Johan Kristoffersson capitalized on wet conditions to take a dominant victory in the World Rallycross season opener at Höljes, beating fellow champion Mattias Ekström.
Volkswagen driver Kristoffersson led from start to finish in the six-lap main event, and didn’t face a serious challenge from anyone else in the field.
While Kristoffersson topped qualifying and won his semi-final, giving him pole position for the final, the field was a lot closer than it was last time he competed in World RX, in 2018. However a sudden major downpour minutes before the final played right into his hands.
Kristoffersson rocketed off the line to hold a clear lead into the first corner ahead of Ekström. The gap between the two was 0.9 seconds by the end of the first lap, but Ekstrom was pushing hard to reduce the deficit.
Behind the leading pair, the rest of the field opted to get the joker out of the way early after charging into the first corner together. Timmy Hansen was hit by Anton Marklund going into the longer route. Hansen would later clip a barrier and spin again, resulting in an early retirement for the reigning series champion.
Over the following two laps, at the front of that secondary pack Marklund began to close up to Ekström – who jokered at the midway point to cover off GCK Bilstein drver Marklund.
Kristoffersson meanwhile held off from taking his joker for another two laps, diving into the joker route on lap five of six with a 5.3s lead – a lead he was easily able to keep hold of until the end.
Marklund initially took the last podium spot in third behind Ekström, having only made the final as a result of a post-race penalty for Robin Larsson at the semi-final stage.
However he was slapped with a 30-second penalty post-race for his first lap contact with Hansen, demoting him to fifth and moving Timo Scheider up to third.
Niclas Grönholm, who stalled at the start of the race, was able to finish, albeit in a distant fourth place following the application of Marklund’s penalty.
As well as Larsson, whose own penalty was a three-second endorsement to his semi-final race time for contact with Marklund on the joker merge, Krisztián Szabó and Rokas Baciuška were the other casualties from the first semi-final.
In the second semi, 2019 Höljes winner Sebastian Eriksson, Kevin Hansen, and Timur Timerzyanov all missed out after a hard-fought battle for the final transfer spot.