Petter Solberg steps into rallycross

by Henk de Winter |

Petter Solberg and Jean-Luc Pailler having fun. © Henk de Winter / RallycrossWorld.comHis Twitter message this afternoon was very clear; “Might as well hear it from me directly. My decision has been made. I will be competing in rallycross in 2013.”

Petter Solberg: “It feels a bit like getting back to my roots.” Solbergs motorsport career started in rallycross. The 2003 FIA World Rally Champion earned in 1994 silver medals in rallycross and hill-climb in Norway and gold the two following years. “Back then, in 1996, I actually considered the European Rallycross Championship for my longterm future. It  turned out that rally would pull me in. In december 2012 Solberg decided to call it and end. “Some of the best years of my life”, adds Solberg.

Solberg received the past couple of weeks many offers to get a drive in various types of motorsport, cars and teams. He thinks that rallycross is one of the most progressive and coolest motorsports. “It’s a place where I can be myself. 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 four wheel drive turbo car, which is more or less a WRC car aside from the extra 300hp. And have between 5 and 8 others around me spitting fire as well? That to me is just too hard to pass up.” Solberg says: “Rallycross is a perfect action sport. It has close fights between powerful cars. It’s an arena sport, very accessible, easy to follow with plenty of racing throughout the day all in one place. It’s a show which has to be seen and heard.” The Norwegian wants to become champion at least one more time in his career. “I am a showman and I want to make some noise. Rallycross will fit me perfectly.”

Solberg about the two main rallycross championships, the FIA European Rallycross Championship and the Global Rallycross Championship. “In Europe, IMG is rejuvenating the historic FIA European Rallycross Championship which has 10 events in Europe with a very solid competition and a great plan to produce very fun weekends for the fans and sponsors. On the other side, in America, you have the Global Rallycross Championship which is run by a good group and connected to ESPN. Very solid competition there, with some good friends racing there like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana just to name a few.” The GRC consists out of a 10 round schedule which spreads events across the USA, including the 4  X-Games stops in Brazil, Spain, Germany and in the USA. Permanent GRC drivers/teams are invited to each X-Games event and specific invitations will be given to drivers/teams in the FIA European Rallycross Championship. Solberg is currently building a Citroën DS3 Rallycross car. During the time of further preparation of the car, he will continue discuss and look into both series what fits him best and has the best global tv broadcast package.

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