Solberg in high spirits following his Spanish performance
Rally de Espana turned out to be a fantastic event for the Petter Solberg World Rally Team, which appeared at the World Rally Championship's Spanish round with a brand new Citroen C4 WRC.
Petter Solberg and
co-driver Phil Mills hardly had time to test their newly-acquired machinery before the rally began, yet they quickly adapted, increased their pace every day, and even managed to score four stage wins over the three-day event which took place on sealed surface roads near Salou.
Having finished in fourth position overall, an overjoyed Solberg and Mills declared that their performance had been the biggest moment of their careers in a long time.
"This is the end of three years of frustration," an emotional Petter Solberg said, a sideways reference to the last few seasons spent with Subaru. "I just don't have words for this now. I just keep thinking if I had been in a better position earlier, you know?"
Solberg's performance at the wheel of the Citroen C4 WRC did wonders for his confidence, proving to the rally world that he still has what it takes to fight with the best of them.
That important factor was hard to display at the wheel of the car he had previously used this year: an old Citroen Xsara WRC sent back into service when Solberg hastily put together his own small privateer team following Subaru's shock retirement at the end of the 2008 season, with a handful of former Subaru staff hopping aboard for the adventure.
The deal he made recently with Citroen Racing made it possible for him to switch to a modern car, and it made all the difference to the 2003 World Rally Champion.
"It's a special moment for me to have this opportunity to drive this car. I thank the team and Citroen for letting me do this. I hope people see that I will be fast, but you need the support of a manufacturer team; it's impossible to do it alone."
Solberg's ambitions are high for the final round of the season, which will take place in Great Britain later this month.
"In Wales I will be up there fighting," he warned. "Do I need to say any more? I'm back!"
Team Manager Ken Rees is also very happy with the effort and success the Petter Solberg World Rally Team operation achieved in Spain.
"We never did doubt Petter adapted to the car quickly, as he did with the Xsara at the beginning of the season, but he did exceed our expectations," Rees proudly said.