The last man to win the World Rally Championship that was not Sebastien Loeb is questioning his future in the sport for 2011. The 2003 champion has revealed that he does not have the budget to continue his privateer efforts when the new S2000T cars come on line next season.
Solberg has been piloting a Citroen C4 the last couple seasons after offered a really good deal. This budget issue however may make Solberg a key player in the driver market if sponsorship cannot be found. Petter said he has one sponsor but as we know that is not going to be enough unless it is a big one. So that may open Solberg up to another team as he has said the fire still burns to drive. To be honest I think it should after nearly taking second in the championship in a dated C4. He is still a top dog and may be THE top dog once Loeb leaves.
So where does that put him? Citroen has an open car for their DS3 and have made kind offers to Petter in the past. Ford however may have a couple open driver slots next season and would have to consider taking him on in order to sway the manufacturer’s standings. It has been rumored the Monster World Rally Team may have a second seat available. While Chris Atkinson has been strongly mentioned, there has been no real confirmation of that. Also, Matthew Wilson had made mention that his seat at the Stobart team is not a guarantee. The British driver was hopeful but admitted there was still work to be done if he wanted to maintain in the seat. Why not bring on Solberg? Look at what he has done to you all season in a private Citroen! Any level of factory support would be a huge boost to his chances.
Step outside of the usual players. Petter has wanted factory support as of late. A move to MINI WRC is not out of the question given his past with Dave Richards and Prodrive. The return of Prodrive has linked a lot of high profile names to team with Kris Meeke next season. Marcus Gronholm has even been mentioned but no deal has been announced. Petter is a real possibility for that seat down the road as he has proven he has more than enough fight to reach the top step of the podium. Keep it here at the paddock as we will continue to provide off season rally news all the way up to the start of the season.