FIA RX South Africa
At the first ever FIA World Rallycross event to be staged on the African continent, this year’s World RX and RX2 International Series champions made history, on Cooper tires, in front of a packed crowd.
Ahead of the season finale, held at Killarney International Raceway in South Africa (10-12 November), both World RX and its feeder series, RX2, had already crowned its 2017 victors. Despite this, Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson and Frenchman Cyril Raymond were determined to demonstrate to the new South African fans their worthiness as champions, winning the final rounds of World RX and RX2 respectively.
Former World RX Champion and EKS driver Mattias Ekstrom finished third on the World RX podium, consequently confirmed as runner-up in the 2017 championship standings after a season-long battle with Petter Solberg. Team Peugeot-Hansen’s Timmy Hansen claimed second place at the World RX of South Africa.
In the final round of the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires, Raymond rounded off a near-perfect season by taking his sixth win in the highly competitive seven-event feeder series.
Great Britain’s Dan Rooke had a troubled final when he rolled his car on lap two, causing the race to be red-flagged. Rooke still, however, secured second in the 2017 RX2 driver standings. Sondre Evjen and Tanner Whitten finished second and third in Cape Town. Belgium’s Guillaume De Ridder claimed third in the end of year leaderboard.
“It’s fantastic to wrap up the teams’ and drivers’ championship and to also take the win at the final round of the season,” grinned 2017 World RX Champion Kristoffersson who won a staggering seven out of 12 events this season for PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. “The team has worked so hard this year and 10 podium results is credit to how fantastic everyone has been. Obviously to break records in World RX is an amazing feeling, but to have won the World Championship is so unbelievably special. Thanks to everyone for such a memorable season – I’m really looking forward to being back with VW in 2018.”
When asked about the new Cape Town RX event, Ekstrom praised the enthusiasm of the South African fans. “The grandstands were full and the atmosphere and support from everyone here was amazing.”
Paul Bellamy, World RX Managing Director for IMG, concluded, “Our first ever event in Cape Town was a resounding success – we’ve had over 27,000 people at Killarney and they were all treated to World Championship motorsport at its best. I think we’ve won over a lot of new support during our time in South Africa and the crowd really helped make this weekend a memorable event. We finish the season on a high, and congratulations to Johan Kristoffersson and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden for their incredible season and to the rest of the teams for their continued support.”
Sarah McRoberts, Marketing Communications Manager, Cooper Tire Europe, said, “Witnessing it first-hand in Cape Town, this year’s World RX season finale has been the best since the championship’s inception four years ago. We are proud to be the sole tire supplier to both World RX and RX2 – congratulations to this year’s champions from all of us at Cooper Tire.”