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RX: Solberg relishes potential Loeb rivalry revival

Petter Solberg says 'it would be fantastic' to reignite his rivalry with Sebastian Loeb in the World Rallycross Championship.
Petter Solberg says 'it would be fantastic' to reignite his rivalry with Sebastian Loeb in the World Rallycross Championship as he hints at a potential debut in the international series for the French driver.

Solberg is hastily preparing for the defence of his WRX title in 2016 after claiming two consecutive world crowns and is expecting the upcoming season to be his toughest to date with a number of rivals stepping up its efforts and car developments.

The 2003 World Rally Champion has also hinted at former rival Loeb stepping into World Rallycross this season to revive their battle. The pair famously clashed in WRC for almost a decade when Loeb dethroned Solberg in 2004 for a maiden WRC championship before going on to dominant and win nine consecutive world titles.

Loeb is yet to confirm his 2016 plans after dropping out of Citroen's WTCC line-up and has recently returned from his debut Dakar Rally where he finished ninth overall having led at the halfway stage before rolling his Peugeot.

“Peugeot is coming in now with three new cars from France and there is a rumour that Sebastien Loeb is coming to the world championship so we know we need to have a plan,” Solberg said. “I think one more year as a privateer is possible and for 2017 we are working very hard for a support deal from the manufacturer.

“It is not official yet but I have heard a rumour Loeb is coming to the championship. I think it would be fantastic to fight again with him. It has grown very quickly and things are looking really good.”

Regardless of whether Loeb makes his WRX debut this season, Solberg – who is officially is still to be announced for the 2016 WRX season – is anticipating a tougher challenge than his past two championship wins and is looking to secure Citroen factory support.

“Defending the championship is always much harder,” he explained. “When you win something all the other teams push harder to try to beat you. Many teams have high level engineers now from other motorsports so rallycross is getting highly technical.

“We have never had any help from the Citroen factory we have built all our cars ourselves but that is okay. We are happy as a team, but manufacturer support would help so we could do more testing and get the level a little bit higher than before.”


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