Petter Solberg WRC Career: The Final Chapter

Petter Solberg announced on the 12th of January 2010 that he had acquired 2 Citroën C4 WRC with 2009-specs from Citroën and that he would be competing in the 2010 World Rally Championship. Petter struggled to find the pace and rhythm on the Swedish Rally, and finished in the 9th position. earning him two points. He immediately bounced back in second round of the season, Solberg held the lead on the Corona Mexico Rally, with a 27 seconds gap down to Sebastien Loeb on 3rd.

Petter Solberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Petter Solberg sweeping the road on day 2 Saturday, Sebastian Loeb advanced to a 55 seconds lead by the end of Rally day, with Petter coming in 2nd place 2.7 seconds ahead of Sebastien Ogier. A gruelling battle for 2nd position took place on Sunday, with Petter Solberg coming in close behind Ogier with a marginal 0.6 seconds going into the final super special stage. Petter Solberg set a record for fastest stage time by 1.4 seconds which secured his 2nd place podium finish, marking the best result by Petter to date. In the 3rd Round of the season and on the Rally Jordan, Petter Solberg trailed Latvala by 16 seconds, Ogier by 19 seconds and Loeb 43 seconds going into the final day.

Petter Solberg

Sebastien Ogier was made road sweeper and was ultimately sacrificed for Loeb in a new level of tactics, while he did receive penalties and lost his good position. The rules were subsequently changed for the next rally after receiving harsh criticism. All of the other drivers kept their positions with Petter Solberg scoring a 3rd place podium. In Rally Turkey, between the 16th and the 18th April, Petter Solberg held a fantastic position throughout the whole rally, and had a serious chance to challenge for the win on the final day, positioned 2nd on the track, 16 seconds after Loeb.
With multiple stages cancelled on safety grounds due to too much mud, and later a close call meet with a tree on the muddy conditions, Solberg conceded to secure the 2nd position.

Ogier, Hirvonen, Sordo and Latvala all had offs/incidents, hindering them from challenging Petter’s position. This result guaranteed Petter Solberg’s second in the Driver’s Championship standings, 6 points ahead of Latvala and only 1 point ahead of Hirvonen, but a full 40 points after Sebastien Loeb, with 4 out of the 13 rallies already completed completed. In Rally New Zealand, Petter did not adapt any road position tactics, and took 1st on day one.

Saturday’s sweeping stages left Solberg in 5th place, 54 seconds behind, and out of reach of a victory. The final 30kilometers stage of the rally, left 4 drivers within 18 seconds of the lead, which led to an epic showdown for the win, between Loeb, Latvala, Solberg and Ogier. Three drivers went all out and took a high-risk approach, maximum-attack which none of them managed to finish without accident. Loeb and Ogier both had a costly spin, and Petter want too fast around a high speed curve, hit a pole and retired from third position. Only Latvala remained flawless and claimed his 3rd WRC win. Sebastien Loeb crashed twice during this rally, yet still somehow managed to finish only fifteen seconds in behind.

Petter Solberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the 11th of June 2010, PSWRT revealed that co-driver Phil Mills had decided to quit his seat to pursue another career in life. This brought an end to the 152 events unbroken run of the duo competing together, after 11 seasons and 11 years. During their partnership, the duo had driven for Subaru, Ford and for their very own Citroën team. Together winning 13 world rallies and the 03’ world title. On the 29th of June, PSWRT announced new member Chris Patterson as Petter’s new co-driver.

In the tarmac event Rally Bulgaria, and their first rally together – Petter Solberg and Chris Patterson put in an amazing performance; completed five stage wins and finished 3rdplace in behind with 6.8 seconds off Dani Sordo.

After more podiums in Fence, Spain and Japan. Petter Solberg finished in 2nd place on Rally GB, and achieved his goal of a top three finish in the championship.

2011 Season

On the 14th of January 2011, PSWRT announced that Petter Solberg will be competing in the 2011 WRC in a Citroën DS3 WRC.

In the following month, Petter had his licence suspended in Sweden after the police had caught him driving 32 k/ph above the legal speed limit while, he was on his way to the 5th stage of the country’s WRC round. Co-driver Chris Patterson stepped in to take up the wheel instead.

