The land of opportunity. We’re going to America. And we’re very excited about it. It’s time for Austin, Texas and the Circuit of the Americas.
Before we get there, though, Petter and Oliver are going to space. More accurately, they’re going to Houston to see NASA’s Johnson Space Center (Centre in English, English instead of American English). If Petter comes away from there without a plan for the perfect launch, we’ll want to know why.
Anything else? Oh yeah, just the two FIA World Rallycross Championship titles we’re currently fighting for. Seventeen points would be enough for Johan to complete a successful title defence in America. As we all know, Johan’s a master at top qualifying, so one more of those and a semi-final start would do the trick and return him to the top of the world. Then again, there’s a 10th win from the last 11 starts to be had if he wins. Now, wouldn’t that be a nice way to seal the deal…
Pernilla, tell us why you’re excited?
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team principal Pernilla Solberg
“It is a big thing for the whole championship to finally go racing in the USA and it’s something we have all wanted for a long time. And what’s even better, it’s not just America, but it’s the Circuit of the Americas! We have heard the atmosphere there and Austin is just great so we look forward to this event a lot.
“Logistically it is a very demanding event for all teams. Just a few days ago we were racing in Riga and today (Friday) all cars and spare parts will be loaded into the aeroplane to Austin. We can’t bring as much as we would to any other event so we have to make sure we have packed the right things. Then again it is the same tight schedule when we return and have to go straight to Buxtehude, so it has been a lot of extra planning for this particular event.
“There is a lot at stake, we know Johan could secure his title at COTA – fingers crossed – and we all want to try and make the event a very special one indeed for him, but of course also for Petter and the whole team.
“We have seen the circuit at Formula 1 races before, so we know something about the infrastructure and things like that, but we don’t know so much about how much grip the gravel will give at the exit of turn one; how the joker lap will work, that kind of thing.
“As well as that, we have to make sure the logistics work and that’s always exciting in another way when we’re going somewhere new. We go to tracks like Höljes and Buxtehude and we know where we’re going and what we’re going to get from there. This time, we don’t know what’s coming and we don’t know what we’re going to get.
Johan, do we dare talk about the championship?
Johan Kristoffersson, defending FIA World Rallycross Champion
“You know I say all the time that I’m not thinking too much to the championship and really just focusing on the races that are right in front of me. Do you think anybody is believing that?
“Honestly, I try not to think too much about what could happen, what might happen if this happens or that happens. But then when you are in the gym or sitting on an aeroplane for a long time, then your mind wanders a little bit and, of course, you think a bit to this thing.
“What won’t change is my approach. OK, I have some gap (73 points) to the guy in second, so I can maybe afford to take some more risks with the races. But I want to drive clean, stay out of trouble and do what we have to do. Racing in America’s going to be really exciting, I can’t wait to get out there, look at the track and find out what this thing is going to be like.”
Petter, you’ve been to Circuit of the Americas before. Tell us more…
Petter Solberg, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team owner/driver and triple FIA world champion
“I was out there for the launch earlier this year and the track looked really good. It’s going to be a fast one, which is what the drivers really like and it looked like a real challenge with some interesting corners – hopefully some good places to overtake.
“There’s always something special about a new track and a new venue, but being there at the first time for the championship and the team to compete in America will be a nice experience. As well as the track layout, I think we should be in for a good atmosphere with the fans as well – it’s nice to be there to introduce America to World Rallycross.
“Before we get there though, Oliver and I are going to NASA to look into space.”
Petter Solberg (NOR)
World RX starts: 58
World RX wins: 10
World RX titles: 2
Johan Kristoffersson (SWE)
World RX starts: 49
World RX wins: 17
World RX titles: 1
World RX of America data
Circuit length: 806m
Asphalt/gravel: 63% – 37%