Petter Solberg will take in the Rallye Monte Carlo next month, the opening round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, having secured a 'guest' drive with Peugeot.
Solberg, who has competed in the World Rally Championship for the last two years with his own team, finishing a fantastic third in the standings this season - and taking top spot in Crash.net's
2010 top ten World Rally drivers' [see separate story - click here
], will use a factory-run Peugeot 207 Super 2000 car for the classic, which runs from January 19-22.
The Norwegian, who already has a close relationship with the PSA Citroen
Peugeot group, having used a Citroen
C4 WRC and a Citroen
Xsara WRC in 2010 and 2009 respectively, said he was delighted to get the call-up.
He also added though, that he remains 100 per cent focussed on trying to compete in the World Rally Championship again in 2011 and is not considering a move to the IRC.
“I was very surprised when Olivier [Quesnel, director of Citroen
Racing and Peugeot Sport], contacted me and asked if I would be a guest-driver for the 2011 IRC Rallye Monte-Carlo in January,” Solberg admitted.
“And of course I had to accept! The manufacturer team will run the car, and they wanted to hire me for this event to secure a good result for the team. For me, this means more competitive kilometres in a rally car and a new experience, as I have not entered an IRC event before.
“There is also live coverage of some of the stages, which will be exciting. This is a one–time arrangement, and I have no plans for a future in the IRC. My plan is still to be in the WRC, and fight for the championship in 2011.”
Solberg will be one of a number of drivers taking in the Monte for Peugeot, with Bryan Bouffier, who recently secured the French title in a 207 Super 2000 and Stephane Sarrazin, also entered under the Peugeot France banner. Thierry Neuville meanwhile will represent Peugeot Belgium with Bruno Magalhaes in the Peugeot Portugal-backed car and Guy Wilks entered by Peugeot UK. Peugeot Sport will provide 'comprehensive technical support' to all of its drivers to ensure they have an 'equal' chance of winning.