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Solberg commits to full European Rallycross Championship

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.

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Petter Solberg to attack RallyCross flat-out for 2013!

The 2003 FIA World Rally Champion is creating his own RallyCross team to compete for further titles in 2013. Both in the series he and his team decide to tackle, as well as a heavy pursuit for Gold in the 4 Global X Games that are slated for this year.

“It feels a bit like getting back to my roots” Petter says. “My motorsport career started with RallyCross. I earned Silver medals in RallyCross and Hill Climb in Norway in 1994, Gold the two following years. Back then, in 1996, I actually considered the European RallyCross series for my longterm future but it turned out that Rally would pull me in. I devoted 15 years of my life to rally before calling an end to it in December last year. Some of the best years of my life.”

“I have received many offers to drive in various forms of motorsport, cars and teams since our announcement. However, I feel that the opportunities that the two major series are presenting from here on out starting in 2013 is the most progressive and coolest sport. It’s a place where I can be myself. Once again I can work closely with my sponsors, be very close to the fans, have my own team of qualified people, and be my own boss. It’s a great mix. Where else could I remain in a powerful awd turbo which is more or less a WRC car aside from the extra 300hp, and have between 5 and 8 others around me spitting fire as well?! That to me is just too hard to pass up.”

Petter goes on to say “RallyCross is a perfect automotive action sport. It has close fights between powerful cars, It’s an arena sport, it’s very accessible, and it’s easy to follow with plenty of racing throughout the day all in one place. Understand this, it is quite a show to be seen and heard! I really want to become a Champion at least one more time in my career! You know me; I am a showman and I want to make some noise. RallyCross will fit me perfectly.”

When it comes to current RallyCross series, to be at the top leaves you with two very viable choices that are both running a proper calendar with all of their events broadcast live as well as highlight packages in certain international markets. Out of Europe, you have IMG rejuvenating the deeply historic European RallyCross Series (Now called “RX”) which consists of 10 stops around Europe with very solid competition and a great plan to produce very fun event weekends for the fans and sponsors. On the other side, out of America, you have the Global RallyCross Series which is run by a good group as well and directly connected to ESPN. Very solid competition there as well, vs some good friends like Ken Block and Travis Pastrana just to name a few. Great people. The GRC consists of a 10 round schedule which spreads events across the USA as well as 4 X-Games stops in Brazil, Barcelona, Munich and the closer in Los Angeles. Full time GRC drivers/teams are automatically included in invites to each X Games and specific invites will be given to drivers/teams from the European RX series.

Solberg is currently building a Citroën DS3 RallyCross car, which will not be ready for at least another month. During this time of preparation, we will continue discussions, and explore both series for the best fit, and best global broadcast packages. Our fans have followed us all around the world and continue to do so. We want to make sure that they have as easy an opportunity as possible to continue following Petter in to the next phase of his Motorsport career.

The new Team including members, sponsors, and livery will be presented at a later date.

Opening Rounds for both Series are as follows:
European RX –
England March 30 – April 1 2013

Global RallyCross –
X Games Brazil May 11-12 2013

About Petter Solberg:
Age: 38 years
Residence: Monaco
Born: Spydeberg in Norway
Car: Citroën DS3
World Rally Champion: 2003
SILVER: 2002, 2004 & 2005
BRONZE: 2010
Victories: 13 (Wales 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, Cyprus 2003, Australia 2003, Corse 2003, New Zealand 2004, Greece 2004, Japan 2004, Sardinia 2005, Sweden 2005, Mexico 2005).
Podium finishes: 52 (13-15-24).
Career: Ford (1999-2000), Subaru (2000-2008), Petter Solberg WRT (2009-2011), Ford (2012)

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