Not the wind, not the waves, not the weather, not the competition. Nothing could stop Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden clinching a quite incredible 11thwin from 12 races at this weekend’s World RX of South Africa.
Johan and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden being crowned 2018 champions is already history. This weekend’s World Rallycross finale was about the potential for a victory parade and a silver medal for Petter Solberg.
Johan and Petter were, once again, a class above their rivals, locking out the front row of the final. As has been the case all year, Johan then went on and sealed the deal with his 11thwin.
As has been the case all year, Petter ran out of luck. A first-lap incident forced him into retirement. Scant reward for an outstanding effort from the three-time FIA World Champion.
Just 48 hours before signing off on a record-breaking 2018, there was a question mark over whether PSRX Volkswagen Sweden would even make the start of the Q1. The cargo ship transporting the pair of perfect Polo R Supercars was two days late docking due to bad weather. In a dramatic race against time, the team got the cars prepared and on the grid with just hours to spare.
Once there, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden did what PSRX Volkswagen Sweden does: win.
Driver Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 INTER SF F
Johan Kristoffersson 16 1 1 1 1 1 1
Petter Solberg 4 2 4 4 4 1 R
Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) #1
“What can I say? Winning is what we are here for, but this win really means a lot – and I know I said that every time I won a race, but it’s really true! When you come to the last race of the season, it’s really important to go to the winter with a win. We all know you’re only as good as your last result, so to start round one in 2019 off the back of this is nice.
“This team is so special. Everything I have achieved this year has come because of the hard work all of the guys, everybody has put in – all the team in Torsby; everybody in Volkswagen Motorsport in Hannover and, of course, with the great support from Volkswagen Sweden. Talking now, I actually feel really quite emotional – the title has sunk in a little bit and this win is such a nice way to end a fantastic, fantastic season.
“Winning 11 from 12 is really nice – makes me a little bit frustrated about [World RX of] Belgium where [Sébastien] Loeb won – but that 100 per cent record gives us something to work towards next year! I’m just joking… But to make nine wins in nine races is also something special for me; I remember watching Sebastian Vettel winning the last nine races of the 2013 [Formula 1] season and just thinking how incredible that feeling must be, to have so much success in one season.
“And now I did that. Unbelievable. I will never forget this season, it’s such a special one.”
Petter Solberg (NOR) #11
“It was quite a long shot for me to make the silver medal this weekend and in the end it wasn’t possible. That’s kind of the way the season has gone for me.
“I’m really happy that I’ve been able to show such good speed through this weekend. It’s true that the start of the event was a little bit difficult, not having the cars here on time made it quite stressful, but Pernilla and the rest of the team did a fantastic job in getting everything ready in such a quick time.
“It was a bit like a rally from the old days, we had to make everything ready in really quick time – and we have good experience and a lot of success in rallying to help us through this situation.
“I really wanted the win here this weekend. Like Johan says, to go to the winter with the win is a special feeling. Like the rest of my season, it just didn’t work out as I wanted it to. But, I must say, when I think back to the middle of the year, when I was struggling to get fit – I am coming back so much stronger now.
“I want next year to start next week!”
Pernilla Solberg (PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team principal)
“I think it would be fair to say this has been one of the most stressful race weekends we’ve had. Arriving in Cape Town and not knowing when or even if the cars would be coming was a nightmare. All the time we were talking to everybody and all the time looking at the weather; would the weather help us?
“In the end, it did. The team was just incredible to get the cars out of the container and on the track in such a small time. I know PSRX Volkswagen Sweden is the best team in the world – but now I reallyknow this!
“And, when we’ve had a season like this, a season where we have won every race except for one, there was only one way we could say goodbye to 2018 – and that was from the top step of the podium.
“This has been a beautiful year for PSRX, for Monster, Volkswagen Sweden and Volkswagen Motorsport and all of our fantastic partners. I still find it so incredible to believe this team didn’t even exist two years ago – and now we’ve won four titles and 19 out of 24 races.
“I have one thing to say to all the amazing people who have helped us make this incredible story, this history-making story, possible.
1 Johan Kristoffersson 4m12.787s
2 Mattias Ekström 4m15.487s
3 Sébastien Loeb 4m16.382s
4 Kevin Hansen 4m19.017s
5 Petter Solberg DNF
6 Timmy Hansen DNF
Drivers’ championship positions:
1 Kristoffersson 341pts
2 Ekström 248pts
3 Bakkerud 237pts
4 Loeb 229pts
5 Solberg 227pts
6 T Hansen 192pts
Teams’ championship positions:
1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 568pts
2 EKS Audi Sport 485pts
3 Team Peugeot Total 421pts