2 February 2014
Solberg to defend Historic Rally Sweden crown
Petter Solberg will attempt to repeat as winner of Historic Rally Sweden next weekend, although he admits to fearing the Audi challenge.
Petter Solberg has revealed that he will again take up the challenge of Historic Rally Sweden in a bid to repeat his victory of 2013.
The Norwegian, who is again without a full-time WRC ride this season, confirmed via his official website that the lure of old-time machinery in one of the most testing environments on the calendar was too strong to resist.
“Now I look forward to new challenges in the Historic Rally Sweden in about two weeks' time,” the former WRC champion wrote, “This year, like last year, my wife Pernilla will be my co-driver. Our task is challenging enough to defend the victory from last year.”
Solberg confirmed that his entry would take the form of the same Mk2 Ford Escort, built and overhauled by former co-driver Phil Mills, as he ran to victory in 2013, but admitted that he feared the opposition may be too strong for a repeat victory.
“I'm not confident if my Ford will hold up against some of the Audis and, amongst others Stig Blomqvist and Per Engseth, on the start line,” he conceded, “[But]I expect a lot of entertainment and fun!”
If he had anything on his side, however, Solberg reckoned that it was 'more hp, better traction - and the best looking co-driver!”
Solberg finished the 2013 event 1min 49.9secs up on closest rival Erik Johansson after overcoming early niggles at the wheel of the Viking Motorsport Escort.
Historic Rally Sweden takes place next weekend – 7-8 February – alongside round two of the WRC, an event that Solberg admits will probably go the way of round one winner – and reigning world champion – Sebastien Ogier. Tweeting his prediction for the event, the Norwegian went in favour of VW, with Ogier leading home Jari-Matti Latvala, with third place up for grabs between Mads Ostberg, Mikko Hirvonen and Andreas Mikkelsen – although he warned the established starts to 'look out for Pontus!!', referring to rising Swedish talent, and reigning WRC Junior champion, Pontus Tidemand.
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