JOHAN KRISTOFFERSSON WINS AGAIN IN FERRATUM WORLD RX OF RĪGA-LATVIA
In changeable weather conditions, Johan Kristoffersson became the winner of the second race day of FIA World Rallycross Championship double-header event Ferratum World RX of Rīga-Latvia, repeating his Saturday’s success. Latvians Jānis Baumanis and Ronalds Baldiņš reached the semi-finals in the FIA European Rallycross Championship Euro RX1 class, while Roberts Vītols suffered a technical issue in the final and finished fourth in his debut of the RX2e Championship.
Racing started with the SuperPole in the morning, where we once again saw a close fight between the two World Champions Johan Kristofferson and Timmy Hansen. Kristoffersson set the fastest time, beating Hansen by 0.057 seconds. Third time was set by Ole Christian Veiby.
A short time before the beginning of the first qualifying Heat Biķernieki circuit saw a short but heavy rain, after which the track surface got very slippery. Kristoffersson took win in his race, while his teammate Ole Christian Veiby got past the Finnish driver Niclas Gronholm just before the finish line. Timmy Hansen was the fastest driver of the second race of Heat 1, but his time was only enough for fourth place in overall results of Heat 1.
Kevin Hansen, who finished on the second podium position in the first day, crashed out of his Heat 2 race already in the first corner after a contact with Veiby. Norwegian Veiby was able to continue the race, taking victory. In the second race, the pace was much faster. This time Timmy Hansen was able to beat Kristoffersson and Gustav Bergstrom, setting the best time of Heat 2 overall.
In the Progression stage, both Niclas Gronholm and Timmy Hansen had started a good run, but suffered technical issues, forcing them to start from lower starting position in the semi-finals. In the first semi-final Kristoffersson took a safe win to get into the final, while Hansen was able to get past Bergstrom with the Joker strategy. In the second semi-final, Veiby crashed into Kevin Hansen at the start of the race, but Hansen was able to finish in third position, taking the last spot for the final. Veiby and Gronholm were the other two drivers to get into the final.
In the final start of the weekend, as the track was drying up, outside starting position gave an advantage to Kevin Hansen, who took the lead of the race in first corner. Kristoffersson and Kevin’s brother Timmy Hansen was following close. Timmy was the first from the leaders to go into Joker lap, but his strategy didn’t pay off, losing a place to Veiby as well. Johan Kristoffersson took the win of the final, beating Kevin Hansen by just 0,285 seconds, while Veiby finished on last step of the podium. Timmy Hansen finished in fourth, while Niclas Gronholm was fifth.
“The weather conditions were tricky this weekend, they were changing all the time. It was important to adapt to them, but I was able to set good times when I needed them the most. As these cars have similar power units, it’s very important to work within the team and with teammates, especially in these weather conditions. These spectators give an energy boost. Riga will always be a special place for me, as I won my first title here. It’s always nice to come back here, because the Latvian fans are very passionate,” after the victory tells Johan Kristoffersson.
In the last qualifying Heat of FIA European Rallycross Championship Euro RX1 class, Anton Marklund once again proved his skills, setting the best time. Latvian Jānis Baumanis lost some time after a bad start, but, after a good run, he was able to set the fifth fastest time overall, just in front of his fellow countryman Ronalds Baldiņš.
In the Progression stage, both season leaders Marklund and Baumanis started in the same race. This time Marklund was faster, while Baumanis finished two seconds further back. Ronalds Baldiņš also finished his Progression race in the second place, after a good Joker strategy.
Unfortunately, semi-finals were not kind for home drivers. Ronalds Baldiņš had a contact with Enzo Ide in the first corner, and while the speed on track was good, he couldn’t get past Tamás Kárai, finishing the race in fourth place. Meanwhile Jānis Baumanis was leading his semi-final race for more than three laps, but then sudden problems with intercooler interrupted his run, leaving him outside of the final as well.
This time the final was won by Sondre Evjen, who as able to finish in front of the championship leader Anton Marklund. Third place was taken by Belgian Enzo Ide who beat Miko Ikonen and Sivert Svardal in his way to podium.
“Start of the final was the key. It was very important to get in front of Marklund, because he was very fast. He was following closely for the whole run, but with good Joker tactics, I was able to finish in front. I’ve always loved racing here in Riga. Here I took my first rallycross victory, first Euro RX1 podium and now first Euro RX1 victory as well. Obviously, this track suits my driving style,” says Sondre Evjen.
“First three laps of the semi-final were good, but then I started to lose power. It turned out that the intercooler is broken. I’m happy about the starts. Only one of them was not so good. I was still missing the pace on track, but at least we found some tenths from Saturday to Sunday. The fan support was just phenomenal. Thanks to the organizers for the perfectly organized event and all the activities on and off the track,” Jānis Baumanis says after the competition.
“I have missed the luck for all of the season… The speed was there, but the luck wasn’t. In the last start I had a little contact, but that’s rallycross. I didn’t want to let anyone pass, even if it’s my teammate. We came here to race, unfortunately, this time we didn’t get lucky. In overall, we are satisfied with the results, considering how much I have driven with this car. We got faster with each lap. I’m used to weather conditions like this in motocross, so it just made the event more interesting,” Ronalds Baldiņš tells about his Euro RX1 debut.
In the RX2e Championship, the attention of the Latvian spectators was focused on Roberts Vītols, who debuted in the World Championship event. In the third qualifying Heat, Vītols was a little bit slow at start, but was able to catch up the drivers in front. As we know, it’s difficult to overtake in the Biķernieki circuit, but Vītols still got one place up with the Joker tactics. He set the fifth time of Heat 3, while Swede Isac Sjokvist was the man to beat.
Winner of the first two rounds, Victor Vranckx, broke his wheel in Progression stage race. His mechanics were able to fix the car for the semi-final, and he was able to take the last spot for the final. Home hero Roberts Vītols also got into final in his debut race.
At the start of the race Vītols got into the third place. After other drivers went into the Joker, Vītols had a clear track in front to do fast laps, but, unfortunately, he’s car suffered technical issues after the jump. In the end, Vītols reached the finish line in fourth place. Great overtake by Patrick O’Donovan allowed him to take his first victory of the RX2e Championship, leaving Isac Sjokvist in the second place. Third spot was taken by championship leader Victor Vranckx.
“It was about five seconds after the finish, when I started to believe that I’ve really won. Joker strategy worked out really well. After returning to track I had close fight with Sjokvist, I was sweating really much. I’m really, really happy, this is one of the best days in my life! This year, we all are close to each other, so I really enjoy the competition,” Patrick O’Donovan tells after the finish.
The FIA World Rallycross Championship doubleheader event Ferratum World RX of Rīga-Latvia in 2022 is possible thanks to the support provided by Latvian government, Ministry of Education and Science, Riga City Council, Education, Culture, and Sports Department of Riga City Council, title sponsor Ferratum, sponsor Ramirent and partner Road Traffic Safety Directorate.