As fellow Norwegian Mads Østberg prepares for his first year in a works seat, Petter Solberg and co-driver Chris Patterson bid the top level of rally farewell….at least for now. Whatever you call Solberg’s absence he insists that you don’t call it a retirement. Interestingly in a phone call with Jari-Matti Latvala a week ago Petter mentioned that if the WRC didn’t work out for 2013 that he might go the route of Rallycross. If that is the case then the question ends up being, does Petter do the European Rallycross Championship? Or does he go the X-Games route and drive in the new Global Rallycross Championship and compete against 2 time WRC champion Marcus Gronholm? Additionally, Petter has said in the past that he has been working on a specially designed car for Pikes Peak, so we could see him there as well. Finally there is also rumors going around the twitter-sphere that Petter has been scheming some sort of special project with M-Sport, but no details have surfaced as of yet. It isn’t like there aren’t a lot of options available for Solberg in 2013, but unfortunately none of them involve a seat driving in the WRC.
Ford wishes Solberg well as Norwegian bows out of WRC
Ford has paid tribute to Norway’s Petter Solberg after he announced Tuesday that he will not compete in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2013.
Solberg and co-driver Chris Patterson drove for Ford World Rally Team in the WRC in 2012, achieving four podium finishes and 44 stage wins in their Fiesta RS World Rally Car on their way to fifth in the championship.
Solberg first drove for Ford at the beginning of his WRC career in 1999 and 2000, before returning to the team in 2012.
Ford Racing senior manager Gerard Quinn said the sport would be poorer for the 2003 world champion’s departure: “Petter has been a charismatic and popular member of the service park for over a decade, and we are sure that motorsport has not seen the last of him. All of us at Ford wish him every future success,” he said.
“It will be strange to begin a WRC season with no Petter Solberg in the service park, and I will miss him on a personal as well as a professional level,” added M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson. “When we first signed him back in 1999, he was a fresh-faced youngster with a lot of potential and equally a lot to learn, and when he returned to Ford more than a decade later as a world champion, it was like he had come home.
“It was a pleasure to have Petter in the team this year and we are delighted to have shared in some of his many successes in rallying. We wish him well for the future,” he concluded.