Argentina WRX: Solberg stays on top as qualifying ends

Continuing his form from Saturday's run on the opening day in Rosario, Petter Solberg dominated the remaining qualifying races at the final round of the World Rallycross Championship in Argentina to finish top at the Intermediate Classification.

The results means that Solberg becomes only the second driver since Andreas Bakkerud in Norway this year to win all four qualifying races at a round of World RX.

The day started with a dry but slippery track in Q2, having been submerged by water after the thunder storms of Saturday afternoon, any slide off line being heavily punished. 

The loose surfaces dried throughout the morning, and Solberg won each of his three starts to lead his races from the first corner, while Bakkerud finished second overall having had a first corner battle with Johan Kristoffersson and 2016 champion Mattias Ekstrom in Q2 to set third overall time to Solberg and nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb. The top three overall finished after Q2 one-two-three in the last race of Q3 to top the times again.

In Q4, while Solberg led out front, Bakkerud finished second and Ekstrom passed Loeb when the Frenchman made a mistake on the circuit’s long loose corner, Swedish driver Ekstrom finishing third overall at the Intermediate Classification with Loeb fourth and Kristoffersson fifth.

Four drivers entered the Argentine event with a chance of finishing second in the championship, and each of them are inside the top five ahead of the semi-finals this afternoon.

Latvian Reinis Nitiss was consistently inside the top 10 while deputising for Finn Niclas Gronholm in the OlsbergsMSE team and wound up sixth overall, his best qualifying result of the year, with triple-European Rallycross Champion Timur Timerzyanov seventh overall despite retiring from the last race of Q4 when he hit a wall on the outside of the banked first corner.

Retiring DTM driver Timo Scheider makes his third appearance of the season for the Munnich Motorsport team in Argentina and has qualified for the semi-finals for the second time, even though he was severely slowed in his Q4 race with a front-right puncture that heavily damaged the front of the car. 

Loeb’s Peugeot-Hansen team mate Timmy Hansen had a torrid final round of the campaign, on the wrong set-up in the wet of Q1, Hansen struggled running in the early races of the remaining qualifying sessions and missed out on a place in the semi-finals.

Thirteenth overall means the Swede is first reserve should another driver not make it into pre-semi-final parc ferme, but if he doesn’t make it, Ekstrom’s EKS team will be crowed as 2016 Teams’ Champions.

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