Petter Solberg gave the Norwegian fans reason to cheer as he took sixth place on his first outing with his own Petter Solberg World Rally Team on Rally Norway.
Having been forced to miss the season-opener in Ireland as he formalised his plans for the 2009 campaign after Subaru's shock decision to quit the sport, the former WRC champion made the perfect start to the event when he paced the opening super special stage at the wheel of his Citroen Xsara.
From that point onwards however, the focus for Solberg was on trying to secure the best result possible with the Xsara lacking the speed of the more modern machinery, but 'Hollywood' battled hard to keep himself in the points despite encountering problems on both Friday and Saturday.
The final leg itself wasn't without problems either for Solberg and team-mate Phil Mills with the Citroen developing a clutch problem but he was able to stay ahead of the Stobart Ford of Matthew Wilson to secure sixth place and three championship points.
“I am very happy about the sixth place,” Solberg said. “I mean four weeks ago, I had no car and no team, and look at us now. I am so proud of everybody in the team that has been working flat out for the past weeks, and also my friends and family. Without them none of this would be possible.
“Honestly, I didn't really think we would make it to the finish [due to the clutch issue], but we did and we also managed to keep our sixth. I think we did a good job this weekend. We were really fast on some splits, and they are driving cars that should go much faster.”
Solberg will now prepare for his second outing in the Xsara in Cyprus next month, and he said he was focused on improving on the result secured on home soil.
“Now we have to do some evaluation and make some plans for the next rallies,” he said. “Cyprus will be quite a challenge, and I will not settle for sixth.”