Petter Solberg‘s PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team further extended their lead in the FIA World Rallycross Championship‘s teams’ standings after last weekend’s event at Hockenheim, ended with Johan Kristoffersson‘s second podium finish of the season, while Solberg finished fourth.
A remarkable achievement for the Torsby-based outfit, not just beacuse it marks the third appearance of both VW Polo GTI Supercars in final in as many events entered, but also as it masks what has actually been a troublesome weekend, particularly for two-time World Rallycross Champion Solberg
The qualifying sessions can best be described as a rollercoaster: despite being the fastest in free practice, Solberg came under attack in Q1 and, even harder, in Q2, where he suffered heavy contact with his countryman Andreas Bakkerud, dropping him to fourteenth overnight. An impressive win in Q3, and second-fastest time in Q4, lifted him up to fifth.
“That was a real rescue mission,” said Petter.
“The first part of qualifying was really tough, but that’s when you have to dig deep. I’m going to be honest now, it was absolutely terrifying when I was hit by another car. I have had some big crashes in my career, but that one really scared me. When I came out of that race, I didn’t know what would happen.
“As a team, we were a little bit in crisis. We came together and talked about the technical and sporting side of what had happened and what we thought we could achieve with the rest of the weekend. At that time, just making the cut looked like it could be tough.
“But I wouldn’t want any other team around me at a time like this. PSRX Volkswagen Sweden showed what it’s all about this weekend; we used all of our experience, knowledge, strength and determination to put this weekend back together. And it worked. Making the final, for me, was like winning the final. This one really was unbelievable.”
The Norwegian’s fightback continued in his semifinal, where he finished second, only behind his team-mate Johan, while in the final, Kristoffersson finished second and Solberg fourth.
“PSRX Volkswagen Sweden did an amazing job this weekend,” said Johan.
“This team is still really new – don’t forget we didn’t start until just a few months ago – but in round one the team was fourth in the final, last time we were third, this time we are second… in Belgium we will continue this progression and hopefully make first!
“Petter had a tough one, but for me things were a bit more straightforward. The Polo GTI Supercar is showing amazing speed and we did this again this time, but we came up against a really tough guy in the final. I have to pay tribute to Mattias [Ekström]. He drove six really strong laps in that last race.
“The big thing for me, for Petter and the team is what we are doing in the teams’ championship; 17 points clear is very, very impressive for this new team. We’re still learning, we’re still developing and we’re still getting faster – but this weekend we showed how to work as a team. I’m proud to be part of PSRX Volkswagen Sweden.”
Petter and Johan’s next challenge won’t come later than this weekend – World RX of Belgium in Mettet. On the Belgian track, both drivers have had success in the semis, but neither of them has yet been able to claim the top step of the podium there. Hopes are running high for this year…