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With the FIA World Rallycross Championship won last time out in Italy, Petter Solberg’s other priority was to maintain his 100 per cent record of reaching the final. Today, in Istanbul, he did it again.  

Unfortunately, a technical problem with the PSRX Citroen DS3 Supercar kept the Norwegian two-time world champion out of the race for a record-breaking fifth victory in the season. Petter already holds the record with four wins this year, but a fifth would be nice. That’s the aim for Argentina next month.
Petter said: “This season has been fantastic. Before we started 2014, our true goal was to qualify for every single final to put ourselves in the best possible position to win the first ever FIA World RX Championship title. We’ve done one and the other’s still on target.
“I have to say, 11 finals out of 11 possible is amazing. It’s true that we didn’t start the final of World RX of Finland due to a semi-final incident, but we still qualified in the top six. Of my rivals, Reinis Nitiss has been in seven finals; Toomas Heikkinen, Andreas Bakkerud and Timmy Hansen have been in six. Those are also my closest rivals in the championship, so I’m pretty pleased with 11.
“It’s that performance which has given me the World Championship crown in 2014; stability and consistency has been the key in winning the title. Look at my positions in the finals I finished: 1-6-2-7-3-4-1-1-1-3-6. That would make an average of 3.2 in placings – that’s the consistency I’m talking about.
“I had already won the title in Italy two weeks ago, but I came to Turkey more hungry than ever to win the race. I didn’t succeed due to a technical problem that started in the semi-finals and that we were not able to repair during the small amount of time until the final (10 minutes). This was actually quite a tough weekend for the team – we had a fuel issue in the heats which meant I wasn’t able to fight for a front row in the semis. My mechanics worked very hard and tried everything they could, but it just wasn’t enough time.
“When I was firing the engine up on the grid, I knew it wouldn’t work. So I came off the start line without any performance in the car and just drove to the side and out of the track on the first lap. Congratulations to Andreas Bakkerud for winning the dramatic race in front of Timmy Hansen and Topi Heikkinen.
“I’m not disappointed – as ever, everybody in the team gave 100 per cent. The only downside is that I really wanted to show my very best to the 40 people who had travelled to Turkey with us from my main sponsor Teng Tools.
“Having said that, it’s hard to be too down when you’ve secured the world championship three races from the end and won 20 heats – that’s 30 per cent of the heats in 2014. I’ve had a fantastic year, no doubt about it!
“Now we’re on a 40-day break from racing until World RX of Argentina at the end of November. Trust me, nobody will rest. We are working flat out for next season and we need every hour and every day to sort out what we do and who we do it with.”
One thing we liked about Istanbul:
Making the final for the 11th time in 11 races.
One thing we didn’t like about Istanbul:
Not being able to spray my 40 friends from Teng with champagne. I’ll get you next time…
Final result:
1 Andreas Bakkerud             5m55.902s
2 Timmy Hansen                  5m57.008s
3 Toomas Heikkinen             6m01.467s
4 Anton Marklund                6m04.847s
5 Henning Solberg               6m40.400s
6 Petter Solberg                N/A
Championship positions:
1 Petter Solberg                   250pts
2 Toomas Heikkinen                200pts
3 Reinis Nitiss                        182pts
4 Timmy Hansen                    179pts
5 Andreas Bakkerud               173pts
6 Anton Marklund                  159pts
Next time out (World RX of Argentina, November 28-29)
We’re heading for the hills: the Sierras Grandes (pretty much slap, bang in the middle of Argentina) actually. South America’s World RX round is in the city of San Luis – where the locals are known as puntanos. So, we’ll see you among the puntanos for the final time this year. If you’re around, come and say hello to the world champion. 

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