Petter Solberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Season

Ford announced that Petter Solberg will be returning to the Ford team for the 2012 season.

The first round in Monte-Carlo saw Petter’s first podium finishing in 3rd. The Norwegian came in at 4th in Sweden while Mexico brought him a podium as he secured third place entry. Solberg finished fourth before Hirvonnen was stripped of his victory in Portugal – because the car violated regulations.  Solberg was later promoted to 3rd place, bringing him yet another podium, and a higher placement in the overall table, in at second, and just 4 points behind Loeb, who lead the table. In December, Petter Solberg announced that he would sit out of the World Rally Cross 2013 season.

He went on to win his first FIA WRC with his PSRX Citroën DS3 Supercar.

Petter Solberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 Season

In 2013, Petter Solberg entered a new FIA on his own at Torsby and established a new team to compete in all 9 rounds of the FIA ERX (European Rallycross Championship), where he finished at the 8th position in the overall of the Super cars category.

Petter Solberg
Oslo Motor Show 2013
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2014 Season

In 2014, Solberg became the first FIA WRX (World Rallycross Champion) with his Citroën DS3 Super car. Therefore, Solberg is also the first holds the record of two FIA World titles in two different motorsports.
Petter Solberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Season

Petter Solberg partnered with co-driver Liam Doran to challenge for the SDRX (Solberg Doran Rallycross) team in the 2015 season. They successfully defended World Rally Cross Champtionship title, securing the win and title in the last round of the championship at Rosario in Argentina.

Petter Solberg

Petter Solberg WRC Career: Welcome to The Grind!

Petter Solberg is considered amongst the current elite of Rally, but it was not always  rainbows and butterflies for the Norwegian champion (and by all means, it still isn’t).

Solberg had to endure harsh obstacles during his career but it is that fighting spirit that sets him apart from the others – we continue with part two of our in-depth look at his competitive years.

In case you missed part one, you can read all about it here

Petter Solberg WRC Career 2006 – 2009

In 2006, Petter Solberg continued his partnership with the Subaru World Rally Team, driving the newest Impreza WRC. Solberg secured a 5 million kroner (€500,000) sponsorship deal from 24SevenOffice, a Norwegian record. His results, though, were inconsistent in comparison to Sébastien Loeb. While he went on to win five rally victories consecutively in a privately run Citroën Xsara WRC, his winning of the title was unhampered even by his broken arm at an advanced stage of the season, Petter Solberg fought back hard but unfortunately he could only muster a handful of runner-up places on rallies all season — in Australia, Mexico and Argentina. Failing to put himself any higher than sixth in his 2006 season’s final points standings – bringing an end to the chain of top three drivers’ championship appearances which the Subaru team had enjoyed since 1994.

Petter Solberg

Solberg did get his 2007 season off to a more positive start, managing a best finish of 6th place on the Monte Carlo Rally. He was bested by his brother, Henning in the race for the final podium place in Mexico, and surrendered a very plausible 3rd place finish in Sweden after losing substantial amount of time. In Argentina and Sardinia Petter Solberg struggled with his new Impreza — consistent technical problems caused him to retire twice and crash down the leader board in Italy.

Solberg picked up pace in Portugal and took 3rd place on the Acropolis Rally to mark a turnaround in his quality, although even Greek event didn’t go as planned for the young Norwegian as he experienced more technical problems.

Despite Subaru team’s confidence in their car’s stability and performance built up during season break tests, the Impreza S12A failed him miserably again — Petter Solberg had to retire on day 2 in Finland, after catastrophic handling and steering problems which Subaru team’s engineers were unable to cope with. On the next round, Solberg went to Rallye Deutschland, where he finished 6th place, the car by itself was decent throughout the race, but Solberg hit a protruding rock on SS5 crippling the steering, which had cost the Norwegian a significant amount of lost time because his technical team was unable to fully fix it. The New Zealand event was yet another trouble-ridden exit for Solberg — he described having similar handling difficulties to those he had experienced in Finland earlier in the season.

