The Subaru World Rally Team has taken the decision to withdraw its number one driver, Petter Solberg from the Uddeholm Swedish Rally, after his off in the 34.54 kilometre Liljendal stage dropped him down the order and out of contention.

Petter, who has been running third overall and well placed to take the final place on the podium, lost loads of time after he got stuck in a snowy ditch on the second test of the day, SS10. Furthermore while his car was undamaged and he managed to rejoin after help from more than 20 spectators, by then any hope of a good result had slipped away.

"After losing almost 14 minutes stuck in a ditch on SS10, and with it any chance of a points scoring finish here in Sweden, the team decided to withdraw Petter from the remainder of the rally. The decision was made in order to preserve his car, tyres and major components such as the transmission, all of which, under WRC regulations, must be used in next week's Rally Norway," Subaru's managing director, Richard Taylor told the teams' official website.

"The decision was taken reluctantly but we felt it was necessary to give Petter the best possible chance of achieving a podium finish on his home event which starts in just 5 days time."

Petter meanwhile, speaking in service E, before the team took the decision to withdraw him after SS12, conceded that it was just a mistake: "I had some understeer this morning and should have just backed-off a little bit and not pushed to the limit, but I didn't, I made a mistake and that's it," he summed-up. "Looking back, of course I should have come off the pace and tried to learn some more, but it's difficult, you know?

"The car's absolutely fine, and Sweden's not a bad place to test for the next rally in Norway, so although it's hard we have to push on and see what we can do."

Petter's exit, means Chris Atkinson is left to uphold the team's honours. Atkinson is currently running in seventh place overall, 18.1 seconds off OMV Kronos driver, Daniel Carlsson, who holds sixth.

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