Friday 30 November 2018

Petter Solberg happy to show good speed in Cape Town.

PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien
Three-time FIA World Champion Petter Solberg arrived in Cape Town, with a slim chance of claiming second in the 2018 World Rallycross Championship after a forced engine change penalty. 

“It was quite a long shot for me to make the silver medal and in the end it wasn’t possible," said Solberg. "That’s kind of the way the season has gone for me."

The Norwegian showed strong pace throughout the weekend [in Cape Town], but there were question marks as whether PSRX Volkswagen Sweden would even make the start of the Q1. After a cargo ship transporting the Polo R Supercars were two days late docking due to bad weather. 

PSRX Volkswagen Sweden missed the shakedown on Friday afternoon, but a few hours later the shipping containers arrived with the Polo R Supercars onboard, and it was a race against time, to get the cars prepared and on the grid with just hours to the opening qualifying session. 

"It’s true that the start of the event was a little bit difficult, not having the cars here on time made it quite stressful, but Pernilla [Solberg] and the rest of the team did a fantastic job in getting everything ready in such a quick time," the Norwegian said.

Petter Solberg claimed fourth in the first qualifying heat and second behind his teammate Kristoffersson in the second qualifying session placing him second overall on day one.

On Sunday, he finished fourth fastest in the third qualifying heat and fifth in the final qualifying heat placing him fourth overall in the standings. Qualifying for the semi-final, Solberg would start in second place alongside Sebastien Loeb, but with strong pace he won the second semi-final booking a slot on the grid for the final. 

Petter Solberg and his son Oliver Solberg discussing the final.
PHOTO CREDIT: Junaid Samodien

“I’m really happy that I’ve been able to show such good speed through this weekend," said the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver.

Solberg lined up on the grid for the final alongside his teammate Johan [Kristoffersson], both PSRX Volkswagen Sweden drivers had strong starts, but Kristoffersson edged ahead at Turn 2. The Norwegian was running second overall and had his sights set on claiming his first win of the season. Unfortunately, it was not to be, Petter was forced to retire after a first-lap incident lead to him hitting the barrier at Turn 3 in the final. 

“I really wanted the win here [Cape Town] this weekend," says Solberg. "Like Johan [Kristoffersson] has said, to go to the winter with the win is a special feeling."

The Norwegian hasn't had the easiest of seasons after doctors treating him for a broken collarbone in 2017 discovered that his liver was producing too much iron. He was treated for the condition, but came close to ending his World RX career. Solberg described the struggles that he has had.. "No energy and eyes were blurry."  

"Like the rest of my season, it just didn’t work out as I wanted it to," says Solberg. "But, I must say, when I think back to the middle of the year, when I was struggling to get fit – I am coming back so much stronger now." 

“I want next year to start next week!”

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