Kristoffersson is World RX top qualifier again at Kouvola

VW driver tops Q1 and Q3 to be lead man heading into afternoon


Johan Kristoffersson survived a scare in Q2 to continue his run of top qualifier performances in 2020 in the fourth World Rallycross Championship round at Kouvola.

After dominating Q1 in typical fashion, the Volkswagen privateer briefly slowed with what appeared to be a misfire.

He quickly recovered though, and negated the wet conditions that had arrived by Q3 to scoop his fourth TQ performance in as many rounds.

Niclas Grönholm, who had a solid morning with two heat wins – including one by a comfortable margin in Q3 – finished the morning second overall. After winning Q2 outright, the Hyundai driver went into the final round with a shot at taking overall honors, but despite the win on the road, his four-lap cumulative time wasn’t enough to better Kristoffersson.

Grönholm beat Mattias Ekström on the road in that final Q3 heat, and it was the 2016 champion who ended the morning third after taking two heat wins and a best round result of third in Q1.

He beat Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud, who, in a call back to their controversial 2019 title decider in South Africa, had a coming together on the final lap of the first Q2 heat.


Fellow 2019 contender Kevin Hansen ended the morning sixth, ahead of local wildcard Juha Rytkönen who once again impressed with two heat wins and consistent top-seven times.

Timo Scheider was eighth fastest, ahead of Romin Larsson and Timur Timerzyanov, while Anton Marklund and Jere Kalliokoski took the final two transfer spots for the semifinals.

For Marklund, the result came after an overnight engine change following his retirement at from the round three semis.

His GCK stablemates Kevin Abbring and Liam Doran narrowly missed out on a semifinal berth after yet another day of mixed fortunes.

Despite some strong starts, Abbring ultimately lacked pace throughout qualifying, while Doran started the day using dry tires on a damp track, then in Q2 minor contact resulted in him losing a wheel while leading.

The Brit enjoyed a huge resurgence in Q3 to dominate his heat, but fifth place in the round overall as a result of his time wasn’t enough, and he missed out by a mere five points in the qualifying standings.