Posted by: wrcnf1 | February 12, 2009

Petter Solberg Launches Rally Team

Petter Solberg's Citroen Xsara

Petter Solberg's Citroen Xsara

On February 6th, former world rally champion Petter Solberg launched his own team just in time for Rally Norway. The Petter Solberg Rally Team will see Petter teaming up with his long-time co-driver Phil Mills but they will be in the cockpit of a 2006 spec Citroen Xsara WRC. Coming one week before his home rally in Norway it gave Petter and his team just enough time to get some necessary testing done to find the ideal setup for Rally Norway. From all accounts on his blog, the test went well and the team has completed the recce and are ready for the rally.

I am certainly glad that Petter was able to find a way to compete in his home event and the rest of the season. Simply because Petter is a great character and the world rally championship needs some excitement right now. It would also be great for the championship if Petter can put his older WRC machine into a competitive position with the manufacturer teams because with only two manufacturers another car capable of finishing on the podium would be welcomed.

My only doubt is whether Petter can get his Xsara to stay competitive with the likes of Loeb, Sordo, Latvala and Hirvonen among others on different surfaces. We already know that the Xsara was excellent on tarmac but surely the Ford Focus must have improved on tarmac enough to make it really difficult for Petter to fight for points. I am not saying that he won’t be able to be competitive but I am not expecting him to win either. Although thats the beauty of the whole situation, Petter would certainly be an underdog and what better to spice up the championship than for a former champion who has been winless for a while to surprise everyone on his home rally in a new (old) car.

I hope he gets it done!

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