It's been quite a year doing my first rallycross season since 1996. Like a lot of my career, it's been a season of ups and downs but most of all it's been really good fun.
The ups? So many of them... but mostly it's the fact that we've gone in and shown that we had the speed to win. There have been so many events where we nearly won - Portugal, Finland, Sweden, France - but for one reason or another, we were just missing that little final bit of luck. And I suppose that's been part of the downs really: it's taken us about a year to develop a car that's properly competitive and reliable, which is why we missed out on winning sometimes.
To be realistic, that's what we expected. We didn't plan to build our own car, instead we were going to have a car from Hansen Motorsport. This was agreed, the car was built at the end of November last year, and then they changed their mind - which wasn't so nice.
We looked at lots of other options, including going back to rallying, because time was running out but then we decided to build our own car in six weeks - which as you can imagine, wasn't easy at all. There are only eight or nine people in our team and we had to do everything ourselves from scratch. From that point on really we were chasing ourselves - trying to develop the car and make it reliable while at the same time ensuring we had the speed we needed to compete at the top.
Now though the car is really, really good. You'll see next year, as we'll be back to rallycross next season. Actually we're building a new car - another Citroen DS3 - to take in everything that we've learned this year and we will sell or rent the car that I've already got.
At the end of every season you look at the options available and you make your decisions according to what you believe. For me, the most important thing is always to be fighting at the front and trying to win the championship, and that is why I decided on rallycross again for 2014.
Solberg in his WRC heyday with Subaru, heading for the 2003 title © LAT
Of course, there were other options on the table as well, some in circuit racing too. But what I want to do is to be going for championships with a proper programme, and rallycross allows me to do that. In my rally career I've had one gold, two silvers and a bronze, so that's the level I want to be at. Of course, I'd never close the door on rallying - but it would have to be in the proper conditions.
The other thing that convinced me is the plan for the new World Rallycross Championship in 2014. There isn't a full calendar yet - that will be decided later this year - but I hear it's going to places like Mexico and Asia, and we're going to have live TV coverage from every round.
I think I appreciate that more than many drivers because of course I have to find sponsors as well and that's so much easier when you can show them that there's a good TV package. The move to the new world championship is really important because it's a big step up in profile and this sport is completely made for live TV. I've spoken with IMG, the promoters, many times and I'm very impressed by their plans. These guys know what they're doing and I'm sure it's going to be massive.
We're up against some really good drivers in rallycross, as Sebastien Loeb found out when he came to Loheac. I think he got a bit of a shock! Andreas Bakkerud has been really quick, I'm sure he's going to be a big star in the future, and the other person who surprised me was Fabien Pailler who was really quick in France. Then you've got the established people too like Liam Doran. He's a tough competitor but very talented. Tanner Foust came in and was quick straight away. These guys are really tough to beat, I tell you.
And, you know, it would be hard to find a car that's more fun to drive than my rallycross car. The power is just unbelievable. In some ways rallycross is easier than rallying, because you have the circuit and once you learn it you know where you're going.
Rallycross driving standards have left Solberg furious at times
But then you have to control the car and try to overtake people, and this is where the problems can happen. The only thing I've been disappointed by is the fact that there have been some moves this year that have been, how shall I say, ungentlemanly. Look at it this way: I've been hit from the back more times than I can remember, but not one single time have I ever hit someone with the front. Maybe that's something I'm doing wrong and perhaps I need to be a bit tougher and less fair next year, but that's really not my way. I don't know... it's something for me to think about.
What is particularly important in rallycross is the start, as there are so many heats and if you have a good start you are less likely to have problems. So one of the things we've been working on with the car is the start system; next year this should be really good.
Of course I've been keeping an eye on the World Rally Championship this year as well; I was going to go to Rally Finland but in the end I went to my son Oliver's cross kart race instead! He's been doing really well, so you never know...
I think it's tough for the guys in the WRC at the moment; we need to see more investment in the sport and more young drivers coming up through the ranks. If you're a team and you're looking for someone quick who will also be good for the future, who do you take?
OK, there's Thierry Neuville but he's in the position now where he can decide where he wants to go, as he seems to be the only person capable of really challenging Sebastien Ogier. I think Ogier's going to dominate for a long time, but probably not for as long as Loeb did, it depends how long Volkswagen stays in rallying.
This is one of the ways that Loeb achieved his success: he built up a team around him that worked consistently and logically, so because of that he was able to dominate for many years. Now that's what Ogier has to do, and he's got the right people to do it with, like Francois-Xavier Demaison, who is a very clever guy.
For the next year or two at least it's probably going to be all about Ogier but there's no point making too many comparisons with Loeb yet; he has won nine titles and Ogier has just finished winning one, so let's wait and see.
As for me, I'm focused on doing my own thing and going where my road takes me. I've got a car with 600 horsepower, the best guys in the world in my team, and I get to meet some amazing fans. There's a lot to look forward to, the best period of rallycross is still to come. Remember I told you that...