No more Xsara – C4 or Focus for Solberg
- 27th August 2009, 2:24pm
Former World Rally Champion, Petter Solberg, has confirmed he will not drive his Citroen Xsara on the last two rallies of the 2009 WRC season as he is on the verge of securing a factory-spec Citroen C4 or Ford Focus.
Solberg has been negotiating with both Ford and Citroen in an effort to upgrade his 2006 specification Xsara to a more competitive car for the 2010 season as well as this year's final two events (Spain and Wales). For this reason, he has decided to miss next week's Repco Rally Australia.
The Norwegian tested a 2007 specification Citroen C4 WRC on gravel in France last week and has since met with M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson to discuss the possibilities at Ford - the team he left to join Subaru in 2000.
Solberg told wrc.com that a decision on whether to go down the Ford or Citroen route was imminent - and might be made as early as today - but he already knew he had driven his last WRC rally in the Xsara.
"I'm still working hard on the deal, so I can't talk too much about what's been going on, but the test in the C4 was enough for me to decide not to drive the Xsara in Spain or GB," he told wr.com. "It's a good car, it works well, and maybe I'll use it in some other [promotional] events this year but I need to go forward."
With the chances of securing a fully funded manufacturer seat in 2010 looking slim, Solberg's WRC future is now most likely to involve a sponsor-supported partnership with Ford or Citroen - but still under the Petter Solberg World Rally Team banner.
"The test, and the meetings I have had with Ford and Citroen are all about finding out and taking the right decision for the future. It has to be a proper, full spec [car] if I'm going to drive next year and for that I need very, very good support from the team," he said.
Despite testing a 2007 specification C4 in France, Solberg said a more up-to-date model would be made available to him if he went the Citroen route. The Ford team, meanwhile, have offered him a 2008-spec Focus.
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