Phil Mills has backed Petter Solberg to secure a second World Rally Championship title to add to the crown he secured back in 2003.
Mills read the pace notes for Solberg during that title-winning campaign and enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Norwegian before standing down from his role earlier this year to focus on his business commitments.
That move has seen Solberg join forces with Chris Patterson and Mills insisted that his decision to stand down had been taken in order to allow the pair to gel ahead of 2011 – when the Welshman predicts his former partner will be firmly in contention for the title.
“It was a long and complex situation but Petter is going to go out next year and win the WRC title, that is his plan,” Mills told the official Rallyday podcast during the annual event at Castle Combe last month. “That wouldn't be possible with a brand new co-driver straightaway and it didn't suit me to do the whole world championship next year, so it was the ideal time for me to step away and for Petter to use the final events of this season to put a different co-driver in and allow them to get used to each other. That means that next season, Petter can be on it from the first corner of the first stage of the first rally.
“Petter is more than capable of winning a rally and he will
win many WRC rallies before he retires. He just needs the right car and the right situation but he could win another title. He is an extraordinarily talented driver and given the right opportunity, he will go on and win again.”
Having been a stalwart of the WRC for more than ten years, Mills admitted that he did miss competing in the sport to an extent, although he also insisted he wouldn't be too worried if he didn't appear in the series again in the future.
“There is a huge part of it that I miss but a part of it I don't as well,” he said. “It was a huge part of my life and I think I only missed two events in eleven years so I had a fair old innings! I enjoyed every minute of it and if I never do another rally again, I can say that I enjoyed every kilometre through the ups and the downs.
“If I get the chance to go back I would, but if I get the chance to retire then I would do that as well.”
You can now re-live the tenth Rallyday by checking out the official post-event podcast. To listen to it go to the Rallyday website and on the news page select 'Rallyday 2010 podcast'. Alternatively CLICK HERE. It is also free to download from iTunes