European Rallycross

Puncture Ruins Solberg’s Weekend

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Petter Solberg looked set for a strong result at Nyirad before a puncture during the semi-final ended any hopes of his first FIA European Rallycross Championship victory.

Solberg was the fastest driver in practice and won his group in heat four as he continued to show strong pace in the Petter Solberg RX Team Citroen DS3. However, he battled engine issues throughout the weekend, meaning his strong times weren’t consistent.

In his third heat, Solberg last all power just after the start, stopping on the track and dropping him to the bottom of the field. Despite the mishap, he got the car going again and battled his way back to finish just 7.8 seconds behind the winner.

After a very strong fourth heat, Solberg found himself on the second row for the semi-final, and a less-than perfect start meant he had to fight his way back up the field once again. Solberg was holding second, after the leader took their joker lap, when his front-right tyre picked up a puncture on lap three, ending any hope of a place in the final.

“First of all I have to say how much I enjoyed being in Hungary and meeting all the great fans there,” said Solberg “Although we worked so hard throughout the weekend, it was clear that the engine problem we had was not going to be something that we could fix in a hurry. Still, we found some ways to work around it: I wasn’t using fifth gear for example. And even so, we managed to be fast, which is fantastic! If we had found a bit more luck, we would have been a different story I think, but that’s part of the game and that’s why this sport is so tough.

“These experiences don’t put us off at all: instead they just make us more determined to come back even stronger at the next round. Between now and then, we’ve got a lot of work ahead to get everything sorted, but our car is still really new, we’ve had to do everything ourselves and this is simply how you do development.”

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Based in Mid-Wales, James joined TCF at the start of the 2013 season, covering a range of disciplines, predominantly Motorcycle Road Racing and NASCAR. Follow him on Twitter @JCCharman
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