Have you heard the story about a team that didn’t exist two years ago, yet claimed, given a chance, they could spin their way to gold? Fanciful, in the extreme.
But they got their chance. Granted, they weren’t locked in a tower, but they did come up with the goods with an outstanding 10th win from 11 races for Johan.
In Buxtehude, the fairytale capital of the world, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden delivered a real-time fairytale, clinching its second consecutive FIA World Rallycross teams’ title. Petter Solberg’s Torsby-based team has faced down some of the fiercest competition in the history of rallycross to rule the world for a second year running.
But it wasn’t easy. World RX of Germany had a sting in its tail. Or should that be tale.
Either way, when PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s world rumbles, it still wins. In fact, we could call this story… Rumblestillwin**
Driver Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 INTER SF F
Johan Kristoffersson 2 1 6 3 1 3 1
Petter Solberg 1 3 5 8 5 1 2
Pernilla Solberg (PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team principal)
“This is what we work towards. This is the dream. When we won the teams’ championship last year, it was such an amazing achievement when you think we had only been in operation for 10 months.
“This time, I think we all knew the season was going to be even tougher. OK, we had some more time before round one, but now we had this really big target painted on all of our backs – we were the ones everybody wanted to beat. It’s definitely a little bit easier being the hunters rather than the hunted.
“I remember so well at the Silverstone test at the start of the year, we were a little bit stressed. Some of the other cars were coming so quickly and everybody was talking about the others teams with their faster cars and fancy parts; we had to find some more speed. Volkswagen Motorsport delivered a fast and completely fantastic race car in the Polo R Supercar. And PSRX Volkswagen Sweden delivered the team and the drivers to make good with that car. This year really has been the dream, to win 10 races for Johan is something just unbelievable. This team has pulled together and worked as one – everybody who wears the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden shirt is part of this incredible story and we thank them all.
“Now we want to end the story in the best possible way with a win in South Africa next month and then we start to think about next season and how we can try to improve on an already brilliant 2018!”
Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) #1
“I can tell you now, the view from the top step of the podium in Buxtehude is a good one!
“At times this weekend I was thinking: “It’s Buxtehude again, I’m still not going to make the podium!” It was a tough weekend. Some of the qualifying races were really hard with the traffic and some interesting lines into the first corner!
“But I did it. It was a shame that Petter and I were in the same semi-final, but we both made it through and going into that first corner after I came from the joker lap was a little bit like syncronised sliding – that was really good fun.
“The final worked well, but I’m really sorry for Petter. You know last time out in Texas, he was the super-quick guy and he was really on it here again. I think we’re going to see Petter evenmore determined in South Africa.
“For me, this sport and this championship’s not about numbers. Winning 10 races is nice, but that’s something to look back on when I’m old and have grandchildren on my knee to tell them the story about when Grampa was a fast driver!
What’s important here and now is the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team story. There are so many people who work so hard behind the scenes and today is for them. To win one FIA world title as a team is an amazing achievement, but to win two in the way we have done is a mark of a group of people who truly are the best in the world. I want to thank you all!”
Petter Solberg (NOR) #11
“World champions again! That’s a fantastic thing to say today. We came here with one goal and one objective and we did it. I’m so happy for my team, for Volkswagen Motorsport, for Volkswagen Sweden and all of the partners and sponsors – we achieved this together guys.
“On a personal level, I’m so happy that I continued to pick up my speed from Texas. I feel much better now back now and what happened in the final, when I retired with a technical issue, it’s disappointing, but it doesn’t stop me knowing I have the speed and the fight to be at the front. That’s so important to me.
“Now, we have to celebrate four titles in two years – that’s unbelievable when you think about where we were, with no team and no car just 22 months ago! I am so, so proud of what PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has done.
“For me, I’m going back to rallying next week. I drive the Polo GTI R5 for Volkswagen Motorsport at Rally de Esapaña in Tarragona. I go there to enjoy my first rally in six years with no pressure and no expectations. After that, it’s south to Cape Town for the last race of the season… and I want that one. I really want that win!”
Volkswagen R performance fact:
Just 12 per cent of the lap at Buxtehude is full throttle. So, for 88 per cent of the lap, 600 horses are under the control of the drivers right foot.
First event: World RX of Barcelona 01.04.17
First victory: World RX of Belgium 14.05.17
One-two finishes: 3
Finals made: 39
Points scored: 855
1 Johan Kristoffersson 3m33.568s
2 Mattias Ekström 3m35.417s
3 Andreas Bakkerud 3m36.650s
4 Niclas Grönholm 3m38.598s
5 Petter Solberg DNF
6 Kevin Hansen DNF
Drivers’ championship positions:
1 Kristoffersson 311pts
2 Ekström 228pts
3 Bakkerud 224pts
4 Solberg 221pts
5 Loeb 205pts
6 T Hansen 177pts
Teams’ championship positions:
1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden 532pts
2 EKS Audi Sport 452pts
3 Team Peugeot Total 382pts
*subject to confirmation from the FIA
**Apologies to the Brothers Grimm of any of their fabulous fairytale has been taken out of context