by Rob Wilkins.

OMV Peugeot Norway World Rally team driver, Henning Solberg is enjoying his most comprehensive programme ever in the FIA World Rally Championship this season, taking in 12 of the 16 events. Here the Norwegian speaks exclusively to Crash.net Radio about his year to date, including that win on the WRC candidate event in Norway...

Q:
Henning, you have done six events thus far this season and while you have had some bad luck at times, you have still scored 11 points in the drivers' championship. How do you feel about the season to date overall?

Related Articles

Henning Solberg:
I am quite happy. There has been some up's and down's. I lost a fifth place in Sweden not because of the rolling, but because the wheel broke, it just cracked. Then I lost my fifth place in Argentina because of something in the gearbox. But that is part of the game and I am still happy. I'm still fighting for points and I am closer to the podium than ever.

Q:
Staying with the first part of the season: your best results thus far are two fifth places, in Mexico and Greece. A podium looked possible in Sardinia though, didn't it?

HS:
Yeah it was possible in Sardinia but it was also possible in Greece. However on the second day there I lost a brake pipe and then I lost one minute to [Mikko] Hirvonen. On the last day I broke a temper and had to drive without it. So I almost lost my fifth place again.

Q:
Your team-mate, Manfred Stohl managed to finish on the podium in Mexico. Do you think you can match that in the second half of the season?

HS:
Yeah I hope so. I am looking forward to Finland and I am looking forward to Turkey, Cyprus and England too. Those are the roads I know. I think I can be fast. We had a very good test in Finland last week for that event. The car looks faster for Finland than it was Greece. I am optimistic for the next half of the year.

Q:
How have you found working with Manfred?

HS:
Yeah very good, I like Manfred and we have a good atmosphere in the team. He is a great guy.

Q:
What about Bozian Racing and the Peugeot 307?

HS:
Yeah I like the car and I like working with the team. Of course I would hope for more testing but we are still a private team so we don't have a factory budget for the season. However you can see we have got some very good results and we do very good times on the stages.

Q:
You used a Ford Focus in 2005, how difficult or easy has it been to adapt to the 307?

HS:
I like the 307. It was easy for me to come in [and use it]. OK it is not the most easy car to drive I have to say that, but I still like it.

Q:
You mentioned the test last week in Finland. How confident are you feeling for that event?

HS:
Yeah, I am very confident for Finland. I like the event and I had a very good last day there last year. I was very fast and also I was quick the rest of the weekend too. But my starter broke and that cost us some time and we had some other problems. So this year we will be faster I hope.

Q:
Finland must be one of your favourite events as it is so near to your home land?

HS:
Yeah it is quite near. We will be fast there.

Q:
Talking of your homeland, you won the WRC candidate event in Norway back in February. Tell us about that event.

HS:
Yeah that was a very good event. We came from Sweden straight to Norway. There was a lot of snow and good roads - more narrow than in Sweden and the atmosphere was very good around the rally. I hope Norway will get a round of the WRC.

Q:
Do you think Norway will get a chance to host a round of the WRC?

HS:
I hope so. I think it would be a very, very good rally. We need two snow rallies and that is very important for the championship. Also for the tyres manufacturers I think that it would be very good too.

Q:
What do you make of plans to operate a 'rotation system' next year, in order to accommodate all these new rounds? Do you think it is a good idea?

HS:
Yeah it is a good idea. A good idea also to rotate a little bit because then you can get, I think, all the rallies more perfect. They have good time to find new solutions, to find new routes and every time will be more competitive, I think.

Q:
You going to miss the Rallye Deutschland and Rally Japan, like you missed the events in Spain and Corscia. Is it frustrating not to be able to do all the events?

HS:
Yes of course, but in 2004 I have 7 WRC rallies. Last year I also have 7 and this year I have 13 rallies with OMV Peugeot Norway [12 WRC events and the candidate event in Norway]. So I am happy. Next year maybe we do the whole championship.

Q:
Can you tell us anything more about your plans for 2007?

HS:
No. I cannot say more than my sponsors are very happy and they have seen some good results this year. So I think, next year, maybe we can do all the rallies.