Petter Solberg had the last laugh in the last Rallycross World Championship round at Lydden Hill.
After 50 years with international Rallycross on this track, the people behind the series had decided to move it to Silverstone from next year. Lydden Hill is the track where Rallycross was born, so it was a tough goodbye for many of the drivers. If they want to drive on the track in the future, they would have to do it with some of the other classes.
Back to the track, there were a lot of dramas on the way to the final.
Niclas Grönholm had a dramatic roll in qualifying heat 1 on Saturday, but luckily the car was fine, so he could continue to compete for the rest of the event.
Timmy Hansen, Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen and Kevin Eriksson went side to side into the Joker Lap in Q4, and that ended with only Hansen staying on the track. Eriksson was pushed into the grass while Heikkinen went through the plastic barriers, that marked the edge of the Joker Lap, but could continue.
Semifinal 1 had Petter Solberg, Timmy Hansen, Andreas Bakkerud, Ken Block, Janis Baumanis, Timur Timerzyanov in it, while in Semifinal 2 we saw Johan Kristoffersson, Mattias Ekström, Sebastien Loeb, Andrew Jordan, Kevin Eriksson, Toomas Heikkinen compete.
Solberg won Semifinal 1 ahead of his Norwegian countryman Andreas Bakkerud and Swede Timmy Hansen.
Timerzyanov had a bit of extra distraction in Semifinal 1, when the Lexan window in the passenger side of his Ford Focus were flapping along. If that was the reason for him not making the final isn’t clear, but the fact is that he only finished fifth, and therefore didn’t qualify for the final.
There was a lot of traffic on lap 1 in the Joker Lap in Semifinal 2. Ekström, Eriksson, Jordan and Heikkinen all took the first chance to dive in there, but luckily everybody got through. Kristoffersson waited until the penultimate lap, while Loeb took it on the final lap. Kristoffersson, Loeb and Ekström made it through to the final, after a fantastic duel between Loeb and Ekström on the final lap.
In the final we saw Kristrofferson dive straight into the Joker Lap, while Solberg took it on lap 2. That left Bakkerud out in front, but that was only going to last, until he took his Joker Lap on the final lap.
That made the road clear for Petter Solberg to take the first victory of the season, while teammate Kristoffersson finished second and Bakkerud third. Loeb took fourth while Ekström had a puncture at the end of the heat and finished in a disappointing fifth, with only Timmy Hansen behind him, who also suffered a puncture midway through the final.
Those results give a complete new standings in the Championship, where Mattias Ekström had to give up the lead for the first time in many months. Johan Kristoffersson now leads Ekström, with Petter Solberg in third – just seven points behind Kristoffersson and three behind Ekström. Then there is a gap to Timmy Hansen, Sebastien Loeb, and Andreas Bakkerud.
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden unsurprisingly leads the Teams Championship while Team Peugeot-Hansen is second and EKS in third – 75 points behind the Championship leading team.
FIA World Rallycross Championship will be back in a bit under two weeks’ time, when they will compete at Solberg’s hometrack in Hell in Norway.