Petter Solberg

Rally Catalunya was a difficult rally for Petter Solberg.  The Norwegian struggled to maintain consistent pace and in the end he placed 6th and almost 3 minutes adrift from the winner, Sébastien Loeb. Solberg was however pleased with changes made in the car setup for day 3, which seemed promising for the following round in Tour de Corse. Unfortunately for Petter, the setup wasn’t as good as he had hoped for and once again had issues with handling which, along with an engine stall on the start of SS5, resulted in a dissatisfying 5th place, finishing behind Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala. In Japan, his Subaru team’s home event, Solberg clocked multiple top-ten times in the early stages, but as his bad luck would have it, he crashed on SS5 then, probably due to damage incurred during the accident, his gearbox locked firm in sixth gear, forcing the frustrated driver to retire for the day. He later rejoined the competition and finished sixteenth, managing to score two points for his team.
On his 33rd birthday, Petter Solberg finished 5th on Rally Ireland, dubbing it “the most difficult rally he has ever done”.

Petter Solberg 2006 Rally Cyprus

On the last day of the 2007 season, Wales Rally GB, Petter Solberg put together a consistent performance and won the struggle for fourth against Spaniard Dani Sordo even though he had hit a rock that very morning and had minor handling issues. This result allowed his Subaru team to retain their 3rd place in the Manufacturers’ Championship, and Petter ended the 07’ season in 5th place overall.

He also participated in the 07’ Race of Champions, representing his homeland, Norway, along with his brother, Henning. He was unable to win the first race with David Coulthard, but bounced back in the Nation’s Cup and the Norwegian brothers managed to make their way to the semis.

Petter Solberg 2007 season

Solberg and Atkinson were retained by Subaru for the 2008 season. Petter started his season with a 5th place finish in Monte Carlo and 4th place finish in Sweden, but went on to retire outside point-scoring positions in the next 4 events. The newly introduced hatchback homologation of the Subaru Impreza, the WRC2008, catapulted the Norwegian to runner-up spot behind Sébastien Loeb in the Acropolis Rally.

Acropolis remained his only podium of the season but Solberg went on to break his personal best record in consecutive point-scoring finishes, He finished in 6th place overall in the drivers’ championship, 4 points short of teammate Chris Atkinson.

Following Suzuki’s announcement of their WRC participation withdrawal on 15 December 2008, the Subaru team announced that they will not be participating in the World Rally Championship any longer. Solberg was left without a ride and was forced to sit out the 2009 season opening Rally Ireland.  After thorough evaluation of various private funding options including Citroën and Ford cars, Petter Solberg confirmed his acquirement of a Citroën Xsara WRC.

Petter Solberg

On the 1st of February 2009, Solberg revealed that 5 sponsors were in place for the 09’ season. The sponsors announced were Pareto, Microsoft, Hurtigruta Carglass and two undisclosed sponsors.

On the 6th of February 2009, Petter Solberg officially announced the Petter Solberg World Rally Team, with co-driver Phil Mills. A 13-member team served Solberg and his 06-spec. Citroën Xsara WRC. His team employed ex-Subaru WRC members François-Xavier “FX” Demaison as chief engineer and Ken Rees as team manager. PSWRT also employed Solberg’s ex-SWRT member and personal friend. Tore Dahl, as a mechanic. PSWRT also brought in, 40 year experienced and close family friend. Sven-Inge Neby.

It took a while for Solberg to adapt to his new car during their first round, but eventually Petter Solberg and Phil Mills managed to secure a sixth place finish and 3 points in the drivers’ championship. PSWRT installed a new engine in the Citroën, which improved Solberg’s performance to finish third in the Cyprus Rally, being the first true privately funded team to be in the podium since Malcolm Wilson’s team back in 93’. Petter Solberg managed to maintain his performance and repeat his feel in Sardinia Rally.

Petter Solberg

Solberg retained his consistent fight for third and fourth place finishes throughout the next three rallies; in Portugal, in Argentina although he forced to retire from third position due to loss of fuel pressure on the final lap and Italy. PSWRT were forced to “threaten” to swap to a Peugeot 307 WRC, unless they received the necessary 2006 spec upgrades for the Citroën Xsara. The team promptly received the upgrades (mainly improved mechanical differentials and intercooler) for Sardinia, which gave Solberg the fighting chance he needed to defend his 3rd place, in very hot conditions. Petter Solberg expressed that the driving team was unable to push harder in smouldering temperatures, and his team remained open to analyse what to do for the next competitive events.

