Ford's Petter Solberg has predicted that qualifying will be 'essential' on Rally Italia Sardegna this weekend.

The Norwegian had a disappointing outing in France last time out and is keen now to try and 'turn things around', as he said in his latest official column on [see separate story - HERE].

Having won in Sardinia before too, back in 2004, he knows what it takes to get the job done, and the Norwegian has vowed to 'go for it', starting on Thursday, with the qualifying stage.

"The roads are very sandy in some places in Sardinia. That means qualifying is important because it will be essential to have a good start position for the opening day. If it's dry it will be better to start further down the order and there just aren't the kilometres to make up time lost during the first leg because of a bad start position," he explained.

"The team goes into this rally full of confidence on gravel after the win in Wales. We improved the balance and suspension on the Fiesta before that event and the changes improved performance.

"But the characteristics of the two rallies are totally different, and the only comparison is that they are held on loose surface roads. However, the roads in Sardinia are fantastic and I will push hard," he promised, no doubt now with an extra bit of motivation as well, given Ford's announcement on Monday that it will cease to have a works presence in the World Rally Championship from the end of this year.