The home crowd of 51,600 rallycross fans had lots to cheer as four Swedish drivers progressed to the final. Here’s what caught our eye at the mid-point of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship.
New machinery and old rivalries were on show at the sixth stop of the 2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The action took place in Höljes, Sweden, as rallycross came home to an adoring crowd of over 50,000 fans.
The bumper crowd was treated to an incident packed weekend which culminated in a collision during the last race which shook up the final standings. Here’s our main takeaways from the action…
1. Peugeot engineers have been working overtime
With Team Peugeot Total making their debut this year as a fully fledged factory entry to World Rallycross, members of the crew were poised for some trial and error along the way. For the racing in Höljes the latest evolution of the Peugeot 208 WRX was unveiled and the potential of the car was immediately apparent.
Swedish brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen both progressed to the final behind the wheel of a 208 WRX. It was only due to misfortune in the weekend’s finale that Timmy and Kevin missed out on the podium due to a collision and engine trouble respectively.
2. Struggles for Sébastien Loeb
Nine-time WRC winner Sébastien Loeb was also racing the revamped Peugeot 208 WRX and suffered a few teething problems. The Frenchman struggled for rhythm and was unable to add to his four podium finishes already secured this season.
“The weekend started off quite badly for me and didn’t really get any better,” Loeb told RedBull.com. “Our objective for the championship is to collect points and we didn’t get many this weekend.”
4. A collision in the final halts Mattias Ekström’s progress
Sweden’s Mattias Ekström finished third on track in the final but was given a penalty for ‘pushing and overtaking’ Team Peugeot Total’s Timmy Hansen on the last lap – Hansen retiring with just two corners to go. Ekstrom was classified sixth.
“The last lap was a real challenge,” Ekström revealed. “Andreas [Bakkerud] was directly in front of me when Timmy [Hansen] apparently had a problem. I tried to overtake him as well. Our tyres touched, but I managed to stay on track.”
5. Maximum points for homecoming hero Johan Kristoffersson
It’s now five wins from six races for Volkswagen’s Johan Kristoffersson this year. The Swedish driver was in no mood to disappoint his home crowd as he flew through the early rounds to book his spot in the final. Kristoffersson then dazzled the Swedish fans with a perfect performance that landed him on the top step of the podium.
2018 FIA World Rallycross Championship positions after six rounds