Argentina WRX: Solberg leads the way after shortened first day

Outgoing World Rallycross Champion Petter Solberg sits top of the order after the first day of action at the season finale in Argentina, which was cut short due to torrentially wet conditions in Rosario.

Forecast heavy rain fell during the morning practice session but stopped ahead of Q1, where, in the first race of the event, Solberg set the fastest time, taking over a second a lap out of the opposition on track.

Mattias Ekstrom, who secured the title at the penultimate round in Germany, set the second quickest time in Q1 having initially lost track position to Andreas Bakkerud but went on to win the race.

It was during the third race of the day that the rain started to fall again. Regardless, Johan Kristoffersson, who is currently embroiled in a battled with Bakkerud and Solberg for second in the championship standings, won the race to be third fastest.

Bakkerud, Janis Baumanis, and Ken Block rounded out the top six while Sebastien Loeb is down in 13th following an on-track encounter with his Peugeot-Hansen team mate Timmy Hansen and Kevin Eriksson. 

The weather calmed in the break between Q1 and Q2, but with an hour to go until the second session, monsoon-like conditions arrived - forcing organisers to postpone proceedings by an hour.

With conditions only worsening, the Stewards issued ‘Bulletin 2’, which read: “The Stewards of the meeting postponed Q2 from Saturday’s time schedule for reasons of force majeure (too bad weather and track conditions)."

Solberg gunning for second overall

Solberg was pleased with his opening day’s performance. “We were fast at the last round in Germany and we’ve been making some changes for here too,” he told Motorsport.com. “Now we can’t win the championship we have to do everything we can to win the race to try get second in the championship.” 

“The track was slippery in Q1, I think Ekstrom has a little bit better conditions but after that it was terrible for everybody. Overall I’m very happy.”

Solberg believes the stewards had no option but to delay racing until Sunday morning. “It’s smart. If you look at the track, my engineer has walked the track and there is so much water. It’s the right decision for safety to be honest with you. We have time tomorrow so it’s no problem.”

Warmup on Sunday morning will now take place at 0830, with Q2 at 0930 (local time). The rest of the day’s timetable remains unchanged.

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About this article
Series World Rallycross
Event Argentina
Track Circuito de Rosario
Drivers Petter Solberg
Article type Leg report