The FIA World Rallycross Championship delivered again an exciting season full of close racing, contacts, skill demonstrations and a title fight that lasted until the last weekend of the 2015 season. Again, Petter Solberg proved why he is the best World RX driver now, lifting his second champion trophy in the two years of the globe-trotting competition.
While the 2014 season started with “six different winners in six rounds”, as in the words of Andrew Coley, to end with a Solberg victory collection, the 2015 season was a bit harder for him, as the main blows to his campaign were problem hit his Citroën DS3 RX at Höljes and the polemic crash at Trois-Rivieres during the semifinal where he was thrown to the wall. Outside some gremlins in the car, he was a regular final participant and a frequent podium finisher, proved by his four second-place finishes and two third-place finishes.
Petter Solberg was the most skillful driver of the grid, but his main opposition in the title race, Timmy Hansen, had skills but his car played an important role too, as the Team Peugeot-Hansen’s updated 208 WRX was undoubtedly the best car out there.
Hansen also packed three wins this season, but there were massive blows to his chances that could have given the title to the young Swedish driver, like the controversial finish at Höljes where he was punished a few hours after his first “win”, the unfortunate clash in the first lap of the Canadian round semifinals, and also the crash right at the start of the second semifinal at Franciacorta. His highlights of the season were his three wins, due to having clearly the best car at Hell and at Loheac, and due to skill and guts at Istambul.
Another one that could have posed as a candidate to be a champion was Johan Kristoffersson, as his highlight of the season was his single win at the first round in Montealegre, in not so welcome wet conditions, but as he was a not so regular final entrant, he was out of contention in the middle of the year.
Outside the main acts, Davy Jeanney showed why he deserved to be better in the championship standings, as stated by his win at Canada, and he proved that he can play very well the team game as stated in various situations where he helped Timmy Hansen to improve in the drivers standings.
The guest of the year could have gone to Tanner Foust by his podium in Canada, but Jean-Baptiste Dubourg deserves it more, as he completed the French machinery podium at Loheac with a Citroën C4, which isn’t that modern compared with the DS3 model, but helped the French driver to hold a good battle with Petter Solberg for some moments of the final. His C4 is now for sale to any interested teams of drivers that want a good machine for a one-off drive.
Some young drivers coming from the lower categories like the Super 1600 and the RX Lites were tested in supercar action, and Janis Baumanis and Kevin Hansen did extremely well by going to the final at Rosario and both gave a run for the money of the World RX full-time competitors. Being unused with the supercars played a role for them to miss a possible podium, but finishing in fourth and fifth were awesome for guys that are World RX supercar debutants indeed.
Solberg is still a doubt for 2016 as he put his car up to sale as well part of the PSRX gear, and the lure of Dakar Rally and WRC was and is always there, so we still have to wait to see what he will bring to us.
To end this post, here's the best race of the 2015 season: the final at Höljes, Sweden.
See you next World RX season!
PHOTOS: FIA World Rallycross, Team Peugeot-Hansen, Volkswagen Team Sweden