Solberg rules out podium in Greece

Petter Solberg has admitted his chances of challenging for a podium on the Acropolis Rally of Greece have all-but disappeared in the searing temperatures north of Athens

Solberg rules out podium in Greece

Despite further work to improve the hot weather running of his Citroen Xsara WRC, the 2003 world champion struggled at this morning's pre-event shakedown close to the service park in Loutraki - where temperatures were already closing on 40 degrees.

Solberg's best time for the 6.05-km test was 2.5 seconds slower than fastest man, Citroen Junior Team driver Evgeny Novikov - with the 18-year-old Russian setting the quickest time at shakedown for the first time in his career.

A downcast Solberg said: "We have changed the car a little bit - there are bigger fans on the car and an extra radiator. We are trying everything we can, but it's going to be really tough.

"I have to be honest, after shakedown this morning, I just can't keep up. It was hot in Sardinia, but we've gone up another level here. I just have to do my best and try to push."

Solberg admitted the opening day's stages were a big concern for him. He added: "The uphill sections in the stages tomorrow are so steep and I know how much we're going to struggle. When I go into fourth gear up there, the engine will go: 'Burrr' and then go slowly. Even on the downhill you need the acceleration from the car to fire it downhill and we're not having that. It's the heat which is making it so tough, but we've done all we can."

Solberg confirmed that he will take the Xsara to the next event in Poland, saying: "There's just no time to do anything different between these two rallies, but in Poland, we don't know so much about what's coming. All I know about Poland is what I've seen on Youtube from Sebastien's [Loeb] test. We'll see what happens."

Given that Loeb was not supposed to be competing in Greece had he stuck with a proposed Oreca Le Mans programme, the Norwegian admitted he'd been thinking about the French 24-hour race. He concluded: "When I got here in Greece and I saw the temperature going up and up, I did think, maybe it would have been nice to have been at Le Mans."

shares
comments
Wilson relieved Rally GB is saved

Previous article

Wilson relieved Rally GB is saved

Next article

Latvala leads first morning in Greece

Latvala leads first morning in Greece
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021