Hansen Heartbreak as Kristoffersson wins at Spa
Johan Kristoffersson was back on the top step of the podium by the sixth lap 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship at Spa Francorchamps after another heartbreaking finale for Timmy Hansen. A contact at the Radillon hairpin on lap one of the final saw Hansen drop down the order, allowing Kristoffersson to finish unchallenged Kevin Hansen Runner-up and teenage superstar Gustav Bergstrom his first-ever podium in WorldRX.
Timmy Hansen will be devastated; He had consistently displayed a winning pace throughout the day. Both he and Kristoffersson got off to excellent starts in the final, with Hansen narrowly edging out Kristoffersson who had managed to slide off him Volkswagen Polo RX1e to the inside of everyone else. A chain reaction had already started further back. Nicholas Gronholm drifted wide out of turn one and hit the outside wall, causing him to drop back. He therefore charged too quickly into the Radillon hairpin, creating an accordion effect that eventually resulted in Timmy Hansen being spun around and unable to fight for the win. Grönholm received a five-second penalty for the incident, but that will be of little consolation to Hansen, who appeared on the verge of breaking his winning streak in 2022.
Acknowledging that Hansen was unlucky in the race, Kristoffersson said “I feel sorry for Timmy – he was in a winning position in the final and really didn’t deserve it. On the way to the hairpin, a small train came from behind and he was thrown around. It wasn’t his day. It turned out to be my day, but of course it’s a bit bittersweet.”
That CMS Riders make a habit of winning under unexpected circumstances this year. After claiming his traditional first place in Superpole, the four-time World Champion battled for pace in every race leading up to the finale. The Hansen brothers were the ones setting the pace, with Timmy edging out his brother but both winning their respective progression races. That Hansen World RX Team will be happy about Kevin’s second place finish, but ultimately today will be marked as another day of what could have been.
Elsewhere in the field, the third KMS rider was a notable absentee from the finale. Ole Christian Veiby. The Norwegian driver had a day to forget as ongoing problems with the car saw him ruled out of the final for the first time in the new race RX1e Category. In the meantime, CE dealer team had a day to forget. Both drivers were blamed for causing collisions, resulting in a time penalty for Grönholm, and Klara Andersson be disqualified altogether for an incident in the semi-finals. She drifted across the track and caused a collision that claimed both Bergström and his life Rene Munnich.
Andersson’s absence from the final opened the door for Bergstrom. The Swedish sensation has captured the attention of the rallycross world and made his debut at the sport’s highest level this year. Demonstrating consummate professionalism at all times, his consistency and talent were rewarded today with his first-ever WorldRX podium.
Another day of racing awaits us on Sunday and there are scores to be settled. Timmy Hansen is now fourth in the championship after having been second for most of the season so far. He is just one point behind his brother and Veiby, who are tied on 78 points. Timmy will want revenge on today’s result and try to get a little closer to Kristoffersson’s lead, which currently sits at an intimidating 33 points. With only five laps to go, he needs to start making progress now.