Solberg leads in Argentina
Season finale in FIA World Rallycross will decide team championship.
Petter Solberg is currently leading the Total Rallycross of Argentina, the season-closer to this year’s FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. In the all-important Teams’ Championship where Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport, Ford Olsbergs MSE and Team Peugeot-Hansen are locked in a three-way battle, Olsbergs MSE established an early lead as team-mates Reinis Nitiss and Andreas Bakkerud place the Ford squad highest after two heats.
Only four points separated current Teams’ Championship leaders VW Marklund and Olsbergs MSE going into the Argentine RX round. Team Peugeot-Hansen can still mathematically win the title but started the event on the backfoot with a 38-point disadvantage. At the end of heat two, Heikkinen is third in the standings despite struggling with a gearbox issue in his Polo RX Supercar while team-mate Anton Marklund is eighth. Peugeot-Hansen team-mates Timmy Hansen and Timur Timerzyanov hold fifth and sixth overnight.
Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius today as 17 Supercar drivers took to the Rosendo Hernandez circuit in San Luis for the first ever rallycross event to be staged in Argentina. Bakkerud was quickest in free practice but it was the inaugural FIA World RX Champion Petter Solberg who sealed the heat one victory. Solberg was joined by former WRC star Manfred Stohl in a second PSRX car and, despite having had no time to test the Citroen before the event, the Austrian put in a strong performance to finish today ninth.
Arguably one of the most impressive drives of the day however, was that of Supercar debutant Kevin Eriksson who is driving an Olsbergs MSE Supercar as a reward for winning this year’s RX Lites Cup. “I’ve had an up and down day,” explained the teenager who was second quickest in free practice. “On the first heat, I overshot on the Joker Lap, spun the car and had to reverse which lost me time. Then during the second heat I got stuck behind Manfred [Stohl] after the Joker. The dust made it really hard to see when you’re behind but I’ve definitely learned a lot and happy to be seventh.”
Uneven day for Doran
It was a day of mixed fortunes for British driver Liam Doran who made his World RX comeback after a six-month absence from the Championship. The Monster Energy World RX Team driver had a troubled start after his Citroen DS3 Supercar suffered a misfire but recovered in heat two to finish seventh fastest. “I’ve been out of World RX for most of the year now so it’s taking me a while to get back to grips with everything,” admitted the 27-year-old. “I’m obviously not fighting for the Championship so heat points don’t matter – I’m just aiming to get to the semi-finals and hope to be up to speed by the end of heat four.”
Doran’s team-mate Henning Solberg had a troubled day after struggling with power steering issues in heat one and was unable to start the second heat. Also experiencing difficulties today was LD Motorsports driver Derek Tohill whose Citroen DS3 was down on power. “We had to limp through today with some engine problems and the dust combined with the difficulties of a new track made today incredibly hard,” explained the Irishman.
Albatec Racing duo Andy Scott and Ollie O’Donovan are 10th and 13th respectively, while former Argentine Rally Champion Miguel Baldoni is 12th overall.
Tomorrow’s World RX action will continue at 09.00 local time with two more heats in the headline Supercar category. The final semi-finals and all-important final will follow in the afternoon.
Teams' Trophy to be decided for World RX at Argentina finale
Solberg ends title-winning season with victory in Argentina