Petter Solberg insists that the iconic Ouninpohja stage holds the key to who will be successful in the latest round of the World Rally Championship next weekend in Finland.
The famous stage will run to its full 33.01km distance for the first time since 2007 on the final day, with drivers blasting through 23km of wide-open roads with a number of large jumps before the final technical section through to the finish.
Solberg has twice finished on the podium in Finland and holds the record for the Ouninpohja test, having completed the stage at an average speed of more than 130 km/h.
The 37-year-old Ford ace admitted that he couldn't wait to tackle the stage in its entirety again this year and said it would be a key test in determining who emerges victorious.
“The rally will be decided over those roads,” he said. “It's incredibly demanding and difficult. It's not so technical in the traditional sense, especially on the wide roads. But the speed is so high that if your line isn't correct over the jumps, it's easy to make a mistake which can end your rally,” he said.
“It's an amazing feeling to complete that stage knowing you have driven as well as you could. Relief, happiness, confidence – they're all feelings you experience when you have mastered Ouninpohja. Without doubt, it's the best stage in the entire championship.”