Solberg a stranger to second…
Solberg a stranger to second…
After a troublesome race weekend in Germany last weekend, triple FIA World Champion Solberg was a much happier man after his second podium from three races this season.
For the first time in 721 days or one year, 11 months and 20 days, Petter Solberg’s not leading the FIA World Rallycross Championship. That’s unbelievable. Don’t stress, he’s still second after this weekend’s World RX of Belgium.
“The weekend went well for us,” he said. “In fact, the week went well for us. After Hockenheim, we stayed in Germany to figure out what was wrong with the car. The team worked so hard, but they did that and that’s what’s made this result possible.
“Of course, we always want to win, but take a look at the line-up for the final, it was probably the strongest final ever in World Rallycross. I’m satisfied with the result we have taken. At the start, I could have gone to the outside and gone around [Mattias] Ekstrom, but that’s a risk and I’m trying to avoid them!
“I took the joker straight away and that was good, but then Anton [Marklund] spun right in front of me. I dropped two seconds at least there. Did that cost me second place? Maybe, it would have been a lot closer without his spin, but then again my rear tyres were getting pretty hot by the end of the race. That’s how it is sometimes. Like I said, I’m satisfied. It’s a shame we lost the lead of the championship, but there’s a lot more action left in this season!
“What I’m happy with here in Belgium is the good clean, high-calibre driving we have seen. This is a world championship and it’s been driven like one, last time in Hockenheim, it was a little bit of carnage. I don’t like that so much.
“I did have one problem which the team couldn’t fix from Germany… I think I fractured my left thumb during that meeting. I kept having to have it strapped up and it was so painful at times this weekend. You don’t think so much to it when you are racing, but after the race it was hurting like hell!
“So, now to Lydden. We have a couple of weeks before that race and the job for PSRX is to find the kind of pace we need to stop Ekstrom. Don’t worry, I have a plan.”
The PSRX race weekend
Q1 – 3rd (position in the standings after qualifying one races)
Petter enjoys an interesting early battle with former World Rally Championship colleague and Belgian wildcard Francois Duval before the perfect joker lap and a superb race win.
Q2 – 3rd
A second top three in as many races lands Petter an overnight third place, equal on points with Timur Timerzyanov and Johan Kristoffersson.
Q3 – 3rd
Awesome start gets Petter into the lead at the first corner, before Audi driver Mattias Ekstrom comes back at him and passes him on the exit. Solberg holds an untroubled second place to the finish.
Q4 – 2nd
For once, the absence of the perfect start works a treat for Petter who finds the perfect line up the inside of the first tight right-hander and leads for the rest of the race.
Semi-final – 2nd
Petter’s perfect race: leads from start to finish. No drama. Hello final.
Final – 3rd
Petter gets backed up behind Ekstrom into the first corner and drops to third place. Solberg jokers immediately and then gets held up behind a spinning Anton Marklund.
1 Mattias Ekstrom 3m58.967s
2 Sebastien Loeb 4m01.493s
3 Petter Solberg 4m02.156s
4 Anton Marklund 4m09.835s
5 Francois Duval 4m17.939s
6 Johan Kristofferson DNF
Drivers’ championship positions:
1 Ekstrom 78pts
2 Solberg 73pts
3 Kristoffersson 58pts
4 Loeb 54pts
5 Toomas Heikkinen 46pts
5 Robin Larsson 38pts
Next time out World RX of Britain (May 28/29)
Lydden’s (not London) Calling. Treat for fans of The Clash and their third album – arguably the one where they emerged and became known for more than just punk in 1979. Back to Lydden… well, it’s the home of British rallycross and a fabulously entertaining circuit where Petter won last year.
Want to know more about your FIA World Rallycross Champion?
Per-Espen Lochen PR/Media Manager
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