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24 May 2015

WRX: Solberg claims Lydden win

Category: News, WRX Posted 24.05.15 23:45 by

Although reigning World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg had a mixed Day 2 at Lydden at the end of the Sunday the Norwegian scored overall victory by beating the two Swedes Mattias Ekström and Johan Kristoffersson to second and third place respectively.

 

After dominating Saturday’s qualification the Sunday did not start well for the Citroën DS3 SuperCar driver. Eleventh place in the Warm-Up session, thirteenth in Heat 3 and sixth in Heat 4 was not what ‘Hollywood’ was looking for. However, with his 100 points he scored yesterday by winning the first two qualifying heats he remained all the time on top of the standings, although Johan Kristoffersson (after H3) and Mattias Ekström (after H4) came pretty close. Nevertheless, when the qualification was done Solberg found himself on top of the Intermediate Classification, thereby scoring his first 16 championship points of the England weekend.

 

Solberg extended his lead in the championship by 29 points to Johan Kristoffersson. © JKR/ERC24

Solberg extended his lead in the championship by 29 points to Johan Kristoffersson. © JKR/ERC24

 

The British round of the WorldRX series had a lot of intense action on offer. © JKR/ERC24

The British round of the WorldRX series had a lot of intense action on offer. © JKR/ERC24

 

The SuperCars rostrum with (from left) Johan Kristoffersson, Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekström. © JKR/ERC24

The SuperCars rostrum with (from left) Johan Kristoffersson, Petter Solberg and Mattias Ekström. © JKR/ERC24

 

Solberg and Kristoffersson started Semi-Final 1 side by side from the first row of the grid, the Norwegian pole sitter then beating the Swede over six laps to second place. Latvian Reinis Nitišs made it to third and grabbed the last ticket for the all-decisive Final here. For Swede Timmy Hansen in fourth, Norwegian Tord Linnerud in fifth and Swede Robin Larsson in sixth place the British WorldRX round was over and done with.

In Semi-Final 2 the first starting row was occupied by pole sitter Ekström and Norwegian Andreas Bakkerud. The second row had been taken by two British non-regulars, Andrew Jordan (who turned to 26th years of age today) and Guy Wilks both proved to be very fast and worth to making it to the main events. After six laps Ekström and Bakkerud finished as winner and runner-up here, while Wilks made his home crowd happy by taking third place and thereby the very last ticket for the Final. Seen that Wilks did his first Rallycross event and was racing one of the less powerful 1.6 litre BMW MINI Countryman SuperCars, formerly owned by Prodrive, now in the hands of JRM Racing, a remarkable result that presumably no-one had expected. For Semi-Final 2 contestants Frenchman Davy Jeanney, Jordan and Austrian Manfred Stohl the event came to its end.

 

The situation on the Lydden Hill soil was not always liked by the teams. © JKR/ERC24

The situation on the Lydden Hill soil was not always liked by the teams. © JKR/ERC24

 

The Monster girls did once again a good job as grid and podium queens. © JKR/ERC24

The Monster girls did once again a good job as grid and podium queens. © JKR/ERC24

 

Austrian former WRC ace Manfred Stohl ahead of the Guy who was very much hailed by his home crowd. © JKR/ERC24

Austrian former WRC ace Manfred Stohl ahead of the Guy who was very much hailed by his home crowd. © JKR/ERC24

 

The last race of Day 2 saw Solberg winning the run to the first corner, followed by Kristoffersson and Nitišs, while Ekström, Bakkerud and Wilks decided to use the Joker Lap detour instead. Solberg looked for at least five laps like being unbeatable, but when he came out of the Joker Lap slope he found himself just a good car length ahead of Ekström. However, the Norwegian was able to defend his lead to the chequered flag, Kristoffersson claimed third place. The two OMSE teammates Bakkerud and Nitišs finished fourth and fifth, while Wilks had to throw in the towel during the second lap, due to a flat left front tyre. With his victory in WRX Rd4 Petter Solberg extended his lead over Johan Kristoffersson in the championship by 29 points now, Andreas Bakkerud is currently in third position.

“It’s been a fantastic weekend. Good weather, a lot of people, a fantastic atmosphere and some really close racing,” said winner Solberg after the Final. “We had some issues with the car’s engine this morning, but everything was working well for the Semis and then I just pushed really hard in the Final. I pushed so hard that I even got a puncture on the last corner; I was driving at my limit. A lot of my mechanics are English, which makes this win at Lydden even more special – not just for me, but for the whole team.” Runner-up Ekström added: “I had really good pace all weekend and was just a car length from beating Petter in the Final. It was close racing, that’s for sure, but that’s what Rallycross is about – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

 

The podium of the ERX TouringCar  campaigners with (from left) Camilla Antonsen, Fredrik Salsten and Ben-Philip Gundersen. © JKR/ERC24

The podium of the ERX TouringCar campaigners with (from left) Camilla Antonsen, Fredrik Salsten and Ben-Philip Gundersen. © JKR/ERC24

 

Youngster Kevin Hansen claimed overall victory of the RX Lites category. © JKR/ERC24

Youngster Kevin Hansen claimed overall victory of the RX Lites category. © JKR/ERC24

 

The RX Lites podium with (from left) Thomas Bryntesson, Kevin Hansen and Kevin Eriksson. © JKR/ERC24

The RX Lites podium with (from left) Thomas Bryntesson, Kevin Hansen and Kevin Eriksson. © JKR/ERC24

 

Third-placed Kristoffersson had cause for a double celebration after becoming a father (of a baby boy) for the first time this morning. “It’s certainly been an emotional day,” explained the 21-year-old, “but back to the racing, I really didn’t expect to be here today. We were only 13th in Free Practice yesterday because I just couldn’t find the pace. I adjusted my driving style for today and then had a good start in the Final, but Petter was just so quick. We had a really nice fight, but I have to say third place is fantastic for the championship – so I’m really happy.”

In the highly competitive RX Lites category, which saw a total of 12 starters this weekend, it was an extremely close battle between Round 1 winner Kevin Eriksson and rising star Kevin Hansen. A final lap tussle saw Hansen take the win over Eriksson by just 0.8 seconds. Thomas Bryntesson – who was leading the RX Lites going into Day 2 – took the third podium spot. Citroën DS3 driver Fredrik Salsten won the second round of the TouringCar class after finishing three seconds ahead of Ben-Philip Gundersen (Ford Fiesta Mk7), while female driver Camilla Antonsen rounded off the top three after an impressive drive in her Ford Fiesta Mk7.

 

Final results of the SuperCars to be found here.

WRX SuperCar standings after Round 4 to be found here.

Final results of the TouringCars to be found here.

Final results of the RX Lites to be found here.

 

More WorldRX of Great Britain images to be found here.

 

Top photo: Petter Solberg won from Mattias Ekström with a good car length. © JKR/ERC24