Petter Solberg

PSWRT were believed to be contemplating an upgrade to a Peugeot 307 CC but finally decided to stick with the Citroën Xsara.  Solberg decided to miss the Australia event to concentrate on finding a better performing, competitive car. Solberg tested a Ford Focus RS in Britain and a WRC Citroën C4 WRC in France. PSWRT later confirmed that Solberg would drive a C4 at the Rally Catalunya and Wales Rally GB for the final two rounds of the season. His car was to be an 08’-spec C4, but would include upgrades to bring it as close as possible to the factory cars of Dani Sordo and Sébastien Loeb. Petter Solberg continued to pilot for his own Petter Solberg World Rally Team, but was a nominated points scorer for the CJT (Citroen Junior Team) at the Wales Rally GB. He finished in fourth position, and ended up fifth in the overall 09’ Drivers’ Championship standings.

Petter Solberg WRC Career: The Beginning

Petter Solberg is far from the quiet, stereotypical Scandinavian that you would imagine. The amiable and extravagant Norwegian lives his life how he drives his cars – always on the edge, with passion, panache and vigor.

What makes Petter Solberg’s career so amazing? We take an in-depth look at his WRC competitive years.

Petter Solberg WRC Career 2000 – 2005

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS 2000 – 2005
2003 World Rally Champion
2002, 2004, 2005 World Rally Championship runner-up

In 2000, Solberg left Ford’s M-Sport to sign with the Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT), then led by a driving staff of Juha Kankkunen and Richard Burns. Solberg’s first podium had to wait until the Acropolis Rally, Greece the following year, as he altruistically forsook as many of his own points as possible, dropping voluntarily from 4th to 5th in Sanremo, to assist Burns, who was his senior team mate in sneaking into victory.

In 2002, in the light of Burns’ departure to Peugeot. Petter Solberg teamed up with four-time champion Tommi Mäkinen and won his first ever WRC event in Wales (Wales Rally GB) after a consistent display of driving skill and prowess and a crippling accident by Marcus Grönholm, facilitated his victory.

Petter Solbeg

In 2003, Solberg beat fellow Citroen-mounted WRC young-gun, Sébastien Loeb at the Wales Rally GB, securing his second win in Wales and his first World Rally Championship title. Solberg became the first Norwegian to win the drivers’ world title. He remains the only Norwegian to win the world title.

During his title defence, Petter Solberg lost his title to up and coming Sébastien Loeb, winning only five of a possible sixteen events, including a hat-trick in Wales Rally GB. An unfortunate string of bad luck was encapsulated; resulting in three DNFs (Did Not Finish or retirement) in mid-season.

Petter Solberg
Petter Solberg in 2003 world championship preparing for the first WC rally in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Petter Solberg welcomed a new team-mate for his 05’ season in Australian Chris Atkinson, replacing the dissatisfying Finn who was former champion Mikko Hirvonen’s team mate in SWRT throughout 2004. Solberg kicked off his 2005 season positively as he sought an immediate answer to Sébastien Loeb, winning two of the first three events, in Mexico and Sweden. His success coincided with the early seizing of a championship lead. Solberg was, however, soon overtaken by a determined Loeb, and was left to score 71 points for the year, catapulting Peugeot’s Marcus Grönholm into the championship runner-up spot on a tie break.

He added an unwanted Rally GB win at Wales after the tragic death of fellow competitor Markko Märtin’s co-driver, Michael Park, with Sébastien Loeb sacrificing his victory on the road in order to avoid having to celebrate a victory. Petter Solberg won three rallies in all, though was very much affected by a continuous string bad luck while challenging for victory at the end of the season, most notably on the Telstra Rally Australia, where he was forced to retire from the race after striking a stray kangaroo.

Petter Solberg

 

EuroLotto Proudly Sponsors Petter Solberg.

