Petter Solberg says he is ready to fight for third place in the World Rally Championship drivers' standings following his impressive start to life with his own team.
Having lost his drive with Subaru when the Japanese marque made the shock announcement to quit the sport, but returned to action in the second round of the season in Norway after acquiring a Citroen Xsara and setting up his own Petter Solberg World Rally Team.
After a sixth place finish on home soil, Solberg rolled back the years with a podium finish in Cyprus and was again the quickest driver outside the works Citroen and Ford men in Portugal where he took fourth.
While he admits that his ultimate goal is to try and reclaim a manufacturer driver again in future, Solberg said he also had another goal this season; to carry his privateer squad to a top three championship placing.
“My first dream is to be in a proper factory team again,” he told the official WRC website, “that's the main thing. But if that's not possible just now, then I have this other dream to get my team together and fight for third in the drivers' championship.
“We had a lot of problems in Portugal and we lost a lot of time there, but even so, we weren't a massive amount of time behind Dani Sordo. It should be impossible for me to catch factory team drivers, but I'm going to try anyway.”
Solberg will benefit from a new engine in the Xsara this weekend, but with the older Citroen likely to be down on power compared to the factory teams, the Norwegian said he was hoping that the weather would play into his hands.
“It's quite a fast rally,” he said, “so I'm also hoping for some mud, fog, or anything to keep the average speed down. A fight for third is my goal as soon as I'm on a rally. If I can't do that, there's no point in driving.”