Motor Sport News - - Show Review - DAVID EVANS

Ari Vata­nen doesn’t do much co-driv­ing. Never re­ally has done. So, when he stepped out of the right-hand side of Pet­ter Sol­berg’s Citroen Xsara WRC in Birm­ing­ham last week, it was quite a mo­ment.

And the pre­vi­ous nine min­utes had been quite a mo­ment for the 1981 World Rally cham­pion. There had been the oblig­a­tory donuts, big drifts, lots of speed and time spent on the happy stick and then, as the car was pass­ing in front of the crowd, Ari was on his own in the Xsara. Pet­ter was on the roof.

Not much sur­prises AV th­ese days, but you get the feel­ing that did. Just a lit­tle bit.

“He is the show­man,” he said when he climbed out. “Ev­ery­thing is for the peo­ple and he re­ally con­nects with them, I love this. But, at the same time, be­hind all of this, he is so pro­fes­sional in the prepa­ra­tion and ev­ery­thing he does. Pet­ter is work­ing very hard at what he’s do­ing and he’s mak­ing a great ex­am­ple to the younger driv­ers.”

Lis­ten­ing to one hero talk­ing so gra­ciously about an­other one was a gen­uine priv­i­lege in Birm­ing­ham last week.

Sol­berg was a star at­trac­tion on stage and in the ac­tion arena

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