EuroLotto  is extremely excited and would like to extend our full support to Petter and his team. Join us next week for more exclusives on Solberg’s career.

Petter Solberg

Petter Solberg: Born With A Drive For Glory

We all love reading stories about winners; stories of champions that rose from rags to riches – the very select few that dedicated their lives, time and passion to greatness! This story is of one such man.

Petter Solberg was born 18 November 1974, is a Norwegian professional rallycross and rally driver. Petter made his debut in the World Rally Championship in 1998 and was enlisted by the Ford factory team in 1999. Within a year, Petter found success after beginning his partnership with the Subaru World Rally Team.

Petter Solberg at the podium ceremony on Rally Norway 2007.
Petter Solberg at the podium ceremony on Rally Norway 2007.

With the Subaru works team, Petter Solberg finished runner-up to then champion Marcus Grönholm in 2002 and later went on to become the first Norwegian to win the drivers’ world title in 2003.

The following two seasons, Solberg finished runner-up to Sébastien Loeb. Following Subaru’s decision to withdraw from the World Rallycross at the end of the 2008 season, Petter Solberg secured private backing to start the Petter Solberg World Rally Team and competed with a Citroën C4 WRC, Citroën Xsara WRC, and a Citroën DS3 WRC.

Petter Solberg
Petter Solberg

In 2014, Solberg became the inaugural champion of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, after 9 podium finishes and 5 race wins. He continued his title success the following year.

Born with a drive for glory!
Petter Solberg inherited his interest of motorsport through his parents, father Terje and mother Tove, who were fans of Bilcross (an “Amateur version” of Norwegian rallycross, equivalent to the Swedish Folkrace) rallycross enthusiasts and competitors. Petter used to help rebuild competition cars around the home farm, as he was not yet old enough to drive. Solberg entered his first competitive race in 1992 when he competed in the Bilcross, only one day after he got his driving license and three days after his 18th birthday. He went on to become Norwegian champion in hillclimb as well as rallycross champion in 1995; winning 19 out of 21 events and again the following year – winning 15 out of 19 events.

In 95’ he took part in his maiden rally, the Norwegian Rally Bjørkelangen along with his Swedish female co-driver – Maud, by driving a Volvo 240 in the Volvo Original class. In 98’ Solberg became the Norwegian Rally Champion after his brother Henning won this title five times in a row between 1999 and 2003.

Petter Solberg
Petter Solberg

Petter Solberg took a total of 17 podiums and secured 3rd place in the World Rallycross title race in 2010. In 2013, Solberg switched back to Rallycross with considerable success, winning the first ever FIA world title in 2014.

Solberg made his first appearance at the Race Of Champions at Wembley in 2007, partnering with his brother Henning for the ROC Nations Cup semi-finals. He performed even better on his return in 2014, taking the title alongside Tom Kristensen for Team Nordic.

Solberg Ready For the Loheac, France.

Petter has his sights firmly set on first place at the Loheac this weekend. The champ predicts an intense battle between himself and bitter rival and runner-up, Mattias Ekström from Sweden; who currently sits 3 points behind Solberg’s 161 lead to Ekström 159 in the 2016 Supercar WRX Standing.

NEXT EVENT
LOHÉAC (FRANCE)
03 SEP-04 SEP 2016

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
2014 FIA World Rallycross Champion
2003 World Rally Champion
13 WRC victories, over 50 podiums

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS
2002, 2004, 2005 World Rally Championship runner-up
1998 World Rally Championship debut
1998 Norwegian Rally Champion
1997 Norwegian champion in hillclimbing
1995, 1996 Norwegian champion in rallycross and hillclimbing

ROC HIGHLIGHTS
Years contested: 2007, 2014, 2015
2014 Won the ROC Nations Cup in partnership with Tom Kristensen for Team Nordic
2007 Reached the semi-finals of the ROC Nations Cup, partnering brother Henning for Team Norway

EuroLotto are Proud Sponsors of Petter Solberg.

EuroLotto is all about winners and big dreams! We are very proud to announce that we are official sponsors of Petter Solberg and his team. We will be following their progress closely and bringing you the latest news and updates. We wish him the best of luck in the Loheac this weekend!

Petter Solberg