pick up from where he left off’ when RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires races into Arvika in just over a fortnight’s time (7-9 August), after confirming his participation in round three of the series’ 2020 campaign at his home circuit.
Following a sabbatical season in the FIA World Touring Car Cup, Kristoffersson made his eagerly-anticipated rallycross return at Höljes’ ‘All-Star’ Magic Weekend earlier this month – and straight out-of-the-box in the high-calibre, 20-strong field, he was on the leading pace.
Fastest in the first free practice session in the headlining Supercar class behind the wheel of his Volkswagen Dealer Team Bauhaus VW Polo, the two-time FIA World Rallycross Champion missed out on topping the timesheets in Q1 on Thursday by less than 0.040s. He went on to finish a close second in the round one final, right in the wheeltracks of winner and reigning RallyX Nordic title-holder Robin Larsson.
Similarly there-or-thereabouts on Saturday, when the heavens opened on Sunday, Kristoffersson outclassed all of his rivals in Q4 as conditions deteriorated and then simply drove away from his pursuers in the semi-final, going more than six-and-a-half seconds faster than anybody else could muster. The Swede followed that up with a wet-weather masterclass in the final, where – after nailing the start from the outside of the front row of the grid – he was untouchable.
Almost 20 months on from his last victory in the discipline, his sensational comeback triumph at Höljes proved beyond doubt that Kristoffersson is back in business on the rallycross scene – and now he is aiming to keep that success story going at Arvika.
“It was so much fun to be competing in a rallycross event again – especially on Sunday, when the rain came and gave us a sniff of victory,” reflected the 31-year-old, who sits second in the title table, just four points shy of the summit of the standings. “I love every aspect of this sport, and after a year away, it felt like coming back home.
“In many ways, Höljes was the perfect weekend with the mixed weather, and we learnt a lot. The Polo isn’t new to us, but we made a lot of changes to it over the winter so there was a whole list of things we wanted to try out and different set-ups we wanted to experiment with.
“In the wet, we were right on the pace – if not indeed setting the pace, which was really encouraging. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of driving in conditions like that. In the dry, we discovered where we need to improve to make the car even more competitive, and we’ve been working hard to do that ever since.
“Arvika is my local track – literally just 5km from my front door – and it’s one of the first I ever drove in rallycross, back in 2013. We’ve tested there a few times recently, and it’s great news that RallyX Nordic is returning after a year away, particularly given it will enjoy the same superb livestream coverage as at Höljes and will additionally be broadcast on Swedish TV.
“As a circuit, Arvika always generates close racing, and the joker lap coming right at the end of the lap can make for interesting finishes, so I’m sure it will be exciting. Hopefully, we can pick up from where we left off at Höljes…”