Petter Solberg will make a special return to the World Rally Championship to debut the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 alongside Eric Camilli at October’s Rally RACC Catalunya – Rally de Espana.

The Norwegian, who competes for his own Volkswagen Sweden squad in the World Rallycross Championship, will make his WRC comeback six years on from his previous campaign with the Ford World Rally Team in 2012.

The 2003 WRC champion will be behind the wheel of Volkswagen’s new Polo WRC 2 challenger for the new GTI R5’s only WRC outing of the year with the manufacturer’s works team.

Solberg has been partially involved in the car’s development this year with the WRC 2 becoming available to customer outfits earlier this month.

“The opportunity to make a WRC comeback with Volkswagen is a unique one, and I was very happy to accept the offer,” Solberg said. “When I drove the car in January in Sweden, I didn’t want to stop. Everything about the Polo GTI R5 worked from the very beginning.

“I’m really looking forward to Rally Spain. I always used to like the combination of gravel and asphalt. It will obviously be a special feeling to return to the place where I brought the curtain down on my rally career back in 2012.

“It will be a fantastic reunion with the WRC family, but one with a professional background. I obviously want to get the R5 Polo off to a good start with a good result.”

Solberg will drive alongside Camilli in the WRC 2 Volkswagen entry, marking the German manufacturer’s first return to WRC since exiting the sport at the end of 2016 as reigning world champions following the deiseal-gate scandal which hit the company.

Solberg notched up 13 wins in his WRC career driving for Ford, Subaru and Citroen, winning the world title in 2003 along with three runner-up finishes.

“To give everything, always 110 per cent, is Petter’s trademark. He has tested the Polo GTI R5 and has always been one of our preferred candidates for the debut of our new customer sport car,” Volkswagen motorsport director Sven Smeets said.