VW Finishes First and Third at Belgian Rallycross

A wild race led to PSRX Volkswagen Team Sweden’s first victory in the 2017 season of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Johan Kristoffersson climbed to the top spot on the podium, dethroning series leader Mattias Ekström for the first time this season.

His teammate, meanwhile, Petter Solberg, finished third after nearly losing it on the third lap. Solberg had been leading up to that point, but a bad final corner meant that the second-place Timmy Hansen out-dragged him on the front straight. Side-by-side going into the first corner, Solberg overcommitted himself on the outside and only just managed to recover, albeit in Andreas Bakkerud’s way, sending the Ford driver into the wall and a rage.

Krsitoffersson had jokered (finished his one, extra long lap) the previous lap and was stuck behind Ekström, who had not. Things weren’t looking good for Kristoffersson, who was racing towards a podium place but was losing ground to the first place Hansen as a result of being stuck behind what effectively amounted to a backmarker.

A puncture for Hansen on the penultimate lap, though, meant that Kristoffersson was able to take first. Hansen drove his tripod heroically, though, and managed to hang on to second place, crossing the finish line alongside, but ahead of, Solberg.

Petter Solberg (N) Volkswagen Polo GTI Supercar WRX Mettet 2017

“This is special. What an incredible feeling,” said Kristoffersson after the race. “I know Petter and I have talked about this a few times this year, but I think we are both so happy with the way the team is working with Volkswagen Motorsport and the speed we have had this weekend has shown that. The car has been perfect for me.”

The Belgian round of the WRX was the fourth, and the only one so far not won by Mattias Ekström and his Audi.

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Despite losing the race, Ekström is still first in the drivers’ standings, though his lead is anything but safe. Thanks to his strong finishes, Kristoffersson (98 pts) is only three points back of Ekstöm (101 pts). Solberg, meanwhile, is in third with 87 points.

The two VW drivers, though, have been finishing well all season, so their team leads the championship with 131 points, 17 points head of Ekström’s team, EKS.

Kristoffersson will look for his second victory of the season at the next event at the UK’s Lydden Hill racetrack, starting on May 26.