Petter Solberg had an illustrious run in the World Rally Championship after his debut in 1998. Going on to clock up 13 WRC wins and winning Subaru’s last WRC drivers’ title in 2003. Following his departure from the series, the Norwegian won back-to-back titles in the World Rallycross Championship (WRX) after joining the series in 2014. Running his own VW backed PSRX WRX team he also took three straight teams’ championships too. But it all ended after the 2018 season when Volkswagen pulled out of global motorsport.
Retiring officially from the top level last year, he signed off with a WRC2 appearance, and a podium finish, on the 2019 WRC Rally Catalunya in a Volkswagen Polo R5 and a visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed where he set new rally car records on both the hill (47.83s) and on the rally stage in his WRX Polo.
Solberg, speaking on Eurosport, now says he is now in talks with multiple car manufacturers to return to WRC in the role of team owner/manager, in a role much like Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Tommi Mäkinen.
“Yes, I want a team,” said Solberg. “I will do it my way. No politics. It’s about winning – and having one focus. Not too many balls that maybe many other teams are working on. I work with two car factories and we have been working for a long time already.”
Solberg said that he was originally planning to enter his team in WRC in 2022 to coincide with the arrival of new WRC hybrid regulations, but he admitted that waiting so long to start could be revised due to the current global pandemic.
“The plan was 2022,” he added. “I know the time frame for how much time we need to build a team, car and stuff like that. I have people clear in the background. All I have to do is press a button and the ball is running. The advanced job in the background is clear with the right people in all areas. It’s on hold now. That is something we must respect. Whether that happens in 2022, 2023 or 2024, I don’t stress. I have a dream. It’s so clear to have a factory team and win.”
Solberg meanwhile has rejected the idea that his 18-year-old son Oliver, who has been rising up the motorsport ladder in recent years, would automatically qualify for a seat, insisting he needs to earn it first.
“Oliver has to arrange himself,” explained Solberg. “He’s in control [of his career]. To put it bluntly: If I have a team in the future and things are going well, it’s up to him to prove he’s good enough to join my team.
“I’m a little old-fashioned there. You have to do the job. I don’t do this for Oliver. I do that for my part. Oliver has his share of work. I’m not like giving any benefits if something were to happen in the future. You must perform, have stability and full focus. That’s the way it is. If you’re not good enough, it’s straight out.”