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Q&A: Petter Solberg - Subaru: EXCLUSIVE

7 July 2008

by Rob Wilkins


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH PETTER SOLBERG: CLICK HERE


Subaru's Petter Solberg was boosted by the arrival of the all-new Impreza WRC2008 just prior to the summer break - and having finished third with it in Greece and sixth in Turkey, 'Hollywood' was definitely left feeling more positive. Crash.net Radio caught up with the 2003 World Rally champion recently and spoke to him about his hopes for the rest of the year and found out about his rib injury...


Crash.net:
Petter, how have the team's preparations been going for Finland and Germany?

Petter Solberg:
The guys have a very important job at the moment to get the cars fast for Finland. They are still working and are very happy. It will be very interesting to test the car next week.

Crash.net:
Have you done much testing yet?

PS:
No nothing at all. We will start our testing next week. I must say I am really looking forward to it. I can't wait to see what the team has done to improve the performance.

Crash.net:
What areas are the team going to be focusing on in testing?

PS:
I think it is a lot of different areas. It is not just one major thing. It is a lot of details. But the team are in full control - definitely.

Crash.net:
We have three asphalt events in the second half of the season, how crucial is it going to be to get the car set-up properly for those tarmac rounds?

PS:
I think on tarmac and for Finland the car should be very good because of the low centre of gravity. The new car is also very good at high speed because of the balance and weight distribution. The package should hopefully be good straight away. But I can tell you more after the tests next week.

Crash.net:
Subaru switched to using the new car in Greece and that seemed to really pay off for you. How much of a step forward is the new car?

PS:
Of course it is a good step forward. But the team entered it on two of the toughest rallies in the championship and the main thing was reliability. We were not so concerned with making the car the fastest. I am very pleased with the performance on the first two rallies.

Crash.net:
What areas related to the new car did you and Chris Atkinson identify that most need attention prior to Finland?

PS:
That's something I don't want to talk about. The only thing I can say is that the team know the areas and have everything fully under control. The car will be very good for the next few rallies.

Crash.net:
In Greece you took your first podium of the season and then you backed that up with another solid points finish in Turkey, how much of a boost was that?

PS:
I think for Subaru's fans all over the world - and the team that got the car ready - it was very important [to do well in Greece]. Of course we knew it would be a little bit more difficult in Turkey but in general we are all very happy. We want to win though and that is why we are in the championship.

Crash.net:
What are your targets for the second half of the season?

PS:
We are going to win rallies. That is our main goal - there are no other discussions or aims. I think David Richards and the whole team are agreed about that.

Crash.net:
Do you expect Subaru to be up there and performing relative to Ford and Citroen by the end of the year?

PS:
We have to. We are not here for second places. We are here to fight for wins. That is it - quite simple.

Crash.net:
How much has it helped the team having David Richards back on board and playing a more hands-on role again?

PS:
David Richards is very, very good and with him having full control he is pulling it up in every area. You will see a big difference now in the second half of the year.

Crash.net:
Obviously we are in the middle of summer break, do you enjoy having such a long period off?

PS:
Honestly, no. I want to drive and that is it. It was actually perfect from one point of view though, because I have had a broken rib for a couple of rallies now. In that sense the break has been good because I have time to recover. But I want to get back behind the steering wheel as soon as possible.

Crash.net:
Is your broken rib on the mend?

PS:
Yeah, it is very good now. I am back in training and back in business.

Crash.net:
Does a gap like this in the calendar leave you refreshed and ready to comeback or a bit rusty?

PS:
It's okay to have some days off, but this is a bit long for me.

Crash.net:
What have you been up to?

PS:
Playing with my son. He doesn't finish school until tomorrow however, so we haven't had any time for a proper break. But I have been swimming and taking it a little bit calm because of the broken rib. I haven't had the chance to train as much as I want. But taking care of the family is the main thing.

Crash.net:
Mikko Hirvonen managed to edge back in front of Sebastien Loeb in the race for the drivers' title in Turkey. Do you think he can stop Loeb from taking his fifth crown?

PS:
They are both strong. But I don't care so much about them and the other guys. The only thing I am thinking about is making sure we win. We just have to get up there as fast as possible and beat them properly.

Crash.net:
We saw a lot of tactics in Turkey, is that something you approve of?

PS:
This is part of the game. You need some challenges. You have to drive as fast as possible under all the different conditions. The Ford team was clever on the Rally of Turkey and that is it.



TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH PETTER SOLBERG: CLICK HERE


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