Solberg to drive Escort at Rally Sweden
- 1st February 2013, 9:18am
Petter Solberg will make a brief return to competitive stages at Rally Sweden in a Ford Escort Mk II with his wife Pernilla at his side.
After his announcement to step away from the WRC for 2013, a successful shakedown of his newly built Viking Motorsport Ford Escort MKII as the 0 Car last weekend at Rally Finnskogsvalsen has sparked a desire to return for a one-off running of the Swedish Rally. The legendary Swedish rally is the second event on the 13 round calendar of the 2013 WRC season which held its opener in Monte Carlo over the same weekend the MKII was blazing through ice and snow on the stages in Torsby.
Solberg claims to be doing this both for the fans, and himself, promising “One hell of a show” for both fans and media alike.
“Pernilla and I had a great time this last weekend, and to have the Swedish Rally coming right around the corner, I just couldn’t picture myself simply as a bystander. The car is very proper, and I really want to give my fans something back after my swift decision to depart. We’re very excited for the opportunity”, says Petter.
Whilst he won't be competing in the WRC in 2013, the 2003 FIA World Rally Champion is creating his own RallyCross team to compete for further titles this year. Solberg will contest both the European RallyCross and Global RallyCross series'.
“It feels a bit like getting back to my roots!” Petter says.
“My motorsport career started with RallyCross. I earned Silver medals in RallyCross and Hill Climb in Norway in 1994, Gold the two following years. Back then, in 1996, I actually considered the European RallyCross series for my longterm future but it turned out that Rally would pull me in. I devoted 15 years of my life to rally before calling an end to it in December. Some of the best years of my life..” adds Solberg.
“I have received many offers to drive in various forms of motorsport, cars and teams since our announcement. However, I feel that the opportunities that the two major series are presenting from here on out starting in 2013 is the most progressive and coolest sport.. It’s a place where I can be myself. Once again I can work closely with my sponsors, be very close to the fans, have my own team of qualified people, and be my own boss.
It’s a great mix.. Where else could I remain in a powerful awd turbo car which is more or less a WRC car aside from the extra 300hp, and have between five and eight others around me spitting fire as well?! That to me is just too hard to pass up.”
Solberg added, “RallyCross is a perfect automotive action sport. It has close fights between powerful cars, it’s an arena sport, it’s very accessible, and it’s easy to follow with plenty of racing throughout the day all in one place. Understand this, it is quite a show to be seen and heard!
"I really want to become a Champion at least one more time in my career! You know me; I am a showman and I want to make some noise. RallyCross will fit me perfectly.”
Solberg is currently building a Citroën DS3 RallyCross car, which will not be ready for another month. During this time of preparation, he will continue discussions, and explore both series' for the best fit, and best global broadcast packages.
The new Team including members, sponsors, and livery will be presented at a later date.
Opening Rounds for both Series are as follows:
European RX - England March 30 – April 1 2013
Global RallyCross - XGames Brazil April 20th 2013
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