Norway’s Petter Solberg has entered the record books after becoming the first FIA World Champion in two different disciplines. Petter scored enough points in Italy to secure him the inaugural FIA World Rallycross Championship.
Solberg’s podium position at the Franciacorta International Circuit has seen the PSRX driver stretch his lead at the top of the standings to 60 points with two events still remaining. Topi Heikkinen is currently second behind Solberg in the overall standings but with Solberg having already won four events this season to Heikkinen’s one, Solberg automatically becomes World Champion based on his higher percentage of event victories.
“This hasn’t sunk in yet, it is a dream come true,” grinned Solberg who is now a World Champion in both World RX and WRC. “When I stopped rallying, I didn’t know what to do and then IMG took on rallycross and brought it to an amazing level so now it seemed like the right choice. I broke the right-rear suspension in the final and my spotter was shouting on the radio that I needed to calm down because all I needed to do was get to the podium and I would win the Championship.”
Arguably the most impressive drive of the weekend, however, was that of 21-year-old Hansen who looked virtually untouchable in his Team Peugeot-Hansen prepared 208 Supercar. Hansen, the son of multiple European Rallycross Champion Kenneth, won the Monster Energy Super Charge Award, two heats, his semi-final and the all-important final to take his first ever World RX victory.
“This has been a brilliant weekend and it is the best feeling to win when I pushed so hard for this moment,” explained Hansen. “During the final, I was pushing really hard but after a few laps in, I saw pieces from the other cars all over the track so I knew there had been a lot going on behind me. Both Petter and Richard were giving me a lot of pressure but thankfully I was able to hold on and I’m so happy to finally take a win for my team.”
Joining Hansen and Solberg in the top three was Richard Goransson who shone on his Supercar debut with Ford Olsbergs MSE. Goransson, who stepped up from RX Lites to Supercar this weekend, battled against a hugely competitive field of 40 Supercars to make it through to the final where he finished second to Hansen. “I am speechless, it has been an absolutely crazy weekend,” explained Goransson. “This has been my first ever Supercar event and I would have been happy to have made the semi-finals, never mind second overall. I kept out of trouble in the final and that’s what led to this result.”
Alongside Goransson in the final driving a second Fiesta was regular Ford Olsbergs MSE driver Andreas Bakkerud who retired on lap two after a string of unfortunate events over the weekend. He finishes the event sixth overall. Bakkerud’s team-mate Reinis Nitiss was still in the title fight with Solberg but the 18-year-old’s chances of the World RX title was shattered when Nitiss was knocked out of the semis.