Kristoffersson claims maiden podium for EKS JC in World RX Barcelona opener
The 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship got underway with a bang at Barcelona in Spain, where KYB EKS JC’s Johan Kristoffersson set the pace throughout the weekend and claimed a podium in his first start for the team, despite a non-score in the opening qualifying session.
Triple World RX Champion Kristoffersson set the fastest time in the first free practice session of the year and then won both Q1 and Q2 on Friday evening. However, a problem with a cable connecting the FIA data logger to the car gave the Swede a penalty for the Q1 race, leaving him down in 15th overnight.
Kristoffersson battled back on Saturday with another pair of fastest times, climbing to sixth overall to secure a second row start for the semi-finals. Second place in the semis was followed by a battle for race victory in the final, and Kristoffersson finished third. He lies third in the Drivers’ standings, nine points off the lead.
In the team’s second Audi S1 RX1, racing in his first full World RX season, Belgian driver Enzo Ide set fast pace and featured well, winning a race during the qualifying phase of the event. However, a crash in Q4 meant that even though he made it onto the semi-final grid, he retired from the race. Ide is tenth in the Drivers’ points after round one, while KYB EKS JC is third in the Teams’ Championship.
The next round of World RX will be held at Höljes, Sweden on August 20-22.
Joel Christoffersson, KYB EKS JC Team Principal:
“A third place was not what we wanted considering the speed we had all weekend. But after what happened in Q1, we can be very happy. Johan was unstoppable on track in qualifying and it feels very sad not to fight for the victory in the way we wanted. Even if what happened wasn’t our fault, we are of course responsible and must take the consequences. It feels really good to have shown the speed like this in the season-opener and Johan is feeling more and more at home in the car. Now we have some stuff to perfect, and will be ready to fight on in Höljes.
Enzo had good speed and set several fast times. He had a huge crash in Q4 and the mechanics did a great job to fix the car for the semis, but unfortunately something went wrong in the due to the damage from the crash. The semi-final was his goal this weekend, so we have to be happy with that. Both Johan and Enzo have shown that they are fast, and the whole team really can’t wait for the next race in Höljes.”
Johan Kristoffersson (SWE):
“I had a big fight back after the penalty, but we were the fastest in all qualifying rounds and set the fastest lap time in the final. The team has worked really hard and the car has been a dream to drive. Unfortunately, we could not finish on top this time, but we had great pace and I really enjoyed driving the Audi.
Now we just have to keep pushing. Even if you are fast on the track, there is a lot that can happen in rallycross, as we have seen. This was the first round and even though we were very fast here, it’s important to continue working on every detail and always develop. Things change quickly and I need more time in the car to work with the team to find exactly the right setup for all conditions. But, I already know that the car's performance is very, very good and we look forward to Höljes.”
Enzo Ide (BEL):
"It hasn’t been an easy event for me. I had some technical problems in Q1 and Q2, which the team fixed for Q3. Then in Q4, I crashed out, hard. I drove a little too aggressively, charged too hard over the jump and something in the car broke. The guys did an incredible job to fix big damage at the front of the car to enable me to start the semi-finals, but after a few laps the car lost power and I had to stop.
Overall I'm happy with the speed, but I'm still struggling to put all the pieces together. It’s difficult to compare with Johan, he is, in my opinion, the best rallycross driver we have ever seen and puts all the details together, always. Having him as a team mate is a dream come true. Even though it was his first race in the car, he is incredibly fast, and he helps me develop and feel more comfortable in the car."