Contact Brings Early End to Solberg’s World RX of Argentina

Petter Solberg had one clear objective coming into the final round of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship: to win the World RX of Argentina and secure second place in the Drivers Championship.

He began well by going fastest in Qualifying by going fastest overall in all four races and ending the session as Top Qualifier, following the example set by his fellow Norwegian driver Andreas Bakkerud earlier this year in Norway. Tweaks made to the PSRX Citroen DS3 since Germany saw the triple FIA World Champion extract more speed from the car and get hallway to his goal.

“I felt very confident coming into this weekend,” said Solberg. “Our car was working so well and I was really up for this one. I really wanted to sign the season off with a win. I had real confidence that we could pull off the perfect weekend here, I honestly thought we were on to win the semi and the final.”

2016 FIA World RX Rallycross Championship / Round 12 / Rosario, Argentina / November 25 - 28, 2016 // Worldwide Copyright: IMG/McKlein
Petter Solberg leading Janis Baumanis at the 2016 World RX of Argentina. Credit: IMG / FIA World RX

As he was fastest in Qualifying, Solberg took pole position for the very competitive Semi-Final one, which included EKSRX drivers Mattias Ekstrom and Topi Heikkinen, both World RX Team Austria competitors Timur Timerzyanov and Janis Baumanis as well as Championship rival Johan Kristoffersson who was looking to take second place in the standings. Leading the race into turn one, Solberg takes up the story.

“I turned into the right-hander right behind him. I saw Baumanis coming around the outside what I thought was quite a brave move,” Solberg explained.

“When I turned in for the left-hander, Baumanis was on my inside and there was some contact. It was OK. But then… bang! Out of nowhere, flew into Baumanis and he came into me. He hit the front left of my car and immediately I could feel the steering was broken.”

As he crossed the line in fifth place, this marked the end of the Norwegian’s run in the event. With Bakkerud winning the Supercar Final and Kristoffersson coming second, Solberg finished the season in fourth place in the Drivers Championship.