World Rally Champion Petter Solberg has confirmed he will contest every round of this year’s FIA European Rallycross (RX) Championship with the sole aim of lifting the 2013 title.
Solberg announced earlier this month that he would compete at the first round of the RX Championship in Britain next month, but the Norwegian superstar – known affectionately as Hollywood – is now set on storming Europe in his Citroen DS3 Supercar.
“I don’t do things by half!” said Solberg, who won the 2003 World Rally Championship. “When I thought about it, I knew the RX Championship was the one for me. It’s going to be one hell of a show this season and I want my team to be part of that.”
Solberg’s 600bhp Citroen DS3 Supercar is currently being built. But Hollywood will be more than ready when the lights go green at Lydden Hill in the UK on 31 March.
Said Solberg: “I am working pretty much every hour to get everything sorted out. Everything is looking really exciting right now. It’s fantastic to be back with my own team again. The car is really coming together and, to be honest, I really can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Having spent the last 15 years driving with 300 horsepower, having twice that power is something which really makes me smile!”
Working against the clock is nothing new to Solberg, who launched the Petter Solberg World Rally Team in a matter of weeks ahead of the 2009 WRC season – and then set the fastest time on his first stage with his own team. He’s looking for a similar debut when he starts his first RX Championship race at the end of next month.
“The competition is going to be really tough this year,” said Solberg, “but that’s one of the things which makes me want to compete here. And, hey, believe me, it will be some show. With me and the guys racing against each others doorhandles with 600 horsepower and flames flying – it’s going to be fantastic!”
Solberg added that the news that global sports media firm IMG Worldwide had taken over as promoter of the series made his move to RX even easier.
“Those guys know how to make the show,” he said. “We have five rounds of this year’s championship being shown live on television. And when three of those five live rounds are in Norway, Sweden and Finland – it makes complete sense for me to be competing here.”
The live television is shown by satellite broadcaster Viasat. The penultimate race in France and the season finale in Germany are the other events which will be live.
In addition to that live coverage, there will also be an hour-long report show and news coverage of the series which will ensure television content is delivered with a household reach in excess of one billion people around the world. The RX Championship will also feature in IMG’s global magazine series Trans World Sport, which boasts its own household reach of more than 150 million homes around the world.
While Hollywood is best known around the world for winning rallies and, the Solberg name has a long association with rallycross and Petter himself competed in the sport until 1995.
After watching Hollywood’s incredible rally-winning celebrations around the world – including the Historic Rally Sweden (driving his own Ford Escort) earlier this month – his global fan base will be eagerly awaiting a first RX victory in his stunning Citroen.
“It was fantastic to win in Sweden with my wife Pernilla,” said Solberg. “Driving a car like that really makes you understand why we all love our sport – it’s the noise, the passion and it’s the winning. And we’re looking forward to a lot more of all three of those in RX this year.”
FIA European Rallycross Championship 2013 Calendar:
Lydden Hill – Great Britain – 31.03.13
Montealegre – Portugal – 27.04.13
Nyriad – Hungary – 25.05.13
Kouvola – Finland – 08.06.13
Hell – Norway – 15.06.13
Holjes – Sweden – 16.07.13
Loheac – France – 31.08.13
Greinbach – Austria – 14.09.13
Buxtehude – Germany – 21.09.13
Photos: Courtesy of Tony Whelam.