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Lydden Hill World Rallycross day one: Norwegian Petter Solberg leads Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom after two thrilling heats

By Dan Wright

Norwegian Petter Solberg leads round four of the FIA World Rallycross Championship after topping the timesheets in two thrilling heats at Lydden Hill.

The 2014 world champion joined a field of 29 Supercars at the one-mile Canterbury circuit and, on a day of mixed conditions, put in a brace of strong performaces to head the overnight standings.

The Citroen DS3 pilot has already won two of the opening three rounds this year and currently leads Swedish duo Johan Kristoffersson and Mattias Ekstrom in the Motorsport News World RX of Great Britain event.

Petter Solberg is leading after day one. Picture: Joe Wright
Petter Solberg is leading after day one. Picture: Joe Wright

Solberg got the better of VW Polo man Kristoffersson in an engaging heat two tussle, while double DTM champion Ekstrom leapt up the leaderboard after going seventh quickest in the first heat.

Solberg said: "It’s been a good day for sure. I love competing in the country and really, really want to win at Lydden Hill – it’s such a special place.

"I will do everything I can. I’m in a good position but there’s still a long way to go."

Frenchman Davy Jeanney flew over the jump in heat two. Picture: Joe Wright
Frenchman Davy Jeanney flew over the jump in heat two. Picture: Joe Wright

British wildcard entry Andrew Jordan sits 10th in the standings after struggling in the second heat with visibility in the dust cloud.

Jordan, the 2013 British Touring Car champion, said: "It’s been a bit frustrating. We had a slow puncture in the first heat and then I got stuck in the dust behind another car in the second, which caused me to run wide a couple of times.

"But we’re inside the top 10 and on target to make the semis which is the first aim.”

A field of 29 Supercars made for a packed paddock. Picture: Joe Wright
A field of 29 Supercars made for a packed paddock. Picture: Joe Wright

top 12 qualify for the semi-finals.The Supercar competitors will take part in two further heats tomorrow before the

Sitting in 12th overnight is Brit Guy Wilks who - on his rallycross debut - impressed at the wheel of his JRM Racing-run Mini.

Fellow Brit Andy Scott sits 20th, closely followed by Irishman Ollie O'Donovan and a trio of Britons in the form of Liam Doran, David Binks and Kevin Procter.

Wildcard entry Andrew Jordan rounds the North Bend Hairpin. Picture: Joe Wright
Wildcard entry Andrew Jordan rounds the North Bend Hairpin. Picture: Joe Wright

While Doran struggled with mechanical issues aboard his Citroen DS3 in practice and the first heat, four-time British Rallycross champion Julian Godfrey sits 28th.

On his world championship debut, Canterbury's Tristan Ovenden is 12th overnight in the RX Lites class.

Canterbury's Tristan Ovenden is 12th in RX Lites. Picture: Joe Wright
Canterbury's Tristan Ovenden is 12th in RX Lites. Picture: Joe Wright

The current Swift Sport Rallycross champion showed well in first practice but said he tried too hard in the first heat and struggled with visibility at the Devil's Elbow.

Norwegian Thomas Bryntesson heads the RX Lites, while Mazda RX8 pilot Jan Gabrielsen leads the TouringCars overnight.

Action starts at 10.30am tomorrow. Tickets cost £35.

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