For the first time in over a decade, the FIA World Championship will be without the 2003 World Champion Petter Solberg. A decision was made today that Solberg will step away from the series for now in order to explore and direct focus in a different direction in his successful and decorated career.
It’s now realised and decided, that there will not be a WRC program for the 38-year old in 2013.
“I am so grateful and happy for what I have experienced during my 15 years in the WRC,says Petter. “For now it’s really quite sad, you know, I would have loved to have driven for a few more years, but I do realise there will not be a WRC program for me next year. I have said I am willing to drive for free, but at this point, I will not pay to drive. This is not to say that you will never again see me in a WRC car, but for now, I think it’s best.”
“I know I am good enough to fight in the top for many years still, but I fully understand the difficult financial situation for the 2013 season for M-Sport, so I wish the team all the best in the future,” says Petter.
A career which reached it’s highest point in 2003 when Solberg won the WRC Drivers Title for Subaru, started with Ford in 1999. Just 5 years after his Title run, Subaru withdrew from the Championship and Petter formed his own WRC team The Petter Solberg World Rally Team while driving multiple privately owned Citroens to stage wins and podiums. A factory supported Citroen Xcara, followed by a C4 WRC, and on to the now current DS3 with factory support in 2011 which was the DS3’s 1st year in competition.
For 2012, Petter held down the 2nd Works/Factory seat for the Ford World Rally Team with Jari Matti Latvala, where he claimed 3rd on the podium in his first outing of the season in Monte Carlo. In total for 2012, Solberg finished 4th in the Drivers Championship with 124pts, and claimed 5 podiums over 13 rounds with plenty of spectacular memories set in stone as always.
“The sport has given me so much, but I want to give a special thank you to all of my fans that have supported me through thick and thin, and given me such a great feeling about what I do, and for being a large reason of why I do it. I do hope you all understand, and I hope you’ll continue to follow me on to my next venture. I promise to bring you something worthy of this. My team and I are hard at work as you read this, and we can’t wait to let you know what are plans are, Petter ends with a smile and that well known glimpse in the eye.”
WRC Teams throughout the years:
1999-2000 Ford World Rally Team
2000-2008 Subaru World Rally Team
2009-2011 Petter Solberg World Rally Team
2012 Ford World Rally Team
2003 World Rally Champion