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Andersson relishes Hong Kong’s rallycross debut – ‘you could end up in the wall’

Klara Andersson has hailed Hong Kong’s suitability as a venue for rallycross as the World Championship comes to the city – and the region – for the first time on Saturday.

The Swedish driver is relishing the prospect of taking on the brand new Central Harbourfront track, which will provide the stage for the final races of the season and the first ever on a street circuit.

One of two women who will be on the city’s track this weekend alongside debutant Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, she predicts the narrow circuit could set up an action-packed day and is already expressing her desire to return to the Far East in future, even before the races begin.

“I think this place is perfect for rallycross,” the 23-year-old said. “It’s a sport [in which] we just need a small space to build a track. And then [we can] visit new places, visit new fans and really share the beauty of rallycross.

(L-R) World RX drivers Timo Scheider, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Kevin Hansen and Klara Andersson attended a press conference ahead of the FIA World Rallycross event this weekend in Hong Kong, at Central Harbourfront Event Space. 10NOV23 SCMP/Yik Yeung-man

“I think it’s the perfect combination to visit cities like this and I would love to visit more in Asia.”

Racing in her second WRX season, Andersson is expecting thrills and spills to be produced, having run the rule over the Hong Kong track.

“It’s a city track, so it’s narrow with a lot of walls, so you really need to focus 100 per cent,” she said. “It looks quite technical and that’s what I like.

“I think that’s my strength since coming from karting when I was younger, but also really fun that we have some gravel, so you can slide a bit.

“The joker lap looks very narrow and tight and with a lot of corners, too. You really need to position the car and if you go in too fast, I think you could end up in the wall. I think overall on this track it’s challenging, but that’s also what we like.”

She will be going after the second podium finish of her career, having last done so in Portugal in September last year

“As a new track for everyone, it’s really [important] to use the time that you get out on the track,” she said. “It’s not so many laps before you need to really fight for the points. So we will use all the races that we have and do the best out of it and try to be really focused.”

With a massive 36-point lead, and only a maximum of 46 up for grabs in Hong Kong, outright leader Johan Kristoffersson only needs to reach the podium in one of the two weekend races to claim the crown for a record-extending sixth time.

Staff make final preparations for tomorrow’s FIA World Rallycross event, Central Harbourfront Event Space, 10NOV23 SCMP/ Dickson Lee

Seeking his fourth crown in a row, he is taking nothing for granted, however, knowing any mistakes are likely to be punished around the tight, wall-lined 1.225km circuit built around the city centre.

“Of course, it can happen that you make a mistake and it has more severe consequences when it is on a street circuit, but that’s the same for everyone,” Kristoffersson said. “Being a double-header, there are a lot of points up for grabs, so I think it’s very important for me to try to stay out of trouble.

“That being said, we’ve seen many times in championship fights that if you’re too cautious on day one, it can lead to problems on day two as well, but I’ll just do my best as usual and let’s see how it goes.”

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