2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg is to switch back to competing in Rallycross this year, it has been announced.
The Norwegian, who was unable to secure a seat this season in the FIA World Rally Championship, is planning to create his own team again - something he did successfully in the WRC from 2009 to 2011. He will use a Citroen DS3 Rallycross car, which is currently being built and should be ready at the end of next month.
Solberg's precision programme has still to be defined, although he is evaluating competing in either the Global RallyCross Series or the FIA European Rallycross Championship. In addition 'Hollywood' also intends to bid for Gold in the four Global X Games events, which will take place in Brazil, Barcelona, Munich and Los Angeles.
“It feels a bit like getting back to my roots,” said Solberg. “My motorsport career started with Rallycross. In 1996 I actually considered the European Rallycross series for my long-term future but it turned out that rallying would pull me in. I devoted 15 years of my life to rally before calling an end to it in December last year – it was some of the best years of my life.
“I have received many offers to drive in various forms of motorsport, cars and teams since that announcement. However, I feel that the opportunities that the two major series [Global RallyCross Series and FIA European Rallycross Championship] are presenting from here on out starting in 2013 is the most progressive - it is the coolest sport. It's a place where I can be myself. Once again I can work closely with my sponsors, be very close to the fans, have my own team of qualified people, and be my own boss. It is a great mix.
"Where else could I remain in a powerful awd turbo which is more or less a WRC car aside from the extra 300hp, and have between five and eight others around me spitting fire as well?! That to me is just too hard to pass up.
“Rallycross is a perfect automotive action sport. It has close fights between powerful cars, it's an arena sport, it's very accessible, and it's easy to follow with plenty of racing throughout the day all in one place. Understand this, it is quite a show to be seen and heard!
"I really want to become a Champion at least one more time in my career! You know me, I am a showman and I want to make some noise. Rallycross will fit me perfectly.”
Solberg's new Rallycross team, including sponsors and livery, will be presented at a later date.