His goals for the second half of the season
Only two weeks to the restart of the FIA World Rally Championship 2006. An occasion for a personal talk with OMV driver Henning Solberg about his goals for the second half of the season, the new events in the FIA World Rally Championship
2007, family and holidays.
You are competing in twelve rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time – and this time around there also is a summer break for the first time in this series. Are you already looking forward to go racing again?
"The first half of the season went by rather fast. Unfortunately we didn't have luck on your side several times. But I still am not unhappy and am definitely looking forward to race again soon. I'm taking a break at the OMV ADAC Rally, that is why I am even more motivated for the Neste Rally Finland. My professed goal is a place on the podium at one of the events in the second half of the season."
Your next assignment will be at the Neste Rally Finland (August 18 to 20). Last year you achieved very good times at this event. Are your expectations for 2006 as high?
"You obviously put a little more pressure on yourself. I was extremely fast last year and achieved three third fastest stage times on the last day – only just behind Petter Solberg and Mikko Hirvonen, who fought for third place. This year the Peugeot 307 WRC and Bozian Racing make up a perfect package.
That's why I absolutely want to reach a place among the top-5."
Considering such an extensive rally schedule, is there still time for the family?
"Much too little, I'm afraid. Rallies, tests and any number of sponsor obligations take up most of the time. But I managed to go sailing with my family for a week, right after the WRC event in Greece. Currently it is extremely hot in Norway – just like in the rest of Europe. Therefore I take any chance I get to cool down together with my wife and the two kids at a lake near my hometown Spydeberg."
Tell us about a typical day in the life of Henning Solberg right now?
"Each day starts with a 10 kilometre run with my personal trainer. This is followed by work for my sponsors, such as autograph sessions in a number of Expert-shops and meetings to calls on clients. In-between I also meet with my fans. 17.00 is a daily fixture for me, for that is when I pick up my little daughter from the kindergarten. The evening is reserved for my family."
The regulation of the FIA World Rally Championship has brought several changes for 2007, mainly three new events in the calendar. Among them Norway. What is your view on this?
"That is absolutely fantastic for me. I am sure that Rally Norway will be an enormous asset to the WRC calendar. I can only be grateful for this event is almost tailor-made for me. I won the ‘dress rehearsal' this year. But even though it is a snow rally one can't compare it to Sweden. The roads are much more narrow in Norway and the snow walls also were considerably higher during the last years."
What is your opinion on the rest of the schedule?
"I competed in Portugal in 2000 and 2001. A really great rally. I also like the country and the characteristics of the course. I don't know the rally in Ireland. It is a pity that Cyprus and Turkey were taken off the calendar. I really took to both events. The more so since fourth place in Cyprus last year was my best WRC result."
How did you experience the FIFA World Cup 2006?
"Oh well. I was in the same position as my OMV teammate Manfred Stohl. Just like Austria, Norway hadn't qualified for the final round. Normally I am not a big football fan but World Championships are a different cup of tea. I favoured France as a team and Ronaldinho as a player. Unfortunately he couldn't entirely meet expectations. It is quite all right that Italy won the World Cup. It is a nation that has shown strong performances for several years. There is a lot of hard training behind this – therefore one can hardly speak of a lucky winner."
Press release OMV World Rally Team