KYB EKS JC and Johan Kristoffersson cruelly robbed of World RX final start in Lohéac
Despite setting the pace in the French round of the World Rallycross Championship at Loheac, technical problems cost KYB EKS JC and Johan Kristoffersson a place in the final, notwithstanding an incredible effort by the team’s mechanics.
Kristoffersson set two fastest times in qualifying to secure the Top Qualifier position in the Intermediate Classification. In the semi-finals he led from pole position and looked set for a race win, but on the last lap problems with a driveshaft on the Audi S1 dropped him down to third.
Back in the paddock it was discovered that the gearbox was also damaged and needed to be replaced before the final. The mechanics worked hard to get the car ready for the final and after a heroic effort managed to change the gearbox in just 16 minutes, but unfortunately it was not enough. As the car arrived to the pre-grid one-minute late, Kristoffersson was denied a start in the final.
Belgian driver Enzo Ide had a tough weekend, in which he didn’t find the perfect rhythm on track and faced challenges with the tyres. In the semi-finals he appeared set to graduate to the final in third, but he lost time in traffic and just missed out on a place in the final.
Following the weekend, Kristofferson and Ide are fourth and seventh in the Drivers’ Championship. Full World RX results can be found here.
Joel Christoffersson, KYB EKS JC Team Principal:
"Let's say this – motor sport is a tough sport and it feels really, really hard when you lose. Once again we had a very good weekend initially, where we took TQ and led the semi-final with Johan. But after gearbox problems, we dropped to third place. Before the car entered the paddock, we didn’t know what the problem was, and we only had sixteen minutes to change the gearbox. When we reached the starting area the marshals had just locked the gate and we missed the final by about thirty seconds.
I'm so proud of the mechanics who did a big job in such a short time. But of course it feels really tough that this is happening right when we were starting to picking back points in the championship. It feels a bit like someone has kicked our legs from under us at every race this year, but we are a team that never gives up. There are also many events left and I promise that we will give our all in the next race in Riga. Both Johan and the team like that track and we are really looking forward to the event.
When we came here we thought we would have good speed with Enzo, as we have done some tests in Loheac with him before. But at the same time, this track is really hard on the tyres and we struggled with that. In the semi-finals we had brand new tyres and Enzo showed great pace. Unfortunately, we just missed third place, but we will prepare the car and make sure we are 100% ready for Riga."
Johan Kristoffersson (SWE):
“What a weekend. It started well, we were fast and I felt comfortable in the car. We had a good tyre strategy and in Q4 we tested some new settings to be ready for the semi-finals, which we were very happy with. We chose to start the semi with four new tyres, I had a good start, took the lead and the car felt really, really good. I managed the pace to save the tyres for the final, but on the last lap, at the end of the first corner, the driveshaft broke. I tried to survive through the last lap and managed to finish third.
Before the final, we needed to change the driveshaft, and because the gearbox was also damaged, the team decided to change it as well. It was very short on time, and it should really be impossible to change a gearbox in that time. But the guys did a fantastic job and managed to change it. But when we reached the starting area, we were seconds too late, and we were not allowed to start in the final. Of course it was a real shame. We have not had the margins on our side so far this season and even though the season is long, it is tough in the championship table now. But of course we will only continue to focus on the future, reload and be ready to fight in Riga.”
Enzo Ide (BEL):
“My weekend was really tough. We needed to change the setup a lot to make the car fit me on this track and at first I didn’t get it where I wanted. I made a few mistakes and it was also a tough challenge not to run out of tyres too fast. But, I learned during the weekend and at the end I was able to adapt my driving to the car and the circuit. In the semi-finals the car was a rocket but unfortunately it was not enough for the final.
My goal this season, and before each weekend, is to learn as much as possible. It may sound a little strange, but I appreciate the mistakes I make on the track. I believe that it is my small and big mistakes that make me develop as a driver. So I am happy to have learned a lot this weekend with the team and will continue to work moving forwards. I am really looking forward to going to Riga for the next race together with Johan and EKS JC.”