Mettet (B) – It’s been an action-packed day in Mettet . The highs were clearly for Petter Solberg (Citroën DS3) and Pontus Tidemand (Audi S1). The lows -or better said- mixed feelings, for François Duval (VW Polo) and Henning Solberg (Saab 93) as they both failed to finish one of their heats through contact with other drivers. The best scoring driver after day one? Anton Marklund as they try to copy a VW 1,2,3 from… The WRC.
Solberg needs better starts
He’s fifth after the first two heats, Petter Solberg. His day however could be worse. Close championship rivals Nitiss and Bakkerud failed to finish one or more heats making it more valuable points for the Norwegian. “We’re being smart, not done any mistakes . We’re struggling with the start time. We will try to do something about that tonight.” Solberg commented. Fastest man of the day, Anton Marklund also had small issues. “On the first heat we made no mistakes and then we had a good position for the second heat but then I started braking a bit too late.” Marklund said.
Tidemand battles the champion
Probably one of the most interesting fights of the day was that between Petter Solberg and Pontus Tidemand. They were together in both heats, where especially the first heat delivered some spectacle. Petter rushed through the field but Tidemand proved to be tough competition. “I think in the first heat (tomorrow) I’m together with Petter again” said Tidemand, already looking forward to the fight. He’s only a hand full of points behind Solberg in place 6.
Lows for Duval and Henning
Not particularly lucky today was local hero François Duval. Looking at the standings he’s probably in the best car possible for the weekend with the Marklund’s VW leading the day. All drivers are talking about how important the start is, so the battles are hard. Duval became one of the first victims of trying to be in a good position in the corners after the start. He broke something on the left front suspension in the first lap and had to park the VW alongside the track. His comeback in heat two however was sweet. He managed seventh overall and time wise just behind Solberg and just before Tidemand.. With every heat counting in the standings Duval needs a strong performance in the two heats left, to reach the finals.
With also damaging the Per Eklund Saab in heat two, the crowd can expect an even more spectacular Henning Solberg for the Saturday sessions. He was one of the first drivers to find out that putting the car slightly sideways for the first jump, would help him towards the next corner. That was the start of making ‘sideways’ Henning’s new middle name for the weekend. With the car being the longest wheelbase in the line-up it’s maybe a bit logical too.
Big question for Sunday? Will Petter improve his start and grab the win? Or will it be a WRC-like VW win? More answers tomorrow as well as Q&A with Petter Solberg and Pontus Tidemand to follow soon.