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27 Apr 2013

RX: Solberg brilliant on Day 1

Category: ERC, News Posted 27.04.13 21:19 by

Rallycross returnee Petter Solberg dominated Day 1 of the second RallycrossRX series round at Montalegre in the hills of Northern Portugal by bagging the fastest times of both the 1st and 2nd qualifying heats.


After a mixed first round at Lydden Hill in England it seems that 2003 World Rally Champion Petter “Hollywood” Solberg has solved the teething problems of his within just three weeks time built Citroën DS3 SuperCar. With 39.966s the Norwegian claimed the second fastest time of the two practice sessions in which Frenchman Davy Jeanney (Citroën C4) was able to drive even a bit faster than his make-colleague, stamping 39.725s on the time-keeper’s list. The third fastest time, 39.994s, was marked by Swede Stig-Olov “Stecka” Walfridsson (Renault Clio Mk3/5) while no other driver was able to complete a lap of the Pista Automóvel de Montalegre in under 40 seconds.

The true competition and 1st Heat began with sunshine, but later on it started to snow. The venue is situated in the hills near the border to Spain and almost 1,000 metres above mean sea level (AMSL). Therefore, weather like this is not abnormal up here and was also forecast for the weekend. However, those who went out early had a huge advantage. “I won my start, but the snow was a big problem as the conditions became worse. My bad luck is following me”, claimed Norwegian Alexander Hvaal (Citroën DS3) after setting a rather poor 10th fastest time.

In the 2nd Heat the Hansen Motorsport team member did not better and was again 10th. “We had ‘wet track’ announced, but it was drying much faster than expected and the tyres for wet surface turned out to be the wrong choice”, said Alex Hvaal. Similar claim by Swede Anton Marklund (VW Polo Mk5) who made it to sixth in the 1st Heat and finished eighth in the 2nd Heat: “We were out too early. The track became better for those who went out later.”

Setting the fastest times in both qualifying heats Petter Solberg was in brilliant form on Day 1. In the 1st Heat he was 4 seconds faster than Davy Jeanney and reigning European champion Timur Timerzyanov (Citroën DS3). A bit surprising is the fact that up to 5th place the top men of the first day claimed double scores. Jeanney (currently 2nd) drove twice the second fastest time, Timur Timerzyanov (3rd) was two times the third fastest, 4th Mats Lysen (here driving his older Renault Clio Mk3/4 once more) twice the fourth fastest and 5th Stig-Olov Walfridsson in both heats fifth fastest. Briton Liam Doran (Citroën DS3) had gearbox issues in practice and missed out the 1st Heat while in the 2nd Heat he scored the seventh time.

Among the twelve Super1600 campaigners it is again Swedish youngster Kevin Eriksson who is doing a marvellous job in one of the 2012 Renault Clio Mk2 cars of the Finnish Set Promotion team. The son of OlsbergsMSE team principal Andréas Eriksson bagged in both heats the fastest times and is leading the S1600 order after Day 1, ahead of Dane Ulrik Linnemann (Peugeot 207) and Latvian Reinis Nitišs (Renault Clio Mk2).

For the TouringCars class Montalegre attracted just six starters, here it is Swede Robin Larsson who tops the provisional standings after Day 1. The son of double ERC winner Lars “Stinsen” Larsson made good use of his rear-wheel driven Škoda Fabia Mk1 and scored twice the best times. Lydden Hill winner Irishman Derek Tohill, suffering from bad luck with fuel pressure problems of his Ford Fiesta Mk7 in Heat 1 and the slippery track conditions in Heat 2, is currently sixth and thereby last.


More pictures to be found in our Gallery here.


Situation in ‘SuperCars’ after Day 1 here.

Situation in ‘Super1600s’ after Day 1 here.

Situation in ‘TouringCars’ after Day 1 here.