The battle between Mikko Hirvonen and Sebastien Loeb – as well as between Citroen and Ford - for the World Rally Championship titles has taken a new twist after Citroen announced the signing of Petter Solberg to its Junior team for the season-ending Rally GB.
Solberg had previously revealed that he would switch from his Citroen Xsara to a 2008-spec Citroen C4 for the final two events of the season, having been in discussions with both Citroen and Ford over a new car for the events in Spain and Great Britain.
While Solberg will continue to run with his own Petter Solberg World Rally Team for the event in Spain, the Norwegian will now line-up alongside Sebastien Ogier as a nominated driver with the Citroen Junior Team for the season final in Wales.
Citroen will hope that Solberg is able to take points out of Hirvonen to aid Loeb in his quest to secure the drivers' title, while the decision to sign Solberg for the event will give Citroen extra strength in the fight with Ford for the manufacturers' title.
"Now I will definitely be fighting for victory in GB," Solberg told the official WRC website, wrc.com
. "Citroen spoke to me last week and offered to help with my entry costs, and that's how it happened. I'm driving for the Junior team but hey, I'm only 34 and a lot of people say I look 29, so that feels okay to me."
Solberg has yet to decide on his plans for next season, and while he admitted that the decision to sign up with the Junior Team for Rally GB might not be popular with Ford, he said it didn't mean he would be looking for a Citroen drive in 2010.
"I will be driving my own rally and I'm going to be pushing like hell to win it," he said. "If I do well maybe it could be bad for Ford, I don't know, but I have to take this chance to prove what I can do. Driving for Citroen in GB doesn't mean I've chosen them over Ford for next year. Nothing is decided yet and anything is possible.
"I didn't even have as much time as I wanted when I was choosing the C4 or Focus for Spain or GB, so there's a lot to be done before I know what's happening in 2010."