One of the most successful partnerships in the World Rally Championship is to come to an end after Phil Mills revealed he is to stand down as co-driver to 2003 title winner Petter Solberg.
The pair have contested more than 150 events together over the past eleven years but will now go their separate ways after Mills decided to stand down to focus on other areas of his life.
That includes the Viking Motorsport company formed back in 2008 to build and prepare Mk2 Ford Escorts for use his historic rally competition.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but I feel the time has come to now concentrate on other parts of life,” Mills reflected. “We have competed on 152 WRC events together over the past eleven years and it has become more of a way of life rather than a job.
“I have enjoyed every single kilometre through the highs and lows that came along and I am sure Petter will win many more events in the future given the right circumstances. I will miss the whole WRC scene very much and wish Petter and the team very great success in the future.”
Solberg admitted it was a sad day for his career to see Mills moving on to pastures new and said he was disappointed not to have been able to give his co-driver one more victory before his departure.
“Phil is leaving the team and I feel really sad about it,” he said. “I think it will be very difficult to find a co-driver with his skills, to join me in my car again. We have been together for so many years, in fact I've had him by my side through most of my career, so this is a tough break up for me.
“Looking back on what we have achieved together, I feel especially sorry as I was sure our next win would happen this season and I was hoping to have Phil by my side when it happens. He has been the one that has meant the most for me through my career. Our relationship must have been the strongest relationship between driver and co-driver ever!”
A decision on Mills' replacement has yet to be taken.