What’s coming? Hell. One word.
It’s the annual opportunity for the World Rallycross Championship to play on a place name. And it’s one Hell of a place to go racing…
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden goes to the first of two consecutive ‘home’ races at the top of the table for both the teams’ and drivers’ championship. This week it’s Petter Solberg’s chance to ride the wave of support from his fans before we move across the border into Sweden at the end of the month. That’s when the cheering starts for Johan Kristoffersson.
The team arrives in Hell in good shape, having won World RX of Norway last year and three of the first four races of this season – the last coming after a typically unflustered, classy Johan drive following a slightly chaotic semi-final at Silverstone.
Pernilla, what’s the objective in Hell?
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team principal Pernilla Solberg
“The objective is a simple one, to keep doing what we’re doing. We have put in the foundations for a really, really strong season. In the teams’ championship, we are 22 points ahead of our nearest rival and Johan is further ahead in the drivers’ championship than he was this time last year. That’s a fantastic start and it’s so important that we keep that momentum going and build on those foundations.”
“This is Norway, it’s a fantastic place for the sport and we have so, so many fantastic fans coming to share this weekend with us. Petter really wants to win and his home race this week would be such a good time to do that. He’s had some back luck so far this season.”
“Like both of the boys have said, what we have to do now is focus on the small details – this is where the last tenth of a second is in the lap times and that’s what we’ll be doing in Hell.”
Petter, welcome home. Welcome to Hell…
Petter Solberg, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team owner/driver and triple FIA world champion
“Everybody is always making these jokes about Hell, but you know this track is actually one of the best of the season. I really enjoy this one, it’s a proper, proper rallycross circuit.”
“This might be my home race, but it’s not one that has ever been kind to me though – I’ve had quite a lot of bad luck here and this week would be a really good time for that to change! Not making the final at the last round in Silverstone was so frustrating for me and, of course, I’m not happy with the place in the championship. I have to work on this in Norway, I need a result to turn things around a little bit.”
“I have been at these times in motorsport before, you get one small thing that works for you and it’s like a trigger for everything else. You know the team is doing a fantastic job; Volkswagen Motorsport and R is incredible what we have with the car and I feel like my driving is good – but I just need a break.”
— Petter Solberg RX (@Petter_Solberg) June 5, 2018
What’s your verdict on going to Hell, Johan?
Johan Kristoffersson, defending FIA World Rallycross Champion
“I like this track. I won here last year and the Volkswagen Polo R Supercar was really fast there – I hope it’s going to be the same story this time. This is an original rallycross track, the way it flows is really nice. Great track.”
“What I also like a lot is that the [entry to the] joker lap is in the first corner, so this splits out the field a bit more straight away from the start. There should be less first-corner carnage than we have seen in some of the races more recently with the cars a bit more spread out. The last round at Silverstone was a tough track, it was just corner-corner-corner all the time, there was no real gravel there and nowhere to carry speed. But what was good for me a few times was to get out at the front, get into some clear air, get clear of the pack and drive my race – I feel I didn’t do much of that this season and that’s what I want to do more of this weekend.”
“You know the one thing that would be nice is some more consistent conditions”
“In the last few races, we’ve had sun-rain-snow-sun-rain-sun… Just the sunshine would be good. And hopefully, that’s going to be coming now we’re a little bit more in the summer.”
“After we get through this race in Norway, we do have a little bit of a break from what’s been a really busy start to the season. I think Petter and I are really keen to try to get some testing in with the car; we have a fantastic car in the Polo R Supercar – it’s such a great package. But I think we have more potential with this car.
“I think we’re still to find the sweet spot with this one. There’s more to come. There are some ideas, some really small details with the car which I would love to test. Will they make the car quicker? I don’t know for sure, but to try them would give us some more ideas for making the car even more perfect!”