Mr.Hollywood Petter Solberg Takes Up Retirement

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

https://www.facebook.com/PetterSolbergWRX/videos/270612233827077?sfns=mo

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Race Retro 2019 – In Pictures

Fan’s flock to rally fest fun in the Sun at Race Retro

 

 

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Driver Analysis: Rally Sweden

Highlight of the Rally: Marcus Gronholm

Oui oui oui, Marcus Gronholm was back! Oh how we missed the tall heights of this legend & his raw honest stage end comments. It really was a true joy to see him back. Shame it was for the very last time. Thankfully nothing went “up into the ass of Timo!”

Save of the rally: Esapekka Lappi

There were a few contenders for this. Neuville’s 360 spin on Saturday, where he showed his dancing on ice skills while seemingly, losing no time at all was very impressive. But this award goes to Esapekka lappi. Coming in hot and bouncing off a frozen snow bank & nearly rolling the car. Luckily it landed back on all fours and continued on as if nothing happened to a 2nd place finish.

Wooden Spoon: Sebastien Ogier

He reached the highest of highs on the first round of the season in Monte. That didn’t continue into round two when he ditched it into a snow bank and left it there. He is now 3rd in the drivers standings, but with how hot the battle is with Tanak & Neuville. It could be tough to get them points back. On the plus side, a large wooden spoon makes for a good snow shovel.

Driver of the Rally: Teemu Suninen.

Can I pick two for this one? No?

Ok, well then It will have to be Teemu Suninen. (Tanak has won enough times) The young inexperienced driver made it look easy on Friday, beating the best more experienced drivers in the world to lead the way. His pace was truly impressive all weekend. Giving M-Sport the hope they needed for a good result and potential of a possible win this season. Looked handy for a win here on Friday, if it wasn’t for them pesky car sucking snow banks. (The tree & a broken rollcage didn’t help) But give it time. The man to watch in Finland.

And the winner is…..

Ott Tanak. Once again in another world of his own which is far out of reach to others. That Yaris is looking pretty solid too.

To Read Rally Sweden Review Click Here 🇸🇪 📝

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Rally Sweden Review

The 2019 edition of WRC Rally Sweden was a special one. As every surviving World Rally Champion since 1996, descended on the frozen Varmland’s of Sweden. Along with the best drivers of the modern era and they didn’t disappoint.

There was lots of excitement about the two times WRC champ, Marcus Gronholm returning. Surely increasing ticket sales to his favourite event. Entering as a late 50th Birthday present to himself (He actually turned 51 before the event, but Toyota didn’t have enough cars for him last year) He was in it for the fun & didn’t fail to entertain. Coming to the end of the first stage and giving us his “Oui, oui, oui” and honest comments that we have sorely missed along with his brilliant character. Igniting the memories of his battles against 9 times champ, Sebastien Loeb. Especially racing together on the opening, head to head super special – Gronholm won that particular head to head battle.

Petter Solberg was also there for a family day out. With his wife, also celebrating her birthday by sitting in the co-drivers seat of Petter’s Ex-Codriver, Phil Mills Viking motorsport built Ford Escort RS1800. The Solberg pair, taking the win by a minute in the historic class.

But the happiest WRC champ in Sweden, was the four times champion Tommi Mäkinen. Watching on with huge grinning smiles and air jumping claps, as he watched his Toyota Yaris get driven to the top step of the podium by the, once again seemingly unstoppable Ott Tanak. With a car that seems to just work anywhere. The WRC’s most experienced driver, Jari Matti Latvala was hoping to add another win to his 197 WRC starts. Unfortunately too many trips into the snow banks put an end to that hope.

It was Citroen’s Esapekka Lappi who took the 2nd step on the podium. Possibly helped by his retro-cool new shades to help contrast the snow for better visibility. The Finn kept mostly out of trouble, with the exception of a near roll and spin early on in the rally.

Sébastien Ogier’s title challenge took a blow, when he too ended the rally stuck in a snow bank. Flying away from Rally Sweden with just 2 points towards his championship from the powerstage. His biggest rival in Hyundai, Thierry Neuville gave a big push and had a few lucky escapes. Or was it the drivers skill? Sometimes you make your own luck in this game. A few pinball snow bank moments and an incredible 360 recovery on Saturday, dancing on ice. In the end he could only manage 3rd place. However he bags important championship points over Ogier to be ahead of him in the points table. But both of them need to worry about the unstoppable pace of Ott Tanak and his Toyota Yaris. If the end of last year is anything to go by, then the 2019 drivers title could be Tänak’s to loose. He currently leads the drivers title standings by 7 points over Neuville.

Down in WRC2 Pro. Mads Ostberg did the job he was asked to do & won his category for Manufacturer run R5 cars. Although he stated that there is a lot of work that needs to be done to his Citroen C3 R5 car. The ‘private’ WRC2 class podium was dominated by Volkswagens (Did we expect anything less?) With Ole Christian Veiby taking the win in the new Polo R5 and even finishing ahead of WRC2 Pro winner Ostberg. 2nd was Emil Lindholm. With Veiby’s team mate & two times World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson dropping to 3rd on the final day. Swedish driver Tom Kristensson took the win in the JWRC.

To Check Out Rally Sweden Driver Analysis Click Here 🇸🇪 📝

Rally Sweden Results

1. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2:47:30.0
2. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferme (Citroen C3 WRC) +53.7
3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +56.7
4. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:05.4
5. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +1:08.2
6. Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:38.8
7. Sébastien Loeb / Daniel Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:49.7
8. Pontus Tidemand / Ola Fløene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:37.7

Words & Photos By Daniel Darrall

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