Henning Solberg has confirmed he will be present on the starting ramp for the 2009 World Rally Championship after securing a deal to race a factory-supported Ford Focus RS WRC.
Ensuring that at least one half of the popular Solberg siblings will compete in 2009, Henning confirmed to Norwegian news agency NRK
that he would remain with Ford for his third season.
Receiving considerable backing from Nordic electronics retailer Expert, one that has made his luminous orange entries so distinctive in recent seasons, Solberg will gain support from the Ford factory team, although it isn't clear whether he will compete under the Stobart or Munchi's banner as he did in 2008.
Solberg will compete in all twelve events, kicking off with the Rally Ireland later this month, while Cato Menkerud will return as his co-driver once more.
“It is not often I am shaking, but I must admit that I was today,” the official WRC website quoted him as saying. “I've had some nerve-wracking months this year, and have not been calm in body and soul, but now we are finally at the goal and I cannot explain how happy I am!
“Now I am just impatient to start testing and to maximise kilometres behind the wheel. Although the first race is Rally Ireland, I have already begun to think of the Rally Norway in February where I shall be fighting for victory.”
Solberg's confirmation to the Rally Ireland starting list is another small boost for the ailing World Rally Championship, which is still reeling from the sudden withdrawal by two of their four manufacturer entries, Subaru and Suzuki.
Nonetheless, with this announcement, as well as Ford and Citroen entering a handful of privateer cars, the first round is expected to be competitive.
Splitting his duties between the Stobart and Munchi's teams, Solberg ended the 2008 season in eighth place overall with a best result of fourth in Jordan, although he did make headlines by winning seven stages on the Rally New Zealand. In total, he won 16 stages in 2008.