PSRX Volkswagen Sweden… simply the best in Lohéac
With four corners of the World RX of France weekend remaining, Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg were running fourth and fifth. Good. But, let’s be honest, not great.
Then the Volkswagen Polo R Supercar pair duo sprinkled some PSRX Volkswagen Sweden magic dust on the Circuit de Lohéac. With two corners remaining, they were first and third.
Two corners later, the top and bottom step of the podium belonged to Johan and Petter.
They were brilliant.
And so was the weekend. Once again, France’s round of the championship delivered glorious sunshine and more fans than anywhere else. More than 80,000 turned out to watch Johan win in Lohéac for the third year in succession. In doing so, the reigning champion moved 59 points clear of his nearest rival and the dynamite double podium combination of Johan and Petter ensured PSRX Volkswagen Sweden moved even further clear in pursuit of back-to-back teams’ titles.
No wonder Brittany fears the force that is Johan and Petter.
Driver Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 INTER SF F
Johan Kristoffersson 1 2 1 1 1 3 1
Petter Solberg 3 7 9 2 4 5 3
Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) #1
“I love this place. The fans are so special here. We know they are all cheering like crazy for Sébastien [Loeb] and they want him to win, but the respect and the good feeling they give to me is so nice. I want to thank them.
“And I want to thank the team. This was an incredible result, one we all worked so hard for. But, I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure it was coming when we went to the last lap in the final – I didn’t know what was going to happen.
“My semi-final was OK, but the launch off the line wasn’t so super-good. I had saved my tyres for the final, but then I was a little bit worried because if you are in the middle of the pack then you can’t always use that advantage with the tyre. I took the joker early and came out just ahead of Petter – that was really a close one!
“And then me and Petter we just waited. Will they go this time? I didn’t know, I just didn’t know who was going when. I was behind Timmy [Hansen] and thinking: “Will he go? Is he going?” And, you know, you are trying to be ready for him to turn sharp to the right to take the joker. A couple of times he made the car in the position that he’s going to turn, but then didn’t. You can’t really commit to the corner completely in case he turns to joker and you will hit him. So many laps, I was losing time like this.
“But then they went. My spotter (father Tommy Kristoffersson) was shouting at me: “Go, go, go!” I went like crazy, pushed so hard and we did it.
“Incredible. Like I said, I want to thank the team and Petter, at times I didn’t think this one was possible and that makes this result more special.
“For the seven wins in a season and equaling the record, sure that’s nice – but the job isn’t finished yet.”
Petter Solberg (NOR) #11
“I am very happy for this result. You know me, I am wanting to win all of the time and I really wanted to win here, but this was a tough race weekend. The other cars had a lot of pace and it wasn’t easy for us out there. Some of the qualifying was not so nice, a bit of traffic coming and it was a bit frustrating at times, but you have to stay calm, stick with the plan and come to the semi-finals and the final.
“The semi wasn’t so good, but everything is possible in the last race. There was lot of movement from the cars ahead of me in the second corner of the final, I was looking to find a chance, but in the end the joker was the right decision. I got in there and pushed like hell, when Johan came out of his joker, we were so close. Then, like Johan said, we were just waiting to see what would they do.
“When the chance came, we were ready. I was absolutely on the limit in those last four corners when the top three went to the joker. To make two cars to the podium is a fantastic result for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden and the Polo R Supercar.
“One thing I have to say, actually two things… the first is to thank the fans here in France; they were fantastic again. The second is to say how good it was to have such clean racing here. There was some contact in some corners, but it was clean, sensible contact and incredible racing.”
Pernilla Solberg (PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team principal)
“At PSRX Volkswagen Sweden, we plan for everything. Everything. But going from P4 and five to P1 and three in two corners – that’s not something we planned!
“As much as we all love to come to Lohéac, it’s a lovely place with so, so many great fans, it’s a hard weekend for racing. When the weather is hot, the track is quite abrasive – it gives great grip, but you have to manage the tyres and look after everything. We work hard with the strategy, but the time when the team really comes together is when the plan is starting to fall down and you have to make a new plan very, very quickly. That’s what we did during the final. All the time we were talking with the drivers, talking through what was possible – they were both so ready when the Audis and [Timmy] Hansen went to the joker.
“We had an opportunity and we made sure the boys were both in the perfect position to make the most of that opportunity.
“But still, to see Johan taking the win and Petter third from where we were is… well, I don’t think I have the words. That was so emotional, so fantastic and so absolutely brilliant for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden, for Volkswagen Motorsport and for everybody supporting this amazing team.
“Yesterday was tough, qualifying wasn’t so nice all the time; Petter had some traffic, Johan stalled on the line in Q2. It was tough. But the mark of a strong team is to come through that and still win.
“I am so proud of everybody this weekend.”
Volkswagen R performance fact of the weekend:
During the race, the exhaust is 1000 degrees (Celsius) which is the same temperature as volcanic lava.
1 Johan Kristoffersson 3m44.787s
2 Andreas Bakkerud 3m45.127s
3 Petter Solberg 3m45.571s
4 Mattias Ekström 3m45.945s
5 Kevin Hansen 3m46.210s
6 Sébastien Loeb 3m46.362s
Drivers’ championship positions:
1 Kristoffersson 224pts
2 Bakkerud 165pts
3 Solberg 160pts
4 Hansen 158pts
5 Ekström 157pts
6 Loeb 151pts
Teams’ championship positions:
1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 384pts
2 EKS Audi Sport 322pts
3 Team Peugeot Total 309pts