Finnish World Rally ace Kristian Sohlberg enjoyed a positive debut in the FIA World Rallycross Championship at Turkey in what was his third outing for Albatec Racing in 2015.
Sohlberg previously raced in the British Rallycross Championship at Pembrey and the French Rallycross Championship at Pont du Ruan for the Dumfries based squad as a buildup to his WorldRX debut and he had a learning curve ahead of him.
The Finn began well as he settling into the arena of WorldRX by guiding the Albatec Peugeot 208 RX known as “Pippa” to the 16th fastest time in heat one. However as the track began to get faster in heat two, a spin during his race would drop Sohlberg down the standings. In heat three, after several setup changes and lessons learnt, he managed to break into the top 12, however his time in heat four wasnt fast enough to qualify for the Semi-Finals and he missed out by 10 points.
Sohlberg was very positive after his first ever WorldRX experience and is looking to return: “A little bit of mixed feelings over the weekend, obviously I’m quite disappointed not to make the semi finals, but what is positive is that I managed to improve my driving over the weekend, which changed the car quite a bit with the set-up from yesterday. But the heat two mistake cost us some valuable points, and maybe a place in the semi finals, but also the heat one drive wasn’t so good,” explained Sohlberg.
“At the end of the day though, I’m looking forward to the future. I need to change my driving style to be a little neater and more suitable for rallycross, and we need try different things with the car to suit my driving style. We only had one full day testing, so maybe that was not enough. But all in all, this is the top level of rallycross, the best in the sport, and it’s clear you can’t give any advantage to the other drivers, so it was very much a learning weekend.”
However The Finn would like a second chance to work with Albatec Racing again: “I’d really like to thank Andy and the entire Albatec team for making this race possible for us. We had three races so far this year and improved in every one of them, so I hope to be able to work with the team again and be back in the car as soon as possible.”
Team Principal Andy Scott was full of praise for Sohlberg’s efforts and the teams effort over the weekend: “The facilities here are great and once again Turkey RX lived up to its reputation. It’s a really good event, with good organisation, and the track was in really good condition. The track was hard even though it rained every night, but it has been made so well that when the racing started it was still hard and good. It was a bit slippery on Saturday though, and quite difficult for Kristian in his first ever World RX event,” explained Scott.
“As we saw in his first two races in rallycross, Kristian has the speed to get to the highest level, so we had big expectations for this weekend, to maybe even reach the semi finals. But the beauty of this sport is that you can expect anything in rallycross. Heat one was not so good, and in heat two he had a spin, which lost a lot of time, putting Kristian to the back of the scoreboard.”
Scott is looking forward to working with Sohlberg again.
“This meant he was already facing a tough challenge to progress, but today started really well with 12th overall in heat three. He’s improving all the time, when he got the laps together, the speed was there. So thank you Kristian for all your efforts over the three races, and we hope to see you again in the future doing rallycross with Albatec.”
Albatec Racing are now preparing for the final round of the 2015 British Rallycross Championship where Andy Scott is one of four drivers fighting to win the MSA Supercar title at Croft on October 10.