Countdown to WRX of Spain (CEST)

25 Apr 2013


Category: Press Releases Posted 25.04.13 11:13 by

As Petter Solberg gears up for the Round 2 of RallycrossRX in Portugal, we look back at some of his eight visits to the country as part of the WRC in the past.


As former World Rally Champion Petter “Hollywood” Solberg gears up for the second round of his European Rallycross career at Montalegre in Portugal this weekend, we look back at some of the highlights of his 8 visits to the country as part of the WRC in the past…


1999: Petter keeps his Focus

The 1999 Rally Portugal was Petter’s very first outing in Portugal and only his second Rally in a Ford Focus WRC, following his spectacular debut on the Safari Rally in Africa where he finished an amazing fifth. It would have been so easy for Petter to get carried away, but he worked hard, learned the stages, and came home in a solid 11th. Now, 14 years later, he makes another Portugal debut this weekend at Montalegre. And if anything, the work gets even harder.


2001: Petter goes mud-wrestling

This was one of the muddiest and messiest Rallies that Petter – and all his rivals had ever known. Torrential rain meant that the stages were absolutely soaked and so the gravel turned to mud. The biggest challenge was just staying on the road and Petter was one of the event’s victims, showing good speed before retiring with broken suspension. After this event the World Rally Championship didn’t return to Portugal in 2007 – when the Rally moved from Porto to Faro. The loose-surface section of the Montalegre track consists of sand on top of asphalt: so unless it rains heavily, there shouldn’t be too much mud this weekend.


2007: Petter on the podium

Petter’s best-ever Portuguese result was in 2007, when he finished second to Sébastien Loeb and the all-conquering Citroën C4 WRC (although Petter still remains the only driver ever to have beaten Loeb to the world title in a straight fight: a staggering but true statistic). Petter missed out on the podium at the first Rallycross round at Lydden Hill due to a power steering problem, but he’ll be aiming to be back where he belongs in Montalegre.


2009: “Hollywood” is back!

Fourth may not sound amazing by Petter’s high standards, but under the circumstances it was nothing short of astonishing. Portugal 2009 was only Petter’s third Rally as a privateer after Subaru suddenly withdrew from Rallying at the end of 2008. Undeterred, he secured an ageing Citroën Xsara WRC (which was actually destined for a museum) and finished just off the podium in Portugal. It’s experiences such as these that helped Petter build the successful team that he has around him today. One thing to remember about “Hollywood”: he’s not just a driver but also a team boss, engineering consultant, sponsorship manager… you name it, he does it.


2012: One victory, one podium

Last season, Petter won the Fafe Rallysprint that marked the prelude to Rally Portugal – and he’s hoping to be able to put the experience of a short, sharp sprint in Portugal to good use this weekend in Montalegre. Once the Rally started, Petter was as usual at the sharp end from start to finish. He grabbed the lead, lost it, but then fought his way back up to third, maintaining his position in the top three of the championship. And it’s another podium he’s aiming for this weekend: preferably the top step of it.


2013: ?

Petter has it all to do in Montalegre this weekend, where he will go head-to-head against the biggest names in Rallycross. His plan is a simple one: flat-out, on a mission to add another amazing Portugal memory to the list you see above…


Photo: Petter Solberg had an Easter weekend of ups and downs at Lydden Hill in England. © JKR/ERC24