Happy feelings at the Petter Solberg World Rally Team
A smiling and relieved Petter Solberg drove into sixth place overall in Rally Norway last week-end, a result which allowed the newly-founded and very happy Petter Solberg World Rally Team to score three points in the Drivers` Championship on its debut rally.
"I am very happy about the sixth place," declared Solberg. "I mean, four weeks ago I had no car and no team, and look at us now. I am so proud of everybody in the team that has been working flat out for the past weeks, and also my friends and family. Without them none of this would be possible."
At the controls of a Citroen Xsara WRC, Solberg and co-driver Phil Mills started the second round of this year`s World Rally Championship with a fantastic stage win in Oslo Thursday evening, with thousands of spectators watching and cheering them on.
It was a dream start for the team, but things turned around on Friday when the duo lost some time due to team owner Solberg`s decision regarding a spare tyre.
"I took only one spare tyre with me in the car, just to save some weight. Not a very good decision," he admitted. "Changing only one tyre caused me problems with the grip due to unbalance – my decision and my fault!"
On Saturday they had to stop in a stage because of an overheated engine.
Mills quickly get out of the Xsara and removed a piece of kevlar that was blocking the air intake.
Another issue appeared on Sunday`s two final stages which turned out to be quite exciting due to a damaged clutch. It was enough to have Solberg wondering if he would be forced to retire so close to his home rally`s completion.
"Honestly, I didn`t really think we would make it to the finish," the Norwegian related. "But we did and we also managed to keep our 6th."
Overall, Solberg looks back at Rally Norway with satisfaction, especially since he was able to remain in the points zone despite the competition`s higher-end machines: "I think we did a good job this weekend. We were really fast on some splits, and they are driving cars that should go much faster."
"Now we have to do some evaluation and make some plans for the next rallies," Solberg stated. "Cyprus will be quite a challenge, and I will not settle for 6th."
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