Solberg: Citroen turned down my WRC offer

Petter Solberg is keen for a return to the World Rally Championship but a deal with Citroen for 2016 fell through due to 'politics'.

Petter Solberg says he's hungry for a return to the World Rally Championship but a deal never materialised with Citroen and blames 'politics' in PSA Peugeot Citroen for the failure to get a campaign together for 2016.

The reigning World Rallycross champion is preparing for the defence of his title this year with his privateer Citroen squad but has revealed he'd been planning a WRC return in selected events as well as taking on the ultra-endurance Dakar Rally with Toyota.

However, the 2003 WRC champion's plans were trashed after Citroen confirmed it would pull out its factory squad from the world championship in 2016 to concentrate on producing a new challenger ahead of next year's regulations revamp. The Norwegian's 2016 Dakar plans were separately thwarted by his WRX commitments.

Solberg, who is aiming to take on the 2017 Dakar Rally, has blamed internal politics within PSA Peugeot Citroen for potentially preventing a WRC comeback.

"I was asked at the FIA prize giving awards in Paris whether I wanted to return to WRC and I said yes I would love to do it," Solberg said at the Autosport International show. "I tried to talk to them [Citroen] but it was not ready yet and in the end it didn't happen. Unfortunately there is a lot of things happening now, especially between Peugeot and Citroen, it is a little bit of politics.

"I was actually ready to do it, I did my preparation and all the testing I could do at home. I still really want to do it.

"I planned to do Dakar for this year. If I held the world championship a little bit earlier I would have started testing with Toyota and would have done it. But you have to focus on one thing at a time and I didn't want to destroy anything for the World Rallycross Championship. I am trying to plan for Dakar Rally in 2017 whatever happens."

Solberg is expected to officially announce his WRX entry in the coming weeks in preparation for the season opener in Montalegre, Portugal, on the 16-17 April and will face competition from factory Peugeot efforts, USA star and Ford-backed Ken Block as well as a rumoured debut for Sebastien Leob.

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