After 20 years of top level competition and winning three FIA Titles (2003 World Rally Champion, 2014 & ’15 World RallyCross Champion) Rally super star & fan favourite, Petter Solberg has announced this morning that he will retire from top level Motorsport.
Solberg, dubbed Mr.Hollywood for his flamboyant style in entertaining the fans during race/rally weekends, started his career at Ford alongside Colin McRae, before joining Subaru to take his first win in Wales Rally GB in 2002 with his Welsh Co-Driver Phil Mills. The pair went on to take the WRC title the following year once again in wales rally GB, beating Sebastien Loeb by just 1 point, as well as the likes of Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Richard Burns & team mate Tommi Makinen.
In 2008, Subaru pulled out of the sport, leaving Solberg with out a drive. So the Norwegian set up his own rally team, and has competed with them ever since. In 2013 he then switched over to the World Rallycross Championships where he won the title in 2014 & 2015. In 2017 he joined forces with Volkswagen, where his team went on to win both the drivers and manufacturers championships two years in a row. Despite Solberg suffering from illness during much of late 2017 & early 2018. His team then announced they would pause their WorldRX program for 2019 due to lack of manufacturer team to compete against as World RX struggles with the uncertainty of future electric car competition.
However, Solberg say he will not “hang up the helmet. Not completely.” As he will still do selected events for fun as well as a ‘farewell tour’ which according to Autosport, will begin at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed in the UK.
“It’s 20 years and that’s a long time to do something and then decide to stop,” Solberg told Autosport.
“I want to do cool stuff, I want to do the right, high-profile events in the future. Maybe I go and do Rally Sweden, for example, or if I have an invite to go back to Rallyday, I take these kinds of promotional things.
“My driving makes people smile, I want to carry on with that. “But for the championship, I’m finished. I won’t do another one.”
Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place on 5th – 7th of July
The link to Petter Solberg’s emotional Video message below