Solberg, who won the 2003 World Rally Championship, hasn’t competed since 2019 when he took a fairytale WRC2 win at Wales Rally GB.

Five years on from that victory, he will pilot a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in his return – a car both he and his son, Oliver, have driven.

“It was calling me,” Solberg said. “Every time I was in the workshop, the car was telling me to use it!

“Rallying is everything to us. Last year I took my mother for a ride in my Citroën C4 WRC on one stage of Royal Rally. That was nice, but Oliver was having all the fun and winning the rally.”

The excitement from Petter is clear, but a top result is not necessarily his goal.

“I don’t go there trying to win, it’s for the show and to enjoy the driving,” he said.

“It’s five years since I did Rally GB, nothing since then. The speed is incredible in the championship and you can’t just switch it back on.”

Solberg will have Jonas Andersson in the co-driver’s seat for his return.

“We live close by together, but we didn’t compete [together] before. I am really looking forward to this, being back in the car is something special.

Oliver Solberg in the Polo last year. Photo: Matt Whitten

“Look at Carlos [Sainz], he is incredible to be winning Dakar and doing what he is doing. He was my team-mate in 1999, and a big and special person for me in my career and still he is like an inspiration.”

If the Solberg/Andersson pairing can make a remarkable return and win the Royal Rally of Scandinavia, it would be a second straight win for the Solberg family after Oliver’s win at the event in 2023.

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Luke Whitten

Luke is part of the third generation of the RallySport Magazine team and holds a degree in marketing & communications.
Luke is part of the third generation of the RallySport Magazine team and holds a degree in marketing & communications.

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