Petter Solberg was left well and truly in the lurch at the end of the 2008 season when Subaru announced it was to talk away from the WRC – leaving the former champion without a drive for 2009.
Having evaluated his options, Solberg elected to set up his own team and purchased an ageing Citroen Xsara to launch his challenge.
Forced to sit out the season opener in Ireland while he finalised his plans, Solberg debuted on home soil with a sixth place finish and then took a popular podium in Cyprus.
More points followed in Portugal before the Norwegian was forced out of a podium place on the final day in Argentina – although he made amends in Italy with his second rostrum of the year.
Points in Poland were followed by retirement in Finland before Solberg elected to miss the trip to Australia. On his return to action in Spain, Solberg had swapped the Xsara for a C4 WRC and took fourth place in the final two events of the year – the latter in Wales as part of the Citroen Junior Team.
Always a popular figure with fans, Solberg's battle to punch above his weight saw you vote him third in the poll for the driver of the year.
Petter Solberg World Rally Team/Citroen Junior Team
Citroen Xsara WRC/C4 WRC
Podiums tally excludes victories