Petter Solberg continued his successful defence of the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill by taking his first ever WorldRX victory at the Kent circuit.
Solberg has been the class of the 2015 WorldRX field of 18 regular drivers having taken two victories and two second places in his SDRX-run Citroen DS3 Supercar and he carried his pace into Lydden Hill with no interruption. The former WRC Champion was fastest in heats one and two before a fuel pump issue caused him to lose ground in heat three. Solberg would go on to win his Semi-Final and ultimately he held off the two men he considers to be his rivals in 2015, Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekström, to the checkered flag, even with a final lap puncture.
Solberg considers himself lucky to make it through to the Semi-Finals and The Final after his heat three issues.
“To be honest, I was a bit lucky during the race. In the third heat we had a fuel pump issue, but luckily it happened three corners from the end. It could have gone much worse And then, in the final, I had a puncture in the last corner. Hey, I have been unlucky for many years in rallying – so I guess it’s my turn here in World RX! One needs a bit of luck to be at the top in professional sports.”
However, he also admits to having to work hard in the Final against Ekström to stay ahead and take the win.
“Both in the semi-final and the final, I had great starts and came out first so I could control the race at the front. After two laps, I got the information that I lost some tenths, so I had to start pushing to make sure I stayed ahead of Ekström. Out from the joker I was maybe a tenth in front, but the exit there is so muddy and slippery, so I had to push all I could to make it. I was actually a little bit over the limit there…”
Finally, The Norwegian WorldRX Champion explains how he’s learnt his lessons for tactics in World Rallycross and how he’s looking to be faster in Germany at the end of the month:
“After being second behind [Sebastien] Loeb for so many years in the WRC, I understand now that I must have grown up late when it comes to tactics. My team and I have had extreme focus on tactics for the last two seasons, and it pays off for sure. Ekström and Kristoffersson will be hard to beat, so even though we have 29 points lead in the championship, you can lose it easily in one weekend. My mechanics and I will go home and continue the hard work to get even more details in place. I’m so happy that I was able to give this win to my team and mechanics – several of them are English and had their families here to visit this weekend. They all deserve the success!”
Round five of the 2015 World Rallycross Championship comes from the Estering in Germany on 20-21 June.