Kristoffersson "highly unlikely" to defend World RX title
FIA World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson says it is “highly unlikely” that he will defend his back-to-back driver’s crowns in the series next season.
Kristofferson has been left without a drive following Petter Solberg’s PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team’s departure from World RX.
He is weighing up circuit racing and rallying options for 2019, but is keen to return to rallycross in the future.
“For sure I’m very disappointed that we cannot continue because for me it’s been two amazing years with great success,” the 30-year old Swede told Motorsport.com.
“Since day one I’ve felt really comfortable and really welcome in PSRX, it’s been a really nice journey and I really enjoyed every single minute. It’s something that I will remember for the rest of my life but I 100 percent understand the decision.”
Kristoffersson won a staggering 11 of the 12 World RX rounds driving Volkswagen Motorsport’s WRC-derived Polo Supercar this year. His current contract with Solberg’s team comes to an end this month.
PSRX announced that it would sit out the 2019 season on Friday, citing a lack of competition following the departure of Peugeot’s works effort and Mattias Ekstrom’s Audi-backed EKS team.
On the same day, Kristoffersson is believed to have tested a WTCR Volkswagen Golf at Portimao.
A source told Motorsport.com that the reigning STCC champion attended the Portuguese test and ran at comparable pace to British driver Rob Huff.
“I’m not closing any doors 100 percent, but I highly unlikely see myself in another rallycross team for 2019. We will see what happens,” said Kristoffersson.
“For me scanning the market, the closest I’m looking at is within the Volkswagen family, I have been there since 2008 so that’s quite natural to look there and see what opportunities I have.”
Kristoffersson won the STCC title with his father’s team this season and is also set to drive a new Polo R5 for the squad in rallying this winter.
He will debut the car before the end of the year, and is working on plans to compete on Rally Sweden in February.
“There is still evaluation going on about what happens with STCC for Kristoffersson Motorsport next year, so for sure there is testing going on," he added. "Also within Volkswagen there are TCR cars running in the WTCR, but for the next couple of weeks rally will be my focus.”
The Swede says he is keen to return to rallycross, especially if the proposed electric switch in 2021 comes off.
“If they are able to push through electric and there will be manufacturer teams running in 2021, I will most likely be there,” he said.
“There will be a big, big difference between the 2018 and 2019 seasons in rallycross, next year it looks like it will be less manufacturers involved, but I don’t think that the announcement from Volkswagen’s side is decreasing the possibilities for an electric future in rallycross.”
The dominant force of World RX for the last two years, Kristoffersson believes that even if Peugeot and Audi had remained in the series, the PSRX squad would have held a strong hand with the Polo.
“I was already very disappointed when Peugeot pulled out, they had great performance this year so it was very disappointing because I want to compete against the best,” he said.
“For sure Volkswagen Motorsport and PSRX was a very, very strong package and we just kept being stronger with the materials we had. I think we would have been extremely strong in the 2019 season, no matter what the other teams and manufacturers are there.”
Johan Kristoffersson, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden
Photo by: FIA World Rallycross
Top Stories of 2018, #17: Rallycross's growth halted by crisis
Ostberg weighing up partial World RX programme after test