Norway’s Petter Solberg won the Red Kiwi World RX of Germany, in what is the sport’s closest ever finish in its 47-year history. In a nail-biting final race, Solberg pipped Sweden RX winner Mattias Ekstrom to the post by an unbelievable margin of just five thousandths of a second. Robin Larsson completed the podium line-up finishing third in his Audi A1 Supercar. Over 10,000 spectators traveled to the Estering Circuit in north-west Germany for action-packed racing.
“Wow, I don’t know what to say – I don’t think I have seen anything so close in my whole life,” grinned Germany RX winner Solberg. “The plan today was not necessarily to win but when I saw Robin’s [Larsson] mistake, I knew I had a chance. Then on the second last lap I made a mistake – I couldn’t remember if there was one more to go so I hesitated at the joker and lost some time. I heard on the radio that I needed to go flat out to the finish so I really pushed on the last lap. I didn’t even know if I had won when I crossed the line, it was a really incredible moment.”
Despite the closest win in RX history, two-time DTM Champion Ekstrom was satisfied with the runner-up spot. “If you are going to lose, then to lose by five thousandths of a second is not a bad way to do it,” joked Ekstrom whose team-mate Pontus Tidemand finished fourth after reaching his third final this season. “Of course I really wanted a victory for Audi here but we have two on the podium and three made it to the final with Pontus which is a great result for Audi on its home event. Congratulations to Petter on his win – you can’t buy a victory, you need to work hard and he certainly did that. I’m happy with P2.”
One driver who looked likely to become World RX’s seventh different event winner this year was Robin Larsson, whose rapid start off the start awarded the 21-year-old Swede with the Monster Energy Super Charge Award. However, a mistake by Larsson on lap three gave Solberg the opportunity to move in front. Larsson took up the story: “If you have Petter Solberg behind you, it’s really scary I can tell you. I was nervous and I made a mistake and of course Petter jumped on this and went ahead but I’m really happy to be on the podium for the second time this year.”
Proving that points really do win prizes, Volkswagen Marklund Motorsport’s Topi Heikkinen was catapulted to second in the overall driver standings after finishing fifth in today’s final. The Finn steadily gathered points throughout the four heats before qualifying for the semis and reaching the all-important final. Heikkinen’s move up the standings knocked Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Reinis Nitiss back into third after the 18-year-old Latvian suffered a setback when his car’s turbo failed during heat three. Despite failing to reach the semis, Nitiss was feeling upbeat: “I have to be happy with the pace even if I didn’t make it past the heats.”
Team Peugeot-Hansen was unable to continue the team’s string of podium successes this weekend despite an impressive run in all four heats. Both drivers were stuck in traffic at turn one of the semis but only Timmy Hansen progressed to the final. The 21-year-old Swede was running fourth for the majority of the race but after taking the joker on the final lap, Hansen dropped back to finish the event sixth overall.
Martin Anayi, World RX Managing Director for IMG Motorsports, concluded: “Today we witnessed one of the closest finishes there’s ever been. For two drivers to be separated by five thousandths of a second is really incredible and helps to demonstrate how extremely close racing RX creates. Well done to all the teams and drivers for putting on such a fantastic show.”
Here we get an exclusive look at Team Peugeot-Hansen’s 208 World RX beast with team boss Kenneth Hansen!
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