Former Subaru WRC driver Petter Solberg will drive a private 2006 specification Citroen Xsara WRC at the Rally Norway and is planning on tackling the rest of 2009 WRC season afterwards.
Left without a drive this year after his previous team, Subaru, pulled out of the series during the offseason and with no vacancies at the Ford or Citroen factory teams, the 2003 World Champion was looking at the possibility of a season on the sidelines before deal could be done.
Today, Solberg announced that he intends to run his own team for up to 11 rounds this year, to keep up his rally knowledge and buy more time to negotiate a paid drive for 2010.
“I’ll be in the Xsara for Rally Norway and the plan is to do the whole championship from then—although not necessarily with the same car,” said Solberg. “Everything I’m doing is being done with 2010 in mind. We’ll start with Norway, with my own team, but I haven’t got the entire 2009 season together yet. I’ve put this deal together in 20 days, and I expect things will change through the season. Nobody knows what the future will bring, but I’m happy with what we’ve got for the short term.
“Okay, I know many people think I’m crazy for doing what I’m doing. Would Marcus Gronholm, Tommi Makinen, or Colin McRae have done what I’m doing now? I don’t think so,” he added.
After testing the Citroen Xsara on snow, and described the experience as ‘good fun’. He wouldn’t compare his new ride with the Subaru Impreza—saying he’d have to wait until Norway to see how competitive the car would be.
Solberg wouldn’t discuss specifics but said the future was looking bright: “I have had a lot of talks with many manufacturers and things are looking very good for 2010, but let’s deal with that as it comes. For now I’m free to do whatever I want, and that’s the main thing here. As soon as I get something for the future, of course I will give it 110 percent.”