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Q&A: Petter Solberg

Petter Solberg: I've had enough of some of the bad luck we've had so far this year – so now we're really, really going to go for it!
Petter Solberg looks ahead to his home round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship, which takes place this weekend and sees competitors head to the well-known rallycross circuit in Hell, 30 kilometres northeast of Trondheim towards the north of Norway...



Q:
Petter, how much are you looking forward to being back on home territory, for the next round of the European rallycross championship in Hell this weekend?

Petter Solberg:
I'm looking forward to it a hell of a lot!

Q:
Very funny. So what's the actual circuit like and do you have any experience of it?

Petter Solberg:
Well; actually I do but it's such a long time ago that I don't remember it! I drove there when I was competing in rallycross in 1996 then in 1999 I think we did a demonstration day there with my Toyota Celica rally car. Like I said I don't really remember it but I generally I remember it being very nice and the track going up and down quite a lot, a bit like a rally stage.

Q:
Is this the most important round of the year for you?

Petter Solberg:
They're all important but yes…this is special for sure. Not just for me but for all my sponsors: it's important for them to do well at home.

Q:
So does that lead to more pressure?

Petter Solberg:
There's always pressure wherever you go, you know? And that pressure doesn't come from the outside: it comes from me; I put it on myself. It's just because – you know me – when I do something I have to do it 100 per cent properly and flat-out. It has to be right. So there's definitely pressure but we still always enjoy ourselves a lot as well.

Q:
How disappointing was it to retire from the lead in Kouvola, when you were so close to winning the final?

Petter Solberg:
I can honestly say that this was one of the most disappointing days I have experienced in my career: it was so sad. We deserved to win: I'm not just talking about myself but I mean our whole team, who worked so hard. I don't think people recognise the effort these guys have put in: we were meant to have a car built for us this year but at the last minute we were let down and so we had to do it all by ourselves. It's been incredibly tough; one of the toughest things I have ever done. But it's only once you've experienced the big lows that you can experience the big highs.

Q:
What's been the hardest part about competing in rallycross this year?

Petter Solberg:
The technical side I think: these cars are very specialised and it's the sort of thing that takes years of experience to get right. And also the level of competition: there are some very fast and very determined drivers here, who all have a lot more experience of driving these cars than me. Still, we're trying to catch up!

Q:
What sort of future do you think that rallycross has?

Petter Solberg:
I think absolutely huge: but don't ask me: ask the guys at the promoters, IMG. These are very serious guys, if you know what I mean; they're not here to play around. There's a lot of investment and a lot of plans, especially with live TV. This sport is absolutely made for live TV and that's going to make a huge difference. What we're seeing now is really just the beginning. I always look at the crowds and you should see how many people come. It's unbelievable. I think Hell is going to be massive.

Q:
So what sort of approach are you going to be taking?

Petter Solberg:
Absolutely flat-out: as always! Honestly, I've had enough of some of the bad luck we've had so far this year – so now we're really, really going to go for it! No messing around. I'm quick enough and the car is quick enough: it's as simple as that. The people who come to watch this weekend are going to see something special I think…


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