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17 Aug 2014

Blog: Tribute to the team

Category: News, Petter's Blog Posted 17.08.14 22:55 by

ERC24 has exclusively been chosen by the Petter Solberg Rallycross Team as the only website dedicated to Rallycross to present ‘Petter’s Blog’ in 2014. Find part #9 of August 17 here.

 

‘Mechanic Moral’ – It’s not a commonly used term in everyday life, but with the PSRX Team it is crucial for success. My mechanics are hand-picked from Rallying – and with good reason.

When we won the first World Rallycross Championship round ever to be held outside Europe last weekend, it was honestly fully deserved for my team. The container with my car came to port just three days before the race, and the guys were working feverishly to ensure that all details should be in place.

 

© PSRX/ERC24

© PSRX/ERC24

 

© PSRX/McKlein/ERC24

© PSRX/McKlein/ERC24

 

Between each heat in the compact one-day race schedule, the mechanics had less than half an hour to fix the car. I was truly impressed that they served me literally a winning to each and every heat. We won five out of six heats – including the final!

I say «we» because I’ve never experienced more of a team victory. The RX of Canada would never have been won without my mechanics. They live and breathe every day to be the best. The PSRX Team, our sponsors and our common passion is why we now lead the championship by 20 points.

The story about my mechanics and me began many years ago. The PSRX Chief Mechanic Ole Johan Rustad is a graduate at the ‘Star Academy’ in Torsby and served in Ford’s WRC team for several years before he came to me in 2009. My good friend and compatriot has been a key figure on all cars in my private engagement both in Rally and Rallycross.

We have three British mechanics in the team. John Cudmore has been a crucial team member since 2013 and is the first mechanic on my 2014 RX car. He works very closely with Ole Johan. ‘Cuddy’ is a worker of the rare, and together they puts all their diligence, ability and pride into making my car the best there is. Ole Johan and ‘Cuddy’ are responsible for the work on my car also between each race.

 

© PSRX/McKlein/ERC24

© PSRX/McKlein/ERC24

 

© PSRX/McKlein/ERC24

© PSRX/McKlein/ERC24

 

Mark Butler and Ian Emmerson were brought to the team this year to give Ole Johan and ‘Cuddy’ the support that is needed in the World RX races. Mark was the chief mechanic for several years in Subaru, so I knew him very well from before.

I also have several «freelance» mechanics in support. In April, Estonian Sten Oja came to us to test his abilities as a mechanic, and he proved capable. In Canada Sten, who already is twice North European and repeatedly Estonian champion in Rallycross, got the chance to drive the team’s second car as we were missing a driver. Possibly he will get the opportunity again.

Two of my team members are French. The engines are maintained by Yannis Loison from Pipo Moteurs, who were responsible for Peugeot and Ford engines in WRC for many years. We have an amazing co-operation. My system engineer is François Regnier from Syx Tronics, who also have been with me since my Rallying days. My whole crew have the passion and moral that it takes for me to fight for the World RX title.

 

© JKR/ERC24

© JKR/ERC24

 

Canada was close to perfect both for the team and me. The team effort paid off with a blasting victory. A World RX win is not just an everyday happening. I had ‘only’ 14 in the WRC and now I have two in World RX after racing almost 200 world events in total.

We were welcomed and treated in the best way possible by the organizers in Trois-Rivières, where the environment for motorsport proved mildly impressive. On the last day of the motorsport festival, the entire team was invited to watch the NASCAR race from a VIP room. It was an experience we would not be without.

We were so lucky to have guests from my sponsor TOTAL and Kongsberg Automotive at the race. They had a fantastic trip and adventure! A big thank you to KA, who invited my family and me on a day of water-skiing and total relaxation the day after our victory. That day put a finishing touch to a fantastic Canada trip. Canada is a wonderful country with great people and spectacular scenery. I am really looking forward to the next time I’ll visit the country.

Three weeks remain until the next World RX round. Then we return to Lohéac in France, where I took second place last year. It is a circuit that I know well and feel very comfortable on. I was the first World RX winner and the first Championship leader (Portugal), the first winner outside Europe and the first to win two World Cup rounds (Canada). Maybe Lohéac can offer new milestones?

 

Top photo: The broken rear suspension cost Petter Solberg the victory in Belgium. © JKR/ERC24