Off the back of a superb third place on Rally Bulgaria last month and buoyed by an encouraging test session in his privately-run Citro?n C4 WRC, former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg is optimistic of a return to the podium on this weekend's asphalt-based Rallye Deutschland.

The ninth event on the 2010 WRC calendar will pit crews up against 19 stages comprised of 400 competitive kilometres, making the rally one of the longest of the year and including the marathon, 48km Arena Panzerplatte stage, which will be driven twice on Saturday.

Having shone on asphalt this season once already, Solberg is confident of another leading performance - albeit tempered by the fact that the German outing is also likely to be one of the toughest of the year and must be approached accordingly.

"With our great result in Bulgaria still in the back of my head, I can assure you that my motivation for a podium could not be any stronger," underlined the 35-year-old Norwegian of an event on which he has never finished on the rostrum in seven previous starts.

"We had a good test here, with heavy rain, and now have good set-ups for both wet and dry conditions - but even though I am ready to go for a big fight in Germany, I will always have the greatest respect for the stages after our accident here in 2004. No risks!"

The 2010 edition of Rallye Deutschland gets underway with a ceremonial start in Porta Nigra on Thursday evening, followed by six stages on Friday, eight on Saturday and five on the final day, Sunday.

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