Petter Solberg had a mixed opening day of the 2014 FIA World Rallycross Championship season in Montelegre, Portugal as he took second place in the opening heat, just behind reigning European Rallycross Champion Timur Timerzyanov.
After heading the opening practice and taking second place in the first heat Solberg was confident as they went in to the second heat, unfortunately for the 2003 World Rally champion things wouldn’t go to plan as he clashed with the race one winner heading in to the first corner.
The contact would be enough to force Solberg out of the race being left to rue what could have been. “I was disappointed about the incident with Timerzyanov but I am not going to dwell on it: these things happen and it’s all part of the sport. For me, the really positive thing is that we are up there and fighting to win: which is why we are here this year.” said Solberg.
Timerzyanov was initially disqualified from the event but after an appeal the punishment was downgraded to a warning for the Hansen Peugeot driver. Solberg would end the day in tenth place and a broken throttle cable but remained confident with the potential for the second day.
“I feel very confident in the car and our possibilities for this weekend. We have just had two heats so far and there is a long way to go. I know we can push hard and I’d like to thank my team for doing such a great job and the Portuguese fans for their support: it’s always such a pleasure to come here.”
Team-mate Alexander Hvaal rounded out the day in seventh place after suffering a few issues with his starts and taking the opening day steady while he gets used to the new car.“There are a lot of new things on this car for me to get used to,” he pointed out. “The most important thing is to be consistent and try to get a good haul of points every time. It’s been a solid start, but the real work comes tomorrow.”