The FIA World Rallycross Championship served up a memorable maiden event at Silverstone this past weekend (May 25/26/27) as Johan Kristoffersson clinched victory in front of thousands of adrenaline-fuelled British fans.
Having previously competed at Lydden Hill when the championship hit UK soil in recent years, the fourth event of the season for the series was the first to be staged at the Northamptonshire-based venue – and it didn’t disappoint.
Taking centre stage as part of the Speedmachine Festival, the FIA World Rallycross Championship provided unmissable viewing as fans soaked up the on and off track action.
Away from the racing, street food and drink gave plenty the opportunity to refuel whilst live music performances from Dizzee Rascal and Razorlight, to name just a few, further added to the spectacle in the evening.
In addition; manufacturer test drives, markets stalls, eSports, demonstrations, passenger laps in drift cars and pit stop challenges were all there too.
On Saturday, searing temperatures saw a host of high-octane encounters wow the bumper crowd. The first round of qualifying heats saw wins go the way of Kristoffersson, Andreas Bakkerud, Petter Solberg, Kevin Hansen and Mattias Ekstrom; however Solberg emerged as the man to beat after setting the fastest time overall in his Volkswagen Polo.
The second block of qualifying heats saw Anton Marklund, Robin Larsson, Jerome Grosset-Janin, Timmy Hansen and Ekstrom take the wins on track, with Hansen setting the fastest time. That therefore left former champion Solberg as the overnight points leader.
Thunderstorms overnight ensured that track conditions were dramatically different from the day before, subsequently improving as each session passed.
Kicking off the third round of qualifying saw British fans treated to some home hero glory as Albatec Racing’s Mark Higgins powered his Peugeot 208 to victory. There were more cheers in the second race of the day as Andrew Jordan made it two British wins on the bounce, piloting his Ford Fiesta to the chequered flag.
Larsson, Kristoffersson and Timmy Hansen won the remaining races in the qualifying block, with reigning champion Kristoffersson notching the fastest time.
In truth, the rest of the day belonged to Kristoffersson as he was in irresistible form, winning his race in the final set of qualifying races and again topping the timesheets.
Kristoffersson was the victor of his semi-final, bringing Bakkerud and Kevin Hansen along with him. The second semi-final saw Loeb, Ekstrom and Niclas Gronholm make their way to the final which Kristoffersson dually dominated to take his third win of the season, extending his lead in the overall standings as well. Bakkerud and Loeb rounded off the podium.
In the RX2 class, Sweden’s Oliver Eriksson was the winner whilst Tanner Foust took the spoils in the opening round of the Americas Rallycross Championship.