Let’s be honest, Petter Solberg’s had a fairly miserable season in 2012. He swallowed his pride and signed on with Ford in the clear and certain knowledge that his job, in the team’s eyes, was to support the title bid of its mercurial young star, Jari-Matti Latvala.
In the end there wasn’t much of a title bid for Petter to support, and instead his season became a race for third place in the final standings against Latvala and the independent Ford entry of Mads Ostberg. Solberg was more consistent than Latvala until the final third of the year, when things started to go seriously awry and he ended up a disappointing fifth.
Once again the Norwegian is fighting for his future in the wake of Ford’s withdrawal from the sport. He is 38 years old and hasn’t won a rally since 2005 but he is one of the biggest names in the sport and one of the most popular men in the world to rally fans.
In his column for Autosport this week, Solberg spoke with commendable candour about his prospects. One thing that rally drivers universally share – which too many of their circuit racing contemporaries do not – is a complete absence of ‘BS’, as evidenced when Petter said:
“I have to think like this. I’m a professional driver and if I can’t make a living doing this then I have to look for other work, it’s as simple as that. If I do retire, it would be nice to have started and finished my WRC career with Ford.”
Once again the fire in the belly that caused Solberg to set up his own team in just six weeks following Subaru’s withdrawal from the WRC seems to be glowing again. We love Petter at WRF and will forgive him all manner of mishaps because, as he wrote on his car back in 2009: ‘This is my life!’
We know it is, old boy, and we’re all the richer for that.
Happy birthday for Sunday, too!