Rally GB leaders

Sebastien Loeb tried hard on the final day of Wales Rally GB, but his Citroen couldn't hold a candle to Petter Solberg's Subaru. The Norwegian ace stormed through the final stage to clinch his first WRC title, while team-mate Tommi Makinen took an emotional podium finish on his last-ever event

Rally GB leaders

The top three gave their views after three days of hard graft...

Solberg: "I don't have a clue. You know, we had our ups and downs all through the year and our team has worked very, very hard and I must say thank you to David [Lapworth, Subaru's team manager]. It's been a really, really good job to achieve this result - a lot of testing, a lot of hard work. My take on things is that the more you put in, the more you get back and that's exactly what I have done and the team has done and now we're sitting here as the world champion.

"You know, I don't have too much in my life. I've been racing cars since I was six years old. I haven't done anything else and now I'm up here as world champion. It's difficult to believe."

Loeb: "I think we had a very good chance of being world champion too, but we had to fight with Petter for that and, okay, I think that here he was very fast. It was not easy in my mind to push very hard because I knew it was important to keep the car on the road because I knew Carlos [Sainz] was retired and I knew that for the manufacturers' championship it was very important. But Petter was very fast and I think it would have been difficult to catch him and I think we made a good race here. What we can regret a little bit in the season is that sometimes we lost some little points, like in Catalunya it was a stupid mistake with the tyre and we lost the championship there.

"Next year we try to do better, try to be more concentrated on tyre choice, do a very good job and to try to do better. But I'm very happy for Citroen because it's only the first year for all the team in the complete world championship and this title proves that the team has done a very good job all the year and so I'm very happy for all the team."

Makinen: Well, these shoes! [Tommi shows off his new gold driving boots]. It really was one of the best weekends in my life - the best weekend in a long time, when I've seen an incredible success for all the team. David and the team, they worked like they had to do it - it's good to see when everything works well. Petter did incredible - and that's the most important for us. For myself, my target to try and finish on the podium to end my career this weekend came true and I am very happy. So that's it - an enjoyable week and a good battle with Colin [McRae] and that makes it very, very interesting.

"I would like to say thanks to all of you, so many of you here. Thanks a lot to everybody - it's been incredible working with all you media people. Everybody, all of you, I'm going to miss all this - I'm sure it's going to be a difficult time at the beginning of next year when we should be in Monte Carlo. So thank you very much.

Solberg: "Well, actually, I had a few discussions with Tommi about how to tackle this rally and he said you're going to have a terrible week - you're not going to sleep and you'll think about the world championship all the time, and it's actually the truth. It's been quite difficult, but I kept concentration all the time and it went well at the end. Actually, the only thing I have to say is to thank Tommi for his support. These two years with him have been incredible. As I said, he made a really good friend, he gave a lot of support and just made me go quicker, made me more happy and this victory, it is yours Tommi."

Makinen: "Thank you very much, but you did the work!"

Loeb: "Erm, when it was finished I was sure. But before, on the second day, I thought it would be very difficult to catch Petter because we started the day with a mistake on the tyre choice, and we lost a bit of time and after that we had to push very hard to do the same times as Petter, so I understood it would be difficult. Okay, we continued to keep the pressure, but he made a very good pace, with no mistakes, so we couldn't do anything.

Makinen: "There's no plan at the moment. I will be in Monte Carlo, spectating - that's the first thing for next year. But I think skiing and doing some motor biking, some motocross, some things that I haven't done so much over the last few years because the timetable has been a bit tight and there's not been so much time to do anything."

Finish: Solberg's dream double
Previous article

Finish: Solberg's dream double

Next article

Peugeot vows to bounce back

Peugeot vows to bounce back
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Plus

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Plus

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Plus

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Autosport was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success

Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Plus

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Autosport went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

Jul 7, 2022