Petter Solberg Q&A

Norwegian Petter Solberg, 28, has become one of the hottest properties on the WRC scene in recent years, part of the new wave of young talent that his risen to the pinnacle of rallying including Citroen's Sebastien Loeb and Ford's Markko Martin. Solberg's new deal which keeps him at Subaru until the end of 2006 means he will effectively become its lead driver and long-term bet to regain the World Rally Championship crown. He gave his reaction to the new deal

Petter Solberg Q&A



The overall performance of the Impreza and knowing it can win was a very big part of my choice. The Subaru is simply a great car and I've got a lot of confidence in it over the last three years. Then I looked at other things, I know how other teams have worked and it's always the key people that make the difference. One of the most important factors from me is the management and the people that work in the team. My thinking is that while anything mechanical can be repaired or improved, the people cannot be changed - that's why it's so important to get it right. I am lucky to work with such a good group of people, from the management team of David Lapworth, Paul Howarth, my technicians, Steve Farrell's engineering team and my engineer Pierre Genon - I talk to him every day about everything and he's a good friend.

Maybe I could have switched teams, and perhaps got into another car that could win straight away, but there would be no feeling or passion about that. When we start winning at Subaru, I will have worked hard and there will be a feeling of achievement and that's what I really want. We have also been treated so well by the people at Subaru in Japan, like President Takenaka at FHI and President Katsurada at STI, they are very well organised, there's excellent co-operation and a real feeling of appreciation. It's all about trust and respect. When they give so much to me and Phil you want to give something back.



It's a very good car, and our times this year have shown that. We had a long discussion last year about the development of the WRC Impreza, and it's clear that there is a massive amount of effort going into it's future. It's a long-term project but we're seeing some of the benefits now, there is so much potential and I feel it's all coming together. Working with Pirelli is good too, we are all working together to be champions and there's a lot of effort being put in.



This year we want to win the drivers' championship, but we know there is still more to come from the car and things are getting better and better. That's the only objective - to win rallies and to do it as quickly as possible.



I don't think so. Some people might think it's stupid to sign for such a long time, but I think the WRC is all about trust and co-operation. I wouldn't move teams just for a change, for me there are a lot of personal reasons for my decision to stay and I hope the team feels the same, maybe I'll stay at Subaru for my whole career, who can say. One thing is for sure, I'm not going to relax and take things easy because I have a secure future. If I feel I'm not doing the job well, if I'm not quick enough anymore, then I'd quit anyway.



I must say when I won Rally GB last year, and the team atmosphere when we came into service - that was the moment.

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Solberg extends Subaru deal until 2006

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