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31 Jan 2013

It’s Rallycross for Petter

Category: ERC, GRC, News Posted 31.01.13 11:33 by

Petter Solberg, the 2003 World Rally Champion, has eventually taken his decision for 2013 in favour of Rallycross, the motorsport he started his racing career with back in 1992.

 

Some time ago we from ERC24 understood from reliable sources that Petter Solberg has got hold of a Citroën DS3 bodyshell that was originally in the hands of Hansen Motorsport. While the Norwegian was still thinking over a two-years offer to participate in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), and postponed his final decision about 2013 to the end of January, the work on the Rallycross SuperCar had already been started.

Today the long awaited announcement about Solberg’s future (see PR below) arrived from Torsby in Sweden, the hometown of his wife Pernilla [the daughter of the 1980 European Rallycross Champion and ex-factory driver for Volvo R-Team/R-Sport Per-Inge Walfridsson] as well as the base of the Petter Solberg team. Moreover, this morning Petter also revealed in an interview with iRally.com in Ireland that the chassis-work of his all-new car lays in the hands of Swede Ingvar Gunnarsson, while its engine will be prepared by Briton Julian Godfrey. He also claimed that he has already commited to the four Global X Games events, but not yet decided whether he would race with GRC in the US or with FIA/IMG in Europe.

 

PR: Petter Solberg to Attack Rallycross Flat Out for 2013

The 2003 FIA World Rally Champion is creating his own Rallycross team to compete for further titles in 2013. Both in the series he and his team decide to tackle, as well as a heavy pursuit for Gold in the 4 Global X Games that are slated for this year.

“It feels a bit like getting back to my roots,” Petter says. “My motorsport career started with Rallycross. I earned Silver medals in Rallycross and Hill Climb in Norway in 1994, Gold the two following years. Back then, in 1996, I actually considered the European Rallycross series for my longterm future, but it turned out that Rally would pull me in. I devoted 15 years of my life to Rally before calling an end to it in December. Some of the best years of my life,” adds Solberg.

Why Rallycross? “I have received many offers to drive in various forms of motorsport, cars and teams since our announcement. However, I feel that the opportunities that the two major series are presenting from here on out starting in 2013 is the most progressive and coolest sport. It’s a place where I can be myself. Once again I can work closely with my sponsors, be very close to the fans, have my own team of qualified people, and be my own boss. It’s a great mix. Where else could I remain in a powerful AWD turbo which is more or less a WRC car aside from the extra 300bhp, and have between 5 and 8 others around me spitting fire as well? That to me is just too hard to pass up!”

Petter goes on to say: “Rallycross is a perfect automotive action sport. It has close fights between powerful cars, it’s an arena sport, it’s very accessible, and it’s easy to follow with plenty of racing throughout the day all in one place. Understand this, it is quite a show to be seen and heard! I really want to become a Champion at least one more time in my career! You know me; I am a showman and I want to make some noise. Rallycross will fit me perfectly.”

When it comes to current Rallycross series, to be at the top leaves you with two very viable choices that are both running a proper calendar with all of their events broadcast live as well as highlight packages in certain international markets. Out of Europe, you have IMG rejuvenating the deeply historic European Rallycross Championship series (now tagged “RX”) which consists of 10 stops around Europe with very solid competition and a great plan to produce very fun event weekends for the fans and sponsors. On the other side, out of America, you have the Global RallyCross Championship series which is run by a good group as well and directly connected to ESPN. Very solid competition there, vs some good friends like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana, just to name a few. Great people, great competitors. The GRC consists of a 9 round schedule which spreads events across the USA including the 4 X Games stops in Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil), Barcelona (Spain), Munich (Germany) and the closer in Los Angeles (USA). Full time GRC drivers/teams are automatically included in invites to each X Games and specific invites will be given to drivers/teams from the European RX series.

Solberg is currently building a Citroën DS3 Rallycross SuperCar, which will not be ready for another month. During this time of preparation, we will continue discussions, and explore both series for the best fit, and best global broadcast packages. Our fans have followed us all around the world and continue to do so. We want to make sure that they have as easy an opportunity as possible to continue following Petter in to the next phase of his motorsport career. The new team including members, sponsors, and livery will be presented at a later date.

 

Photo: Back to his roots, Petter Solberg is set for Rallycross again. © QBA/ERC24