While Johan Kristoffersson and Joel Christoffersson share surnames that to non-Scandinavians sounds audibly similar, they are not the same. Neither are the two Swede’s roles within the World Rallycross Championship paddock, Kristoffersson a top-flight driver who currently leads the Drivers’ standings, and Christoffersson team principal of KYB Team JC, which currently tops the Teams’ table after the opening double-header of the campaign.
The two do share more similarities than just leading the way in the early part of the 2020 season, though. They are separated in age by 15 months, Kristoffersson the older at 31, and they both grew up in rallycross paddocks around Europe. But, while Kristoffersson is son of as top-flight driver [Tommy] and followed in those footsteps, Christoffersson gave up karting early on, despite showing solid pace, and pursued a career in working as a mechanic, starting by helping Kenneth Hansen Motorsport where he was the ‘broom pilot’ as a teenager, with a long-term goal of owning his own team.
For the time being at least, ahead of the third and fourth rounds in Finland this weekend, 30-year-old Christoffersson is top of the world tables with his team, having worked with teams like Hansen Motorsport, Olsbergs MSE and the Dodge Global Rallycross operation.
What follows below are some extracts from new book Kenneth Hansen | Fourteen, where Christoffersson talks about his time working with the team from just 13-years old, to leaving to work with Olsbergs MSE and later Dodge in America, before returning to help run friend Timmy Hansen’s car in 2013.
“It was horrible. Andreas Eriksson called me at the end of 2009. The season was over and he told me that Ken Block, and I had no idea who Ken Block was so I needed to Google him, wanted to do Rally America with Ford and Andreas. I was into rally and I was interested in working in more sports than just rallycross so I went to Kenneth and told him: ‘I promise I will never do any rallycross events with Andreas, because that would not work.’ But, like always happens in this sport, there’s so much to do and everybody needed to be everywhere at the same time, so I needed to do one race as a mechanic for Andreas in the European Championship. In the end I did two, the rounds in Sweden and Poland. It was really hard to be at the events with a Ford shirt on but I’m really, really happy that I did it, because it’s helped me a lot to be a better mechanic and to get to where I am today. But, it was really, hard to leave Kenneth and it was worse because I understood it hurt Kenneth a lot – he was very angry with me at that time.
We met when Timmy did his very first karting event and we became good friends. I went to some rallycross events with them and because I had the feeling that I wasn’t going to be a Sebastien Loeb, I quit karting. I had a good feeling for the technical side and I really wanted to work on that.
At the end of 2010, I called Kenneth and told him I had quit working for Andreas, but he was like ‘yeah, yeah’, nothing more than that. I told him that if he needed someone I would be interested. I got some work in touring cars, but Kenneth called me and told me that they would do the first race of the season at Lydden Hill with Liam [Doran]. I was very, very happy because I knew Kenneth hadn’t forgiven me, but he understood that I had stopped working for Andreas. I remember Susann saying: ‘It was really hard for Kenneth to call you back.’ But it was good that he turned around because I would never be who I am today without Kenneth.
Later, the option to go to another rallycross team came up again. I called Kenneth and explained that they wanted me to go and work with Dodge in America. I told him I knew Andreas had built the cars, but I was speaking to Dodge, not Andreas. This time Kenneth said: ‘You need to do it, it’s a really good option.’ Then the next thing I knew I was back with Kenneth for a full season in 2013, working with Timmy. Today Kenneth and I are good friends. 2010 was not the best year, but if I hadn’t taken the option to go to Andreas [Eriksson] then I would still be in Gotene working for Kenneth or in my father’s car dealership, so that move gave me the contacts I needed. When I started school I just wanted to be a race mechanic, but when I started to work I wanted to be bigger, a team manager, and where I am today with my own team.”
You can read all about Kenneth Hansen’s career, and the people involved in both his own and his team’s history in the new book, Kenneth Hansen | Fourteen. Click here.« Previous Post Next Post »