Former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg
admitted that he could only be satisfied with fourth place at the end of last weekend's Rally Mexico, after a fuel pump issue on Friday cost the Norwegian and co-driver Chris Patterson more than seven minutes.
Having leapt into the lead when the rally got underway, Solberg was lying a close and challenging third when trouble first struck, leaving him stranded a kilometre from the end of SS6. The loss of time and subsequent 30-second penalty for a late start to SS7 dropped him all the way down the order to 13th.
There were further woes on Saturday with a faulty handbrake and the return of fuel pressure gremlins, earning another penalty for a late start to SS16 after the privately-entered Citroën DS3 WRC stubbornly refused to fire up. A broken gear lever then caused a spin in the air over a big jump on SS17.
Despite all of that and a perhaps understandably cautious approach to the final day, five fastest stage times in total and a blistering run through the Guanajuato Power Stage enabled Solberg to reach the finish in fourth position, thereby tallying twelve points plus one bonus marker, far better than the 36-year-old confessed he could have anticipated back on the opening day.
“It's been a good weekend,” he acknowledged. “Considering the time loss after the problems on Friday, being fourth is really good! We have definitely proved we have the speed, and bringing home 13 points is good. There have been a few minor issues with the new car, but we managed to solve them and we know what caused them. Now we are preparing for Portugal.”
Solberg remains fifth in the 2011 WRC drivers' title chase, with the Petter Solberg
World Rally Team (PSWRT) fourth in the manufacturers' standings.