PSRX Volkwagen's Petter Solberg dominates first WRX day at Austin

Petter Solberg dominated the opening day of World Rallycross' first visit to Austin, the venue of Formula 1's United States Grand Prix

PSRX Volkwagen's Petter Solberg dominates first WRX day at Austin

Solberg set the fastest time in Q1 despite not making the best start in his race, recovering by re-passing Mattias Ekstrom at the first corner when the Audi driver ran deep.

Elsewhere, Solberg's team-mate and runaway championship leader Johan Kristoffersson had been forced wide in a lap one joker during Q1 by Peugeot drivers Sebastien Loeb and Timmy Hansen and the Volkswagen driver would only set the 13th fastest time.

In the first race of Q2, Kristoffersson made a good start from the middle of the grid and survived contact with Janis Baumanis on approach to Turn 1 to set a time 1.2 seconds faster than Solberg had managed in the first session.

Launching from pole in the final race of the day, Solberg led from Loeb into the first corner and took a lap four joker to take the race victory, shaving a further 0.673s from Kristoffersson's effort to win Q2 overall and take the overnight lead.

Kristoffersson's second best time in Q2 lifted the Swede to sixth at the close of the opening day, which became fifth when Loeb was handed a five second penalty for Q2 contact with Ekstrom.

Second to Solberg in Q1, Ekstrom took a lap one joker in Q2 and was neck-and-neck with Loeb at the joker exit after the Peugeot driver took his extra route on the third tour.

Loeb made contact with Ekstrom in an attempt to pass on the inside at the left hander onto the loose surface section, forcing both cars wide.

Ekstrom's team-mate Andreas Bakkerud was the chief benefactor and passed both to move to second on track.

The Audi duo were second and third at the end of day one, as Loeb's penalty dropped him to seventh.

Driving Peugeot's older specification 208 WRX, Kevin Hansen won his Q2 race and set the third best time to be fourth at the end of the day.

Another former European Rallycross champion in Robin Larsson lost ground when he was spun over the COTA circuit's jump in Q2 after contact with Janis Baumanis.

In the Americas Rallycross championship which is sharing the bill with the WRX, Volkswagen driver Tanner Foust took a pair of fastest times to head the order from Ford Focus driver Steve Arpin and Liam Doran.

Points leader Scott Speed mistakenly took a second joker in Q1 and was spun by Ken Block in Q2, leaving him fifth at the end of day one.

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About this article

Series World Rallycross
Drivers Petter Solberg
Teams PSRX
Author Hal Ridge
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