SOLBERG TARGET SWRC RETURN IN POLO
World-beater samples new r5 challenger and want san event deal
Petter Solberg is chasing a sensational World Rally Championship return after testing Volkswagen’s Polo GTI R5 in Sweden last week.
The 2003 World Rally champion said he enjoyed his time so much in the car, he’s now looking to find a way back into competition – but it’s only going to be a one-off, he remains fully committed to his 2018 World Rallycross title effort.
“Honestly, the car was fantastic,” said Solberg. “It was really nice to drive, really predictable and easy to drive – this is so important for the R5 car.”
Co-driven by Veronica Engan, his son Oliver’s usual navigator, the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden driver completed close to 200 miles of running in temperatures as low as minus 15 on the day-long test close to Kall.
“Now I have done the test in that car, I really want to drive one in competition,” added Solberg. “I don’t know when it might be possible, but I would love to do that. I love rallying.”
Solberg’s son Oliver has been tipped to start October’s Wales Rally GB and Solberg Sr said he would like to join him.
“If Oliver does the event, it would be a really nice story to be competing there as well with him,” he added.
Volkswagen’s regular testers, two-time world champion Marcus Gronholm and reigning WRC2 title holder Pontus Tidemand, were also testing the car last week.
In the meantime, Solberg will tackle next month’s Rally Sweden Historic, driving his Viking Motorsport Ford Escort RS1800 and co-driven by his wife Pernilla.
“We won this event for three years,” said Solberg, “so it’s really nice to be doing it again. Rally Sweden is based so close to the workshop in Torsby, we just had to do it and to be doing it in a car built by Phil [Mills, co-driver and owner of Viking Motorsport] is fantastic.
“I think it will be tough to win though, there are so many four-wheel-drive cars – this time we’ll focus on the twowheel-drive competition.”