Petter Solberg, driving for the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team, claimed top spot after the first two qualifying races in round five of the FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy at Lydden Hill today, the affable Norwegian claiming a psychological advantage over his rivals by also breaking the Lydden Hill lap record.
“It was a fantastic feeling”, said Solberg. “It was some of the improvements we had done from the last race [in Belgium] which made me more comfortable. I’m very happy after today, and also Johan [Kristoffersson] has done a fantastic job, so a good team effort again.”
Solberg’s day couldn’t have gone better, the double former World Rallycross Champion in 2014 and 2015, scoring victories in Q1 and Q2 in his VW Polo Supercar and going into Sunday’s final two qualifying races as firm favourite.
His Swedish team mate, Johan Kristoffersson, winner of the previous round in Belgium, gave the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team an enviable one-two start to the weekend after he was advised not to take any risks and avoid traffic.
“Petter had great speed so I just followed him from flag to flag”, said 28-year old Kristoffersson. “But it was a really great team effort for us today with both of the cars on the top, so great speed as well. It’s all about trying to save the tyres for tomorrow.”
Completing the top three was championship leader and reigning FIA World Rallycross Champion, Mattias Ekström, the Swedish driver bringing his Audi S1 EKS RX Quattro as the third placed driver in both qualifying races.
“It’s just nice to have a solid day one and have no hiccups and everything running smooth”, commented Ekström. He was surprised to find that the track was more like tarmac all the way round. “I didn’t hardly see any gravel”, he claimed. “This track is very unique because you have to try and take care of your tyres as much as possible.”
The action gets underway tomorrow with warm-up at 10.30 and the third and fourth qualifying races start at 11.00 with the semi-finals taking to the track at 15.00.