2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg has confirmed that the engine problems that have been hindering him this season in FIA European Rallycross Championship have now been resolved - and he believes he will go to Finland for the fourth round this weekend in a 'really strong position'.
Although this will only be Hollywood's fourth rallycross event since 1996, he has shown the speed to win on every occasion - even setting the lap record at only the second round of the year, in Portugal. But he has also been affected by bad luck and mechanical issues on his self-built Citroen DS3 Supercar, with the team struggling to play catch-up after having to assemble the car from scratch in only three weeks flat.
One of the problems that prevented Solberg from reaching the final at the last rallycross round in Hungary was a persistent misfire, which proved impossible to trace and solve.
After the event Solberg decided to fly engine builder Julian Godfrey and systems engineer Francois Regnier into the team's Torsby workshop to try and get to the bottom of the problem – with the 600-horsepower engine due for a rebuild anyway after three events. After much investigation, the experts finally identified the cause of the persistent problem: a faulty sensor. With so many sensors within the car, it had previously been like looking for a needle in a haystack: but the team is now confident that the engine problems are behind them.
Furthermore, Petter's car will have a brand new engine for the Kouvola event while the original unit is reconditioned.
Following the latest improvements, Petter tested his all-carbon car at the airfield in Torsby and his team now makes the - for once - relatively short journey to Finland full of optimism.
“It feels absolutely fantastic to have finally solved the issue that has been a real problem for us since the start of the year,” Petter noted. “Our team started the season with no experience of rallycross at all, and we never expected to have to build our own car. Under the circumstances they did a great job, but we needed the help of the experts to really understand the cause of what had been holding us back.
“Of course, we've still got plenty more to learn and much more development to come on the car, but I think we head to Finland in a really strong position.
“The car feels better than it has ever done before, and we've showed in the past that we have the speed to win. Now we just need to make sure everything comes together as it should,” he concluded.