Solberg wins battle with Ekström at Lydden Hill

Lydden Hill, the place where the rallycross was originated, held the fourth round of the 2015 FIA World Rallycross Championship season, and although Petter Solberg got his second win in the season, he needed to overcome a tough opponent, as MattiasEkström pushed the Norwegian car jumper to the limit.

This was the home event for SDRX’s Liam Doran, as well for the guest driver Andrew Jordan, switching from the BTCC beasts to the Peugeot 208 WRX of Team Peugeot-Hansen. Tanner Foust returned to the Marklund Motorsport Polo RX for his second World RX participation in the season of the four rounds he intends to be in.

Doran and Foust were eliminated still in the heats, but at least Foust got one point with his 16th place. Alongside Jordan, another Brit who classified to the semifinals and surprised a lot of people at Lydden Hill was Guy Wilks, in his first race with the Mini RX of the equally British JRM team.

In the first semifinal, three cars went for the normal course while three went to the Joker lap, and after that, Solberg was the leader. Solberg and Reinis Nitiss preferred to open the gap than make the Joker lap early and the strategy paid off, at least for Solberg. After going out of the Joker in the last lap, Solberg kept the lead until the checkered, while Nitiss lost the second position to Johan Kristoffersson, and needed some effort to not lose the third position to Timmy Hansen, even generating contact.

In the second semifinal, Wilks and Davy Jeanney went to the Joker, while the group led by MattiasEkström, kept going through the normal route and imminent rain at Lydden Hill. Then, Manfred Stohl made the Joker lap, but fell to fifth place after Guy Wilks passed him, but a mistake by the Brit almost opened the way to Jeanney.

The rest of the group went to the Joker in the last lap, with Andrew Jordan being in the unluckiest side, as Wilks and Jeanney passed him, and the battle between UK and France classified Wilks for the final, in what was already a great weekend for JRM. In front of him, Ekström won easily with Andreas Bakkerud just behind.

Before the finals, Solberg was questioned about the need of rain tyres, as he replied, with an umbrella in his hand: “No, we are going with slicks.”

In the final, three cars for each side, with Solberg, Kristoffersson and Nitiss postponing the Joker lap. Unfortunately, it was the moment when Guy Wilks’ shot for a win went over as he lost a tyre. On lap 3, Nitiss went for the Joker, but lost positions to Ekström and Bakkerud, in pursuit of Solberg.

Last lap came and Solberg and Kristoffersson made the Joker lap, and then Ekström came into Solberg’s way to fight for the victory. While Ekström tried everything he could think to put his Audi ahead, but Solberg blocked the way, avoiding any chance for a maneuver. The 0.3 seconds between Solberg and Ekström say how close this battle was, while Kristoffersson held Bakkerud to get the final podium position.

Check out the results of the LyddenHil RX. Everything is here.

With the results of the weekend, Solberg has a huge lead in the standings, with 112 points against the 83 of the second-placed Kristoffersson and the 77 of Bakkerud. In the teams standings, Olsbergs MSE leads with 138 points, followed closely by SDRX with 132. The World RX show return only on June 21st, at the German circuit of Estering.