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Solberg: My gearbox just exploded!

8 July 2013

Petter Solberg suffered more mechanical woes during round six of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Holjes in Sweden last weekend with his gearbox exploding in the final just when he was about to take the lead.

The 2003 World Rally champion had already suffered engine problems on the Saturday, which left him tenth in his second heat.

However, thanks to his victory in the opening encounter, he still headed into the final day placed third overall.

Following the engine problems on Saturday, Solberg's team decided to change the powerplant, but on Sunday morning it blew again during the warm-up. The team then worked frantically to change it, missing heat three by minutes but getting it ready in time for heat four.

Against all the odds Petter then got through to the semi-finals and qualified for the final by overtaking two cars and finishing third: despite having no brakes!

He then looked set for an incredible victory in the final when the gearbox on his Citroen DS3 Supercar failed just before the halfway point, leaving him with no drive.

“My gearbox exploded on my way out of a turn,” explained the former Crash.net columnist. “I was just about to overtake [Andreas] Bakkerud [who won] when it happened. I was much faster than him and on his tail all the time, but I wanted to be fair: I didn't touch him once. Now I'm just very, very disappointed.

“Holjes is like my home track, just 100 kilometres away from my workshop in Torsby. It would have been fantastic to win here in front of this truly amazing crowd, but the main thing is that I hope everyone had a good time.

“We changed the engine twice and gave up 30 points to make sure that we could compete and entertain everybody. We just about reached the final, still with some engine problems, but it was absolutely worth it: in the final my car was amazing. I guess it just wasn't to be again.”

Despite his own misfortune though, Solberg was quick to congratulate Bakkerud on his victory: “Two years ago Andreas worked in my workshop as a apprentice,” 'Hollywood' added. “I knew already back then that he was a great talent, and he's a great guy too. He deserved this win. I know he's been working hard for it!”

The FIA European Rallycross Championship now takes nearly a two-month break, with the next round at Loheac in France - which includes none other than nine-time WRC champion, Sebastien Loeb on the entry list - running from August 31-September 1.


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