2015 World RX season review – Petter Solberg on the top again
By winning the 2015 World Rallycross Championship title, Norwegian Petter Solberg took his third world title, after he triumphed in 2003 World Rally Championship and last year in the maiden World RX season.
After thirteen events on four continents, Solberg won ahead of two Swedish drivers – Timmy Hansen and Johan Kristoffersson. Hansen won three events, the same as Solberg, but was short for 26 points at the end of the season. After losing the drivers’ title, Team Peugeot-Hansen found comfort in winning the Manufacturers’ title in dominant way, with big advantage over Ford Olsbergs MSE.
Eight different winners in 13 races
SDRX was the third team in the championship classification, the new team which Petter Solberg formed together with Liam Doran. They both drove the Citroen DS3 Supercar. British driver wasn’t so successful in the championship, as he finished 16th, but still secured enough points for the team to be third in the standings.
75.000 spectators at Hockenheimring
21 drivers of 560-hp Supercars took part at the opening round of the championship on the flooded circuit at Montalegre, Portugal. The winner was Johan Kristoffersson, at the wheel of the Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar prepared by Volkswagen Sweden. Petter Solberg and Timmy Hansen completed the podium.
Petter Solberg took the win at second round at Hockenheimring, ahead Latvian Reinis Nitiss in Olsbergs MSE’s Ford Fiesta and Timmy Hansen in Peugeot 208 WRX. The race was held as a part of DTM weekend, in front of 75.000 spectators at purpose-built rallycross circuit inside the famous Sachs Arena.
Finnish driver Toomas Heikkinen in Marklund’s Volkswagen Polo was on the highest step of the podium at Mettet, Belgium. He won at the Belgian track for the second year in a row, this time ahead of Petter Solberg and Reinis Nitiss.
Solbergs’ victory at iconic Lydden Hill
Solberg was again victorious at the iconic British circuit Lydden Hill. Round 4 of the championship was good for DTM star Mattias Ekstrom, who finished second driving Audi S1 for his private team EKS RX. 29 Supercar drivers competed at Lydden Hill, Johan Kristoffersson finished third on the podium. 2013 BTCC champion Andrew Jordan was the guest driver in Hansen’s Peugeot 208 WRX He qualified for the semi-final, but didn’t go further.
The fourth different winner in five rounds was Peugeot’s Davy Jeanney. He won at the exciting finale at Estering, ahead of Petter Solberg and teammate Timmy Hansen. At the Swedish round at Höljes Mattias Ekstrom was the winner. He was the fifth different winner in six rounds. Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud completed the podium. Hansen’s Peugeot 208 WRX first crossed the finish line but the stewards judged that the passing maneuver with which he overtook Ekstrom’s Audi S1 was against the regulations and Hansen was penalized.
Notable guest drivers
Davy Jeanney was victorious again at Canadian round at Trois-Rivieres Circuit. In the final run Jeanney started from pole and successfully defended his first place from the Finnish driver Toomas Heikkinen in Marklund Motorsport’s VW Polo. Tanner Foust, the American guest driver in the second Marklund’s VW Polo was third.
After Canada, the championship was back in Europe and Timmy Hansen won the next two rounds – at Hell, Norway and Loheac, France. At the Norwegian track, Davy Jeanney completed the success of Team Peugeot-Hansen with the second place, while Robin Larsson was third in the Audi S1. At Loheac, Petter Solberg was second, while French driver Jean-Baptiste Dubourg surprised with third place, driving the Citroen C4. One of the guest drivers was multiple WTCC champion Yvan Muller, driving Albatec Racing’s Peugeot 208 WRX.
Timmy Hansen was in the game until the last race
Three main championship contenders filled the podium at the tenth round in Barcelona. Solberg won ahead of Kristoffersson and Hansen. Hansen fought back and won the eleventh round in Istanbul, Turkey. Hansen took the victory in an exciting final race against Andreas Bakkerud in Ford Fiesta, crossing the finish line just 0.277s before the Norwegian. Johan Kristoffersson finished third in Volkswagen Sweden’s Polo RX. Petter Solberg didn’t get to the final. With the broken driveshaft on his Citroen DS3 Supercar he was the last in his Semifinal group.
The point difference between Solberg and Hansen was just 19 points with two rounds to go, but Solberg was better than Hansen in both races, so he comfortably won the championship. Solberg scored third places both in Franciacorta, Italy and Rosario, Argentina, while Hansen was seventh and sixth respectively. The winners of the last two rounds were Andreas Bakkerud and Robin Larsson.
Here’s the short video highlight of 2015 World RX season: