Solberg: “I saw an opportunity, I went for it, but it didn’t work out”

Petter Solberg chased by Andreas Bakkerud

Petter Solberg was left ruing what could have been at Lydden Hill race circuit in Kent after a mixed second day which saw him finish the final in last place.

Heading in to the day Solberg was classified as fourth overall and headed in to the third heat with high hopes; four laps later he crossed the line ahead of Tanner Foust at the front of the pack, the only problem was that due to a radio malfunction and a mix up with the lap counter at the side of the circuit both drivers had failed to take their joker laps, thus resulting in a 30 second penalty.

“I was meaning to do it on the last lap but I was confused by the lap counter on the finish line. So when I went to do the joker lap, it was too late: the heat was actually over!” he explained.

“The same thing happened to Tanner Foust, rallycross is so intense that it’s actually surprisingly easy for something like that to happen.”

Petter Solberg vents his frustration with the officials in heat 3
Petter Solberg vents his frustration with the officials in heat 3

Solberg was going to make no mistakes in the fourth heat and he took that in dominant fashion to make it through to the semi finals as he took his sixth win from 12 races. The semi finals went ok but a technical issue meant Solberg was unable to challenge for the lead, thankfully for the rally legend he finished third place, enough to secure a place in the final.

All seemed to be going ok for the start of the final, despite Robin Larsson getting the holeshot and leading the first lap it looked like Solberg would be on for a strong finish, this came to a quick end on the second lap when he took his joker lap.

Rejoining the circuit from the joker, Solberg was door-to-door with Tanner Foust and as they headed in to Devil’s Elbow the two collided under braking, the resulting impact saw Solberg shoot off in to the gravel trap and drop down to sixth and final place. While ‘Hollywood’ made it out of the gravel all was lost and he would finish the race in the final position.

“You have to try,” said Solberg, “So when I saw an opportunity I went for it, but it didn’t work out. It was just one of those things. We had the speed to win this weekend, but because of a few small problems and some mistakes from me as well, we missed that chance.

“But while I’m disappointed with the result here, I’m actually feeling very happy if you look at the bigger picture. The car is quick, competitive and generally reliable. Next up is our home round in Norway so of course I’m really looking forward to that.”

Jos Jansen and the incoming Alexander Hvaal
Jos Jansen and the incoming Alexander Hvaal

It was a character building weekend for team-mate Alexander Hvaal who was caught out by the changing English weather conditions as he searched for the perfect set up. Despite not making it past the heats he was happy with the progress he did manage.

“This car is very different from the cars I have driven before, so there is a big learning process involved,” said Hvaal. “But with Petter as my teacher, I’m feeling more confident and having new ideas all the time.”