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14 Jun 2013

PR: Solberg’s Highway to Hell

Category: ERC, News Posted 14.06.13 15:45 by

Round 5 of the FIA European Rallycross Championship is the most special one yet – for Petter ‘Hollywood’ Solberg at least, since it will be run in his native Norway.


Before the RallycrossRC circus is going to start its fifth 2013 performance at the Lånkebanen in Hell near the harbour town of Trondheim 2003 World Rally Champion and now Rallycross returnee Petter Solberg was asked some questions about the event on his Norwegian home soil.


Petter, how much are you looking forward to being back on home territory, for the next round of the European Rallycross Championship in Hell this weekend?

PS: “I’m looking forward to it a hell of a lot!”

Very funny! So what’s the actual circuit like and do you have any experience of it?

PS: “Well; actually I do but it’s such a long time ago that I don’t remember it! I drove there when I was competing in Rallycross in 1996 then in 1999 I think we did a demonstration day there with my Toyota Celica rally car. Like I said I don’t really remember it but I generally I remember it being very nice and the track going up and down quite a lot, a bit like a rally stage.”

Is this the most important round of the year for you?

PS: “They’re all important but yes … this is a special one for sure. Not just for me, but for all my sponsors: it’s important for them to do well at home.”

So does that lead to more pressure?

PS: “There’s always pressure wherever you go, you know? And that pressure doesn’t come from the outside: it comes from me; I put it on myself. It’s just because – you know me – when I do something I have to do it 100% properly and flat-out. It has to be right. So there’s definitely pressure but we still always enjoy ourselves a lot as well.”

How disappointing was it to retire from the lead in Kouvola, when you were so close to winning the final?

PS: “I can honestly say that this was one of the most disappointing days I have experienced in my career: it was so sad. We deserved to win: I’m not just talking about myself but I mean our whole team, who worked so hard. I don’t think people recognise the effort these guys have put in: we were meant to have a car built for us this year but at the last minute we were let down and so we had to do it all by ourselves. It’s been incredibly tough; one of the toughest things I have ever done. But it’s only once you’ve experienced the big lows that you can experience the big highs.”

What’s been the hardest part about competing in Rallycross this year?

PS: “The technical side I think: these cars are very specialised and it’s the sort of thing that takes years of experience to get right. And also the level of competition: there are some very fast and very determined drivers here, who all have a lot more experience of driving these cars than me. Still, we’re trying to catch up!”

What sort of future do you think that Rallycross has?

PS: “I think absolutely huge: but don’t ask me: ask the guys at the promoters, IMG. These are very serious guys, if you know what I mean; they’re not here to play around. There’s a lot of investment and a lot of plans, especially with live TV. This sport is absolutely made for live TV and that’s going to make a huge difference. What we’re seeing now is really just the beginning. I always look at the crowds and you should see how many people come. It’s unbelievable. I think Hell is going to be massive.”

So what sort of approach are you going to be taking?

PS: “Absolutely flat-out: as always! Honestly, I’ve had enough of some of the bad luck we’ve had so far this year – so now we’re really, really going to go for it! No messing around. I’m quick enough and the car is quick enough: it’s as simple as that. The people who come to watch this weekend are going to see something special I think…”


Photo: While claiming no rostrum place in Kouvola Solberg received the award for being first to the first corner. © JKR/ERC24