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Q & A: Solberg on his strong start

Petter Solberg is leading Rally Japan at the end of day one, but the Norwegian has been suffering from the flu throughout the day. He tells AUTOSPORT how he managed.

Q. Talk us through today?

Petter Solberg, Rally JapanPetter Solberg: It's been good, you know. A very good day. Everything has worked well for me. I think we have a good chance to fight for victory, but it's been tough for me with not feeling so well.

Q. How do you feel now?

PS: I feel better, but it's been a tough rally mentally and physically. I must say the long stage was fucking difficult. After I got out of there I just lay down. I lost focus, proper focus on the stages.

Q. How do you get that focus back in the stage?

PS: You know, it's just that I can't get the pace notes into my head. It's that simple, I can't get it in. I can't react to what Chris [Patterson] is telling me. The second time through the stages I'm very happy with the speed - we could have gone much faster.

Q. So you're pretty much driving blind?

PS: Not driving blind, but I'm just a little bit careful and that's the part of the game.

Q. Are you surprised at Loeb?

PS: I honestly don't know what he is doing. I don't know if this is part of the plan for Citroen, but it's very strange. In Finland he was not properly on the pace and, okay I had a problem, but we were the same pace as him. Now my car is working well - I don't know.

Q. Are you over the worst of your illness?

PS: One more nights sleep to sweat out the last bit and it should be good. I hope...

Q. Ken [Rees, team manager] was concerned you might not make the start yesterday.

PS: I must say I was very bad yesterday. When I was driving at shakedown, Icoulnd't remember everything, not the pace notes from the corners, nothing.

Q. Did it cross your mind not to start the rally?

PS: Not really. Not really. It's hard, but if you want something so much, you can do it. I want this a lot.

Q. A win on Sunday would take the pain away?

PS: If that could happen but I thought the same in Finland then it would be massive, especially to do it in Japan. If I win in Japan, maybe they start to sell a lot more Citroens in Japan.

Q. What about the road position tomorrow: you'll be first in tomorrow?

PS: It doesn't matter. On the second time through the stages today, it's worse to be further back because it's so rough. I'm happy to be first on the road tomorrow, maybe I will lsoe a little bit on the first loop, but it should be okay.

Q. What's the plan for tomorrow?

PS: There's no plan. I've stopped planning. I can't control them, so there's no point planning.

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