FIA World Rallycross

Larsson Wins In Argentina As Solberg Retains Title

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Robin Larsson secured his maiden WorldRX victory in Argentina as Petter Solberg took his second consecutive FIA World Rallycross Championship title in a thrilling finale to the 2015 season.

The WorldRX of Argentina moved from San Luis to the Rosario circuit, however the running on Day One was halted after difficult conditions with dust caused visibility issues. This meant that all of the heats, Semi-Finals and the Final would take place on Sunday.

With Solberg leading Team Peugeot-Hansen driver Timmy Hansen by 26 points, all Solberg needed to do was qualify for the Semi-Finals. Ford OMSE’s Andreas Bakkerud went fastest in heat one whilst Hansen set the fastest time in heats two and three.

With the cancellation of heat four due to poor visibility, Bakkerud led the intermediate standings from Hansen and Larsson, however Solberg’s fourth place secured the Drivers title for him.

Larsson took pole position in the Final, courtesy of his Semi Final victory ahead of Mattias Ekstrom in the EKSRX Audi whilst Kevin Hansen enjoyed his debut in Supercars by qualifying on the back row of the Final in his Ford OMSE Fiesta. Hansen joined Larsson on the front row after his Semi Final win ahead of Solberg and Janis Baumanis in the WorldRX Team Austria Fiesta.

Larsson made a fast start off the line and had to fight to defend his lead from Timmy Hansen on lap one. Contact between Timmy and his brother Kevin would see the Peugeot retire. Larsson then had to fend off Ekstrom in the slippery track conditions for the remaining laps. Contact between Ekstrom and Solberg as the EKSRX driver took his joker gave Larsson just enough to keep the lead after taking his joker on the last lap.

Larsson secured a very popular win ahead of Ekstrom and Solberg whilst Baumanis finished fourth ahead of the two Hansen brothers. Larsson was thrilled with his victory, saying: “I will remember this win my whole life – I can’t stop smiling.  We have one of the smallest teams in the paddock and my guys work so hard – it means an incredible amount to take this win, especially at the end of the year.  The final was like driving on ice and Mattias Ekstrom was so close behind me, it was a great battle.  I’m sure there will be a big party tonight!”

Ekstrom praised Larsson on his maiden victory and is looking towards 2016: “I have to say Robin did a great job – we had a really good fight.  I’m happy for Petter too, he deserves to win the Championship. We’ve showed a lot of consistency in our last four races and I think we can come back even stronger next year.”

Solberg was overjoyed at winning his second WorldRX title and taking his third FIA World Drivers title: “It’s unbelievable to win another championship – and I want to thank my hard working team, who have travelled all round the world with me and share my passion for this fantastic sport,” grinned World RX Champion Solberg.

“It is not easy winning your second World RX title: nothing in rallycross is certain and I have been a bag of nerves today.  Rallycross is full of talented drivers and my team have fought so hard for this all year.  We have a lot of meetings coming up, and with some manufacturers, so we will see what happens.  What is most important is that I have a fantastic team and family that support me.  I will be back in 2016!”

Solberg won the Drivers Championship from Hansen by 23 points whilst Volkswagen Team Sweden‘s Johan Kristoffersson finished in third place, two points ahead of Bakkerud.

The 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship kicks off in Portugal on the weekend of April 16-17.

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