2014 FIA World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg had a fight on his hands at Mettet in Belgium last weekend, taking his SDRX Citroen DS3 to second place after a stunning fightback during the Semi-Finals.
After finishing second in heat one behind EKSRX driver Mattias Ekstrom, the Norwegian finished Day One tied on points with Ekstrom but leading the overnight standings. After dropping to 11th place overall in heat three, he fought back to finish heat four second behind Portugal winner Johan Kristoffersson. But it was his Semi-Final performance that was the talking point of the weekend.
After a jump-start before Semi-Final two, Solberg was given the penalty of two joker laps to take and from here he treated the fans to a typical Solberg fightback. He drove each lap faster than the last, setting quicker lap times as he pushed harder in the race. Taking his joker on laps four and six, Solberg secured second place behind P-G Andersson and he would chase home Topi Heikkinen in the Final, just losing out on the win after going wide on his joker.
Solberg explained the Semi-Final fightback further.
“I can’t believe what happened in the semi and in the final. When I dropped the clutch and everybody else stayed where they were in the semi-final, some people thought my chance might have gone. But you know me: I am never giving up. When I came back to the start, I focused on nothing but the road ahead – it brought out the rally driver in me again! I was just totally concentrating on getting every single corner perfect. It was fantastic to drive like that, everything was working so well; the car was just incredible, I was able to place it exactly where I wanted it on the circuit and be on the limit in all of the corners. It was so much fun. And I nearly won! I got too much wheelspin in the gravel and lost 0.8s there. Incredible!”
However he took a more measured approach to the Supercar Final.
“I was a bit more careful waiting for the lights in the final! And when they went out I was able to tuck right in for the first right-hander and come out in second place. I chased and pushed, but, at the same time, I was thinking about the championship and taking more points. A couple of times I had a look at Heikkinen, but I didn’t want to risk anything at all.”
Solberg is now looking forward to competing at Lydden Hill in the UK for the fourth round of WorldRX.
“What an incredible weekend. We go away from here leading the championship by 22 points after our third podium in as many races. Awesome! Again, I have to say a big thank you to the team. Now we have to pack the bags and head north to England and next week, where we will be looking for our 13th podium in 16 World RX races!”