History was made in Hong Kong,as the first ever FIA World Rallycross Championship event took place in the middle of one of the world’s greatest cities – with Johan Kristoffersson and Kevin Hansen marking the occasion in style by respectively claiming a sixth world title and scoring victory in the first all-electric World RX race to be held on a street circuit.
In a stunning setting sandwiched between Hong Kong’s iconic downtown skyscrapers and the waters of Victoria Harbour, the World RX superstars put on a sensational show around the Central Harbourfront Circuit in front of thousands of fans.
Hansen delivered the most impressive performance of all, as the Swede battled back from a tough start to the day – picking up a puncture right at the beginning of qualifying practice – to top the table at the end of the heat races and then dominate both his semi-final and the all-important final.
The result marked his third World RX victory – with his maximum score strengthening his grip on second position in the championship standings.
“This is just mega!” said the Hansen World RX Team ace.
“I’ve been so excited to come to Hong Kong for so long. I was really pushing for this event to happen and to finally be here in such a spectacular location is absolutely incredible!
“The crowd has been simply amazing – we could really feel the fans cheering us on – and the track has been challenging but super fun to drive. No two laps were the same so it was essential to stay laser-focussed, but that’s what rallycross should be all about.
“The final was a great race and I would say this is my best win so far. The Hansen team is back on top! Now we need to reload for tomorrow and try to do it all over again.”
Hansen was challenged throughout the final by Kristoffersson, until the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS driver’s ZEROID X1 car stopped on-track on the last lap – although by that point, the title was already in the bag.
Kristoffersson’s misfortune elevated CE Dealer Team by Volvo Construction Equipment’s Niclas Grönholm to second place, after the Finn – who set the pace in heat two – prevailed in a tight three-way tussle with Ole Christian Veiby and Timo Scheider.
The order was shuffled on the last lap of the final as Grönholm fought his way past his Norwegian rival, with Scheider similarly leapfrogging Veiby once all the joker strategies had played out – extending the German’s stellar recent run of podium finishes.
Veiby ended up fourth ahead of Klara Andersson in the second CE Dealer Team car, with Kristoffersson ultimately classified sixth.
The action continues with a full day of racing on the streets of Hong Kong to bring down the curtain on the 2023 World RX campaign.
FINAL RESULT: WORLD RX
1. Kevin HANSEN (SWE) Hansen World RX Team….5 laps
2. Niclas GRÖNHOLM (FIN) CE Dealer Team….+ 2.290s
3. Timo SCHEIDER (DEU) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport….+ 3.276s
4. Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS….+ 4.818s
5. Klara ANDERSSON (SWE) CE Dealer Team….+ 6.526s
6. Johan KRISTOFFERSSON (SWE) Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS….+ 21.893s