Ford team boss Malcolm Wilson has urged Petter Solberg to make the most of the 'incredible opportunity' the Norwegian has after joining the factory team for the 2012 World Rally Championship season.
Solberg has spend the past three seasons driving for his own team after the departure of Subaru at the end of 2008 but has made no secret of his desire to return to a factory team to try and fight for his first WRC success since Wales Rally GB back in 2005.
Having secured a return to the Ford stable after the M-Sport-run team was unable to agree a deal with Sebastien Ogier, Solberg will now be given the role of supporting Jari-Matti Latvala in his title challenge but despite the Norwegian being the number two within the team, Wilson said he had been given an opportunity he had to take.
“We have made it clear that Jari-Matti is the number one and that Petter is there to back him up,” he said. “That isn't to say that Petter won't win a rally as they both have equal equipment but I think Petter can bring a lot of experience as an ex-World Champion. Petter needs to concentrate in the first few rounds on running Jari-Matti's set-up so he can learn the car and then we can get some good feedback from him that will hopefully take the whole team forward.
“It's an incredible opportunity for him. Now Petter really understands what is it like to run your own team so I think it will be a big weight off his shoulders. When you are doing it – and I know as I ran my own team - you think you can do it all and that you can run the team and drive the car and still win. But when you get into the position I am in now, you realise that to win at this level you can't have any distractions and you have to have full commitment. There is so much weight that has been removed from Petter's shoulders and he knows that it is his last chance and he will give 100 per cent into it to try and re-establish himself and get a seat in the Ford team for 2013.”