World-beater sam­ples new r5 chal­lenger and want san event deal

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By David Evans

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.”

Sol­berg was im­pressed with VW Sol­berg joined Gron­holm and Tide­mand in test­ing

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