He then set up his own Petter Solberg World Rally Team, driving privately-run Citroens and finishing third in the championship in 2010. On the back of the car was written: “This is my life”, and nothing summed up the Norwegian’s mission better. Yet he wasn’t quite done as a factory driver.
In 2012 he made an unlikely return to Wilson’s Ford team for what would turn out to be his final full season of rallying. For his next challenge, Solberg switched his attention back to rallycross and became the discipline’s first ever world champion in 2014, successfully defending his title the following season.
A subsequent relationship with Volkswagen in rallycross presented the chance for a WRC comeback in 2018, when Solberg debuted the new Polo R5 car in Spain. A year later, he drove a similar car on Rally GB for his official farewell from the sport – and bowed out with victory in the WRC2 class with Pirelli.
That event was extra-special for Solberg. Not only was it his last WRC event, but it was also the very first WRC event for his son Oliver, who had not long celebrated his 18th birthday.
Having grown up around motorsport, Solberg Jr is tipped to be rallying’s next big thing, and seems to have inherited both his father’s driving skills and his charisma – although his mother Pernilla, a former driver herself, might also have something to do with that.
Either way, the WRC service park is likely to be seeing plenty more of Petter in the years to come, even though he won’t be behind the wheel himself.