SOLBERG: ESCAPE MY GREATEST
Double World Rallycross champion walks away from monster accident
Double World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg says his accident at the seventh round at TroisRivieres in Canada last weekend was the biggest of his motorsport career.
The 2003 World Rally champion finished fifth in the seventh round of the World Rallycross Championship, but was hit violently after the finish line of the final when rival Anton Marklund’s Volkswagen Polo behind suffered front brake failure, the Swede’s car careering into the back of Solberg’s Citroen DS 3 Supercar.
Solberg, who was suffering from back pains, was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary checks following the accident but returned to the paddock several hours later. He said he was lucky to escape serious injury.
“I must say I think that is the worst accident of my career,” said the Norwegian. “In rallying usually the momentum of an accident takes the force out of it a bit, but this was just a huge stop. The data shows that Marklund hit me from behind doing around 90mph and I was travelling at about 20mph. It was all after the finish line. I could see [event winner, Timmy] Hansen celebrating so I slowed down and then there was a huge impact.”
Second time lucky
Solberg said that the accident was more violent than the huge 2004 shunt he had on Rally Germany when he and co-driver Phil Mills were lucky to walk away from a high-speed accident that wrecked their Prodrive Subaru Impreza.
“This accident was much worse than in 2004,” said Solberg. “It took me at least five minutes to get the feeling back in my legs
and feel strong enough to get out of the car. I’m okay, but just very, very sore.”
Solberg’s 2004 Rally Germany accident happened when he ran wide over a crest in damp conditions on the Baumholder stage of the Tarmac event and hit a tank-stopping Hinkelstein, which launched the car into a series of rolls.
Solberg’s Citroen DS 3 Supercar was heavily damaged. The PSRX team had to airfreight the car directly back to its base in Torsby in Sweden, with a race against time to get it prepared for the next World RX round in Loheac in just four weeks time.
“The car is in a massively bad condition now and my team has a huge job to get it ready for France,” said Solberg. “It’s such a shame for everybody, but now we have to work like hell to make the start in Loheac next month ( see sidebar).”
Solberg could only manage fifth place in the final in Canada, but reclaimed the championship lead by four points as title-rival Mattias Ekstrom retired from the semi-final stages of the event with a puncture.
Solberg received well wishes from across the World RX paddock following the accident.
Ekstrom’s EKS team wrote: “We wish Petter a speedy recovery. Get well soon. See you in France!”
Johan Kristofferson, who finished on the podium but lost out to Solberg in the semifinal said; “In the semi-final Petter was outstanding, he was just so, so quick. It’s never nice to see another driver get hurt so I hope he is okay and that he is back soon.”
The Canadian event was won by Team Peugeot-hansen driver, Timmy Hansen.