Petter Solberg finished the World RX of Canada with a massive hit to his car and a mammoth job to get it ready for the World RX of France, however hard work and his never give up attitude meant that the former WRC Champion kept his FIA World Rallycross Drivers Championship lead at Loheac.
Solberg tested the car before the event to make sure that everything was okay and in typical fashion, he confirmed that the completely rebuilt PSRX Citroen DS3 was actually faster than it was before! However, he had faith that everything would be fine after Canada:
“Just to make it to this race was a victory for the team. When I was in the car after the finish of the final in Canada, I could see my legs moving, but I couldn’t feel them. Trust me, at a time like that, you think about a lot of things. I was so worried.” Solberg explained, “One thing I wasn’t worried about was the car. I knew it was a big mess; I knew the cost of the crash was massive in terms of the budget, but I also knew that only one team could make everything right in time for this race: my team.”
The Norwegian driver had to work had at Loheac as he looked to keep his points lead ahead of rival Mattias Ekstrom. After a re-started race in Q1 and traffic issues in Q2, Solberg was seventh place overnight and looking to make up ground as Ekstrom finished as TQ overnight and he went on the attack on the second day of action.
A Wiper issue meant that his charge was temporarily halted where he was 11th overall before needing to put in one of his trademark drives in Q4 after a jump-start. Solberg would end up fifth overall after Qualifying and after going second fastest in Semi-Final two, he was embroiled in some hectic action in the Supercar Final where he secured fourth place overall and increased his points lead over Ekstrom as well.
Solberg took the positives from the event as he keeps a weathered eye on the Championship title, “Today it’s fourth, but this is a win for PSRX – they are the best in the world and I thank all of them for the sleep they have missed and the hours they have worked to get this car to the grid,” said Solberg.
“Leaving a race weekend with a bigger lead than when we arrive at the track is what this year is all about for PSRX – so France has been a big success for us. There’s more good news though, the changes we made to the car before the race really worked and clearly we have more speed. There’s a little bit of frustration we weren’t able to show that speed when we really wanted; we got a little bit boxed at times, but the team is so positive.”
However the high point of the weekend was surely his amazing comeback drive in Q4, something that Solberg is quite proud of:
“Apart from extending my lead, I must admit I really enjoyed the fourth qualifying race. I was so determined after that jump-start, I really found a way to drive above myself a little bit to take the win after two joker laps. That was incredible – and I could have gone quicker! But like I say, it’s the championship that matters and we added another point to our lead here this weekend. It might only be a point, but we all know points makes prizes!”