Petter Solberg, winner of FIA World Rallycross Championship round 1 had a mixed opening day as the series headed to English shores and to the Kent circuit of Lydden Hill. Typical English weather prevailed and a mixture of rain and sun came to the circuit throughout the day.
Heat 1 wasn’t Solberg’s finest moment as he failed to see the five-second board before the start, meaning he was caught off-guard as the race got under way. With the surprise of the start Solberg stalled as the field blasted in to the first corner. Solberg would finish the first heat second but was left ruing what could have been.
“I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t see the board,” said ‘Hollywood’. “So the start took me by surprise and I had to fight back from last. There was nothing wrong with the car; it was just my misunderstanding. It was irritating, because looking at our pace, I think we had a good chance of winning the heat.”
The second heat would see Solberg return to form as he blitzed the field and took the fastest time of the heat.
“I could have been four or five seconds quicker but I didn’t want to take any risks at all because of the chance of getting a puncture,” said Solberg. “It was so rough that I just wanted to be sure of getting to the finish.”
Solberg ends day 1 just six points behind leader Anton Bakkerud and heads in to the evening with a few things on his mind for tomorrow, “I’m going to make the car a little bit softer: it looks quite soft already but we could do with a bit more traction,”
“We won in Portugal and I can tell you: I have every confidence that we can do this again. It doesn’t matter if it rains or not; this is just England!”
Solberg’s team-mate Alexander Hvaal suffered at the hands of the English weather conditions to finish the day down in 22nd place.
“Every time we went out when it was wet, we had a dry set-up, and every time we went out when it was dry, we were on a wet set-up…it was just really unlucky,” he said. “But tomorrow is another long day: there is still plenty to come.”