Solberg extends Subaru deal until 2006

Norwegian rally star Petter Solberg will stay with the works Subaru WRC team until at least the end of 2006, having signed a three-year contract extension with the outfit

Solberg extends Subaru deal until 2006

The Norwegian joined Subaru in 2000, and claimed his first WRC win for the on the Rally of Great Britain on his way to finishing runner-up in the championship last year.

"The first priority for us has to be to sign a driver who can win rallies and championships, and having worked with Petter for the last three years we're perhaps in the best position to make that judgement about his talent," said Subaru team principal David Lapworth.

"But almost as important is the way the driver interacts with the people in the team and the way he helps motivate them as well as providing technical input. Petter has proven to be as much a team player as he is a fast driver. If you needed more, then I could add that Petter handles the media and the fans better than anybody. We're very happy to have him on board for the future."

The identity of Solberg's team-mate for next year is yet to be resolved. Makinen has been widely tipped to retire, although he has recently hinted that he might continue driving for another season, Richard Burns has also been tipped to move back to Subaru from Peugeot.

"Tommi certainly remains an option as Petter's team-mate, he has built a strong relationship with him and the rest of the team," said Lapworth. "At this stage our strategy for next year is not confirmed. Once we have a clear idea of the objectices, then we'll look to get the remaining drivers in place."

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