17 december 2019  

WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup
Farewell victory: brilliant performance from Volkswagen driver Kristofferson in Sepang

What a finale: a spectacular victory for Johan Kristoffersson (S) marked Volkswagen’s works motorsport departure from the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. At a rainy season finale in Sepang (Malaysia), SLR Volkswagen driver Kristoffersson battled up from 21st on the grid in the third race of the weekend to sensationally claim first place, defending his lead under the floodlights to take the chequered flag. The two-time rallycross world champion underlined his quality on a wet circuit in Sepang, moving up by 19 positions on the first lap. After a safety car phase, Kristoffersson risked everything with his Golf GTI TCR, passing leader Mikel Azcona (E, Cupra) with a great overtaking manoeuvre.

The Swedish driver had already produced a similar piece of skill in wet conditions during the second race, as he reached third place after starting from 22nd, meaning that he reached the podium on two occasions. Kristoffersson also dealt excellently with the conditions in Malaysia in race one, crossing the line in eighth place in his Golf GTI TCR. These superb results at the season finale pushed Kristoffersson up from eleventh place to fifth in the overall drivers’ standings. Three wins this season contributed to a total of 243 points, making him the best-placed Volkswagen driver. Team-mate Rob Huff (GB) secured eleventh place with 211 points and Nürburgring winner Benjamin Leuchter (D) reached 19th position with 111 points. The fourth Volkswagen driver, Medhi Bennani (MA), scored 40 points and finished 25th. The excellent result at the season finale saw SLR Volkswagen move up to fourth place overall in the team standings, with 352 points.

“A great way for us to round off the season,” explained a delighted Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets. “Thanks to the whole team for all the hard work right up to the final lap. Although our departure had already been announced, everyone on the team gave their all and it paid off – there was no better way to say farewell. It is nearly impossible to describe how well Johan Kristoffersson drove today. He proved once again that he is a true champion.”\

“I’m not even sure how that was possible. I am sure that was one of the best races of my life,” revealed a beaming Kristoffersson after his win. “I really went for it and I tried out a few racing lines. The keys to success were a wide track with plenty of room, and a lot of rain. As far as the whole season is concerned – I am very pleased with three overall wins and five podium finishes.”

Chinese Touring Car Championship (CTCC)
Zhang Zhen Dong celebrates title win in the Volkswagen Lamando GTS

The final weekend of the Chinese Touring Car Championship in Wuhan (CN) went exactly to plan for the for the Volkswagen drivers: Chinese driver Zhang Zhen Dong secured the series title in the Volkswagen Lamando GTS, while team-mate Rodolfo Avila (MAC) won the second race on Sunday. The two drivers from the SAIC Volkswagen team produced a great performance throughout the race weekend. Avila moved into first place just after the start of the final race, passing Colin Turkington (GB) who had begun from pole position in the Volkswagen Lamando GTS. He then built up a commanding lead and defended it until he saw the chequered flag. Zhen Dong battled his way through to second place to wrap up the title.

Zhen Dong also finished third in the first race of the final CTCC event to ensure that the podium featured a Volkswagen driver, with Avila just missing out in fourth position. The season has concluded with Zhen Dong as series champion on 177 points, followed by Martin Cao (CN, Kia) with 151 points. Team-mate and Volkswagen driver Avila finished third overall, with 137 points.

French Rally Cup
Podium finish in the French Alps

Outstanding performance on ice and snow: at the French winter rally National Hivernal du Dévoluy, near the town of Gap, Olivier Burri and Fabrice Gordon (CH/F) claimed second place in the overall standings in the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. The duo improved gradually throughout the 130 kilometres of the rally on asphalt and snow, but were unable to get any closer to leaders Grégoire Munster and Louis Luka (F/B, Škoda). Burri/Gordon recorded the fastest time on one of the ten special stages and the Volkswagen team was amongst the three best times on six other stages.