A cloud hung over the A2. And that's how I knew I was in the right place. New to rallycross meant I was new to this corner of Kent. The dust gave the game away.
It was hard not to be impressed by the number of people who'd ventured to England's deep south. But it wasn't hard to see why: 37 Supercars meant more than 22,000 horsepower on a mile-long stretch of gravel and asphalt.
And me? I'd come to take a look at the sport which I've been reliably informed is ready to take over from rallying.
Rallycross is motorsport's future. It's the five-minute hit that the gaming generation wants. Ready for my five minutes of fun, I lined up on the outside of North Bend. But not quite trackside; these RX watchers are a territorial bunch, with windbreaks deployed to cordon off a makeshift box in the best possible spot. Their wait was worth it.
Seeing a couple of Supercars aiming their right-front at the same apex for the uphill hairpin-right, just a fag packet apart, was impressive. What was more impressive was the pick-up from the cars coming out of Devil's Elbow and up the hill.
With a big drift through the left-hander just about sorted, right feet were simultaneously planted. The next second or so of the drivers' lives must have been special; the cars leaned back and took off.
Over 10,000 fans enjoyed the inaugural AUTOSPORT World RX event © LAT
And then it was done. Five minutes had been and gone.
And, in all honesty, the five minutes had come down to less than 60 seconds. With the joker lap available at the first corner of the race, half the field took the longer option off the line, creating two three-car races instead of one super-hot six-car scrap. It was only really in the last lap that the thing came together.
Any tactical approach was lost on a good few of the punters surrounding me - not least because the race commentary came and went depending on the direction of the wind.
The second round of the World Rallycross Championship was well-supported, not only in terms of Supercars, but with a good cast of TouringCars, Super1600s and RX Lites Cup as well. And the racing was lively enough, but the whole thing began to drag a little.
And therein lies my problem with rallycross. Had I done the whole event (I was only there on Sunday), I would have spent three days watching some cool cars on a couple of corners.
Three days? What happened to five minutes?
The immediate hit of a mid-corner ding-dong was cool, but as time passed as a trackside punter I became less convinced. Away from the rallycrossing, there's plenty of hype. And lots of noise. As you'd expect from Monster.
As a company, Monster's not known for a restrained, measured approach. When the Monster girls started chucking free kit from the top of the bus, I decided to head for the sanctuary of team Solberg.
Solberg is enjoying the rallycross way of life © LAT
Ah, much better. I hadn't seen Petter for a while, but he immediately launched into a discussion of his meeting so far and the merits of this roll bar setting over the other. As a former World Rally champion and winner of the opening World RX round, nobody is better-placed than the Norwegian to give a sensible comment on the two disciplines.
Two words pretty much said it all from Solberg's perspective. The words were 'six' and 'hundred'.
"That's special," he said with a big smile. "You know, 600 horsepower really is special."
And it is. Watching Solberg launch one off the line was staggering and a comparison with the halcyon days of Group B rallying never more than a cliche away. But such an analogy does the RX machinery a disservice. Thirty years have served the current cars well in terms of power delivery, transmission technology and damping.
If Group B was about brute force, RX offers a more refined - and ultimately quicker - method of getting from corner to corner.
But this blend of grunt and modern technology still couldn't match the original. My fate as a rally man was sealed when, after yet another race around the same track, same cars and same corners, an Audi Quattro E2 was wheeled out. For those of you not in the know, the E2 was the special one. The real deal.
This thing had hundreds of horsepower and required similar levels of commitment and bravery to get it through corners. On song, there was nothing, nothing better. It was a thing of beauty. Watching the Audi wallow, and hearing it bellow, its way around a handful of laps of Lydden made my day.
I explained my concerns to Solberg. I explained that I felt like I'd spent the day at a superspecial.
The WRC and World RX are muddy affairs, but the similarities end there © XPB
Solberg reminded me about the bigger picture on the smaller screen. "There's no clash between rallying and rallycross," he said, "it's impossible, they are different sports and there is space for both of them. What people are comparing is the television and the promotion. And that's coming here. That is where this sport can really work."
Make no mistake, if Solberg got the right offer to go back to rallying, he'd be there like a shot. He cut his teeth in rallycross, but he lived his life in rallying. And he misses it still.
"In rallying, you are alone," he said. "And you are alone to push, attack and do incredible things. You have short superspecial stages and then you have really, really long stages as well and I miss that. I love rallying."
And, in rallying, your destiny is your own; trees are not known for giving you a tap under braking.
As a live watch, there's nothing to beat a rally. The hours you spend pouring over the maps to find the best place to watch, then bagging the view and standing spellbound are rewarded as drivers dance their way past you on the knife-edge between grip and oblivion. Granted, the cars are half as powerful, but the spectacle, for me, remains twice as good.
A flat-chat near-miss between left and right wing mirrors can't compete with the anticipation built between rallying's one-by-one sensory assault.
But, as Sebastien Ogier recently told AUTOSPORT, television in the WRC needs to seriously up its game and the presence of World RX in the same market makes it an even tougher sell.
If competition from rallycross isn't recognised and the promotion and coverage - be it on the television or the internet -of WRC isn't improved then it's in trouble.
Not everybody has the chance to stand stage-side to watch in wonder. But coverage of Andreas Bakkerud's big move on Topi Heikkinen last Sunday is free for the masses. RX is playing to its strengths right now and the WRC could certainly learn that lesson.