KYB Team JC continues to lead World RX Teams’ Championship despite difficult weekend in Barcelona
KYB Team JC continues to lead the FIA World Rallycross Championship Teams’ points despite a difficult double-header weekend in Barcelona, Spain.
Swedish drivers Mattias Ekstrom and Robin Larsson delivered some strong race performances in round seven on Saturday, despite battling a number of dramas, including clutch problems for 2016 World RX Champion Ekstrom and a bad jump landing causing an accident in Q2 for double European Rallycross Champion Larsson.
With both drivers stuck in traffic in the final stages of the day, Larsson finished fifth in his semi-final, and Ekstrom was fifth in the final.
Hard overnight work by the EKS-supported team on Saturday improved the pace of the Audi S1s for round eight on Sunday. Ekstrom won two qualifying sessions to take 16 championship points for being top of the Intermediate Classification and start on pole position for the semi-finals. He finished second in semi-final one, and was running in a podium position in the final until a technical problem slowed the Swede. He finished fourth, and remains second in the Drivers’ championship.
Larsson finished just behind Ekstrom in the semi-finals to make the final, then made a brilliant start, but his race ended when he hit another competitor who had been spun at the first corner. Larsson is sixth in the Drivers’ standings.
With two rounds of the season to go in Belgium and Germany, KYB Team JC leads the World RX Teams’ Championship by 16 points.
Also racing in Barcelona was Enzo Ide, for Team JC Raceteknik. In only his second ever World RX weekend, Ide impressed with his pace in the Audi S1 by qualifying for the semi-finals on both days against some of the best rallycross drivers on the planet. Unfortunately, on Saturday he was unable to start the semi due to a technical problem, but on Sunday he finished sixth in semi-final two.
The next round of World RX takes place at Spa Belgium, November 21-22, which will also be the final round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship.
Joel Christoffersson, KYB Team JC and JC Raceteknik Team Principal:
“It’s been a really, really difficult weekend. Saturday was bad for us, we didn’t have the pace at all and it felt like we almost didn’t earn the speed we had. We really had to work hard on Saturday night and did a good job. As we have done every weekend it seems we find something on the night after the first race in these double-headers sadly. We did some good things and found the speed. Mattias was top qualifier and Robin was P7 in the Intermediate on Sunday, but in the semi-finals we lost the pace a bit against Johan Kristoffersson. I feel sad for Robin for what happened in the first corner of the final, and that we had a problem so Mattias didn’t finish on the podium. Team Hansen has done a good job this weekend and caught us a lot in the Teams’ championship, so we really need to re-focus and go to Spa aiming to do some good.
For Enzo, he has been very, very good this weekend, I’m so happy for him. He’s been fighting with the top 12 best drivers in the world in rallycross and to be in the semi-finals in only his second World RX weekend, it’s impressive. Some more practice for him and I think he’ll be even more impressive.”
World RX: Mattias Ekstrom (SWE):
“We came here with the hope of having a good weekend as I like the track and so on, but we struggled quite a lot with starts, with the clutches specially, so that was the main topic of the weekend for Robin and myself. That was for sure not nice and when you’re focusing on a problem, you also reduce the effort to try and work on the setup. I think we came a bit on the back foot on fine-turning the car, and never really got the momentum going. You can only say congratulations to Johan Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen for winning this weekend, they did a better job and we just need to get our heads down, sort out our issues and come back stronger.”
World RX: Robin Larsson (SWE):
“On Saturday we were all struggling a bit, we didn’t find the pace, especially for Mattias who was at the top all day but he couldn’t find the last little bit. That’s the bad thing about a double-header weekend, sometimes it takes a whole race in one day to find the answers. We started Sunday really good but I jumped into a hole in qualifying and got a puncture. In Q3 the clutch was overheating, I think we found every bit of bad luck we could this weekend. The car felt really good, I had a good start in the semi-finals and I was able to be careful for the last three laps, then in the final I had a really good start but I had nowhere to go when the cars came together in front of me. Hopefully we have our bad luck out of the way now.”
World RX: Enzo Ide (BEL):
“I’m really happy to have made the semis this weekend in Barcelona. I’ve learned a lot and the car has been a lot of fun to drive. I need to work more and get more experience in the Supercar, but I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity to drive. Thanks to the team for a lot of hard work, and especially thanks to Joel, Mattias and Robin for all their efforts and support.”