DATE OF BIRTH:
1974, 18 November
Petter Solberg inherited his passion for motorsport from his rallycross-loving parents, who introduced Petter and older brother Henning to the sport. In 1998 he became Norwegian rallycross champion and his performances convinced Ford’s Malcolm Wilson to give him a test and then hire him for the 1999 season. The following year he switched to Subaru, where he would remain for eight seasons.
The early years of the relationship proved a challenge, with numerous offs blighting his progress. However Solberg was maturing and he eventually clinched his first victory at the 2002 running of Rally GB. Then, in 2003, he stepped up to fight Sébastien Loeb for the title, clinching victory over the Frenchman at the season-closing British event to become the first Norwegian to win the World Rally Championship. He would go on to finish both the 2004 and 2005 seasons as runner-up to Loeb, earning his thirteenth and to-date last rally win in Britain. By this time however Solberg had begun to feel less comfortable in the Impreza, the evolution of which did not suit his driving style.
Following Subaru’s withdrawal from the WRC at the conclusion of the 2008 season the 2003 world champion found himself without a works drive for the following year. He subsequently created his own squad, the Petter Solberg World Rally Team, and succeeded in putting in place a full programme with a Citroën Xsara. After electing to skip the opening round in Ireland, Solberg began his season by setting a special stage fastest time in front of his home fans in Norway. He took a podium finish at the next event in Cyprus and would add another with third place in Italy. However the car did not fully match his expectations and potential, leading the team to skip Rally Australia. In Spain he was invited to drive a 2008 spec C4 within the Citroën Junior Team. He eventually finished fifth in the championship, equalling his best result since 2005, despite having missed two rounds. In 2010 he continued to run as a privateer, now campaigning a C4. This allowed him to become a regular visitor to the podium – scoring eight top-three finishes from thirteen rallies – and even fight old foe Loeb for victory at Rally GB. He finished third in the drivers’ standings, two points shy of Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala. Solberg kicks-off the 2011 season by entering the opening round of the IRC, the Monte Carlo Rally, in a Peugeot.
Petter Solberg didn’t have the 2011season he had hoped for. At the controls of a Citroen DS3 WRC, the 2003 world rally champion finished scored just two top three finishes in the 13 round calendar. Podium results in Italy and Australia helped the veteran finish top among the “outsiders” and fifth overall, 112 points adrift of champion Sébastien Loeb. The Petter Solberg World Rally Team is no longer as the Norwegian joins Ford for 2012 as number two driver behind Jari-Matti Latvala.
WHAT MOTORS TV SAYS
Latest News WRC
Loeb ready to race at Rallycross Loheac - 16/05 - 09:01
Loeb about 208 T16: "Like a rocket" - 15/05 - 12:29
3 and counting for Ogier - 15/04 - 07:12
Oh my, Ogier ! - 11/03 - 08:00
Q and A with Sébastien Ogier - 06/03 - 09:35
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