Petter Solberg has admitted that he has '100 things up in the air' as he desperately chases a drive that will allow him to return to the World Rally Championship in time for his home event next month – but he will only come back, he insists, when all of the circumstances are right.
The 2003 World Rally Champion was left high-and-dry by Subaru's sudden and unforeseen withdrawal shortly after last month's Wales Rally GB, an event on which he finished a competitive fourth. Whilst team-mate Chris Atkinson has since been picked up by Citroën's new 'junior' M2 outfit for Rally Ireland, the opening round on the 2009 calendar at the end of this month [see separate story – click here
], with no room at the inn elsewhere, Solberg is finding things rather more difficult.
“Of course it was a shock,” the Norwegian confessed to Crash.net Radio
of Subaru's pull-out. “It happened very quickly. I'm disappointed for the mechanics and for everybody who has been working so hard behind-the-scenes to get us winning again. This is hard for them.
“Obviously we are disappointed about the situation. We had a very special relationship with Subaru – I've also worked with them behind-the-scenes, test driving road cars and doing launches all over the world, but I now have to see if I can give all my energy and everything I can to somebody else.”
That whoever does eventually land Solberg's services will be receiving his full commitment is indisputable, with the 13-time rally winner and fans' favourite palpably keen to get back out into the fray once more. Already resigned to missing Ireland, to be forced to sit out Rally Norway too in five weeks' time, with the closing date for entries next week, would cause him 'unbelievable' pain, he says – but he is hoping it won't come to that.
“Let's not think about that,” he urged. “Let's try to fix it. I need all the support and help I can get, and I'm going to fight. Now we just have to push on and see what we can find. Honestly, I'm trying!
“The only thing I want to do now is look forward, and not think about what happened. I'll only do it 100 per cent, though, and it has to be a proper planned structure if I do anything.
“I just want to do everything right; I don't want to do anything that is halfway. I want to really make it clear that we want to come back winning or fighting to win. That's the main thing. I'm not panicking; for 2010 there are a lot of things going on, and that's positive. I just want to drive, that's all.
“I have 100 things up in the air, and I hope I can pull down something. Like I say, if it's not right and everything's not under control and I can't fight to win, I'm not doing it. It needs to be guaranteed to be right.”