KYB Team JC crowned as World Rallycross Champions
Swedish team JC Raceteknik, running in the FIA World Rallycross Championship as KYB Team JC, is the 2020 World RX Teams’ Champion, by a margin of 16 points over its nearest rival. Swedish driver Mattias Ekstrom meanwhile secures second in the World RX Drivers’ standings, with team mate Robin Larsson in sixth place.
After eight rounds in four different countries, completed despite the complications surrounding the Coronavirus global pandemic, today (November 25) the cancellation of the ninth and final round, set to be run at the Nurburgring in Germany in December, has been officially announced. Therefore, having led the World Championship Teams’ points from the first round, KYB Team JC has been confirmed as the World Champions.
JC Raceteknik has previously enjoyed great success in rallycross, winning the European Championship title last year, in addition to four titles in the RallyX Nordic series. For 2020, the Varmland-based team stepped up to World RX as KYB Team JC, where the biggest prize yet was secured in just the first year.
Two drivers represented KYB Team JC on track: Former World RX Champion Mattias Ekström and reigning Euro RX and RallyX Nordic Champion Robin Larsson. The team's highlights in 2020 have included winning the second round of the season at Höljes (Sweden), as well as a double podium in Riga (Latvia). Ekström scored two wins during the year and three second places to finish second in the World RX Drivers’ Championship, behind Johan Kristoffersson. Larsson qualified for the final on four occasions and took a second place finish. He finished sixth in the Drivers’ Championship
In the FIA European Rallycross Championship JC Raceteknik ran Ben-Philip Gundersen as a permanent driver for the Norwegian’s debut Supercar season. The 2019 RallyX Nordic Supercar Lites champion impressed with his pace and lay fourth in the standings ahead of the third and final round in Germany, a point behind the podium places. Enzo Ide and Mats Öhman also made appearances for the team, Ide racing in the European Championship at Höljes together with Öhman, while the Belgian also raced in World RX in Barcelona. With the cancellation of the final round however, the organisers have been forced to cancel the entire European Championship in 2020 and no champion will be crowned.
Joel Christoffersson, JC Raceteknik & KYB Team JC, Team Principal:
“I started JC Raceteknik in 2014 with a dream to race in the World Championship at some stage, so to already win the Teams’ Championship in the first year of World RX as KYB Team JC is difficult to top. To be World Champions is an amazing feeling. Before the season this was my goal, and to have led from the start only makes it better! Due to Covid-19, the season started late, and although it is of course a shame not to be able to finish and celebrate on site at the Nurburgring, it feels good to be able to tie the knot.
Mattias and Robin have done a fantastic job. I think we have given Johan and Kristoffersson Motorsport a good fight this year – we are the team that challenged them the most. Mattias has done what he can throughout the season and we are really happy with his second place in the Drivers’ Championship. This is the first and probably only time he will race in a full season with us and it has been an honour to have him on the team. Robin has stepped up and shown that the pace he had in the European Championship last year has continued. Unfortunately he was both unlucky and made a couple of mistakes of his own, otherwise I think he would have had a great chance to get top three in the Drivers’ Championship.
I’m very grateful for all of the hard work by everyone in KYB Team JC and JC Raceteknik this season. It has not been an easy year for anyone, and everyone has fought really hard. Also a big thank you to all our partners who lined up despite these tough times, without them we would not have been able to take the World Championship title. Now the whole team will reload and work on trying to find a plan for 2021. Until then: stay safe and look after each other.”
World RX: Mattias Ekström (SWE):
"I got into this season without having a thought of driving rallycross again, and we sit here with the title in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Drivers’ Championship. The only other goal was of course to also win the Drivers' title, but we were simply not fast enough. Everyone knows Johan's capacity and at the same time as his car is very good, but I think we gave both him and the team a good fight. Then Robin has, in my eyes, taken the biggest step and it has been fun to see his maximum level rise.
It has meant a lot to me to compete and have fun again together with JC Raceteknik, driving as a hobby instead of as a factory driver is a huge difference. In Höljes for example I had the coolest rallycross race of my career on Sunday, and then another fantastic Sunday in Riga. Joel [Christoffersson] is at the beginning of his career as team manager and has shown what he stands for. The team took a European Championship title in its first attempt with the Audi S1 last year, and now a Teams’ World Championship and silver medal in the Drivers’ World Championship, in the first year in the World Championship – those are trophies Joel and the team can be happy with.
I think it went better than expected to complete the season despite Coronavirus. We had a little trouble with some things, but that's also part of the rules of the game. It's fun that there are sponsors and companies who are willing to invest even in tougher times, especially since a lot of things have been quite last minute. I am also very proud to see how KYB has developed shock absorbers that can win the World Championship.
A year ago I said that the chance was zero that I would return to rallycross, but I had to jump in and it was full push again. So if I said no a year ago, I must say no again. In 2021, my priority will be Extreme E.”
World RX: Robin Larsson (SWE):
"I'm very happy for Joel that we were able to take the Teams’ Championship. He puts an incredible amount of time and energy into the team, and this was his big goal this season. I also see it as proof that what we all do works. Mattias has been very important to the team and to me too. Being able to race in a full World Championship season with him has made me learn things all the time - with setup, driving on the track and to recharge between races.
My season has gone a bit up and down. In Riga I had very good speed and finished on the podium together with Mattias. Otherwise, I struggled with small errors and problems that cost a lot, while I also made some mistakes. The double-header events have also been difficult and costly if something goes wrong, but it is the same for everyone. I would have liked to have decided the season on site in Germany from a team perspective, where we would have had a battle between us and the Hansen brothers for the title.”
Euro RX: Ben-Philip Gundersen (NOR):
“Going up to Supercar this year was as tough as I had expected. It’s an incredibly cool car to drive and the level is very high. I think the driving has gone well, but it has been a learning process. The starts were a challenge and it has been difficult for me to explain how I want the car to be set up. With that much horsepower, it was almost enough just to control the car on the track. But it feels like I've got more into it during the season as I’ve got more used to the car.
It’s a shame that the European Championship final standings will not be classified, because I had the chance to take a championship podium. But, I hope there will be more opportunities. That JC Raceteknik and KYB Team JC could take World Championship title is well deserved. It is a super group of people that supports each other and gives everything right to the end. Being part of such a team is very fun, and gives me every opportunity to learn and improve as a driver. All credit to the team.”
Championship results 2020
2020 FIA World Rallycross Drivers’ Championship
1. Johan Kristoffersson 219
2. Mattias Ekström 192
3. Timmy Hansen 163
4. Niclas Grönholm 147
5. Kevin Hansen 135
6. Robin Larsson 122
7. Andreas Bakkerud 121
8. Timo Scheider 92
9. Anton Marklund 90
10. Timur Timerzyanov 81
2020 FIA World Rallycross Teams’ Championship
1. KYB Team JC 314
2. Team Hansen 298
3. GRX Taneco 228
4. RX Cartel 150
5. ALL INKL 115
6. UNCORRUPTED 30
2020 FIA European Rallycross Championship
Cancelled due to Covid-19