Solberg, in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, finished 0.9s behind title leader Sebastien Loeb at the finish in Cardiff on Sunday having held the runner-up spot to team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala with two stages remaining.
However, the Norwegian star didn’t want to risk a mistake by going over the limit on the closing tests to ensure his first podium in the WRC since Brother Rally New Zealand in late June.
“I could have pushed harder but I didn’t want to go crazy because a double podium is so crucial to Ford,” he said. “That was more important than destroying a rally by risking everything to take second. In the afternoon, out from service, I was ready, but not to take the big risk. You know, I did it in Greece and it was not good fun to meet Malcolm after. I don’t enjoy that.”
Despite ultimately settling for third, Solberg said he relished the battle with Loeb, who has won every single FIA World Rally Championship crown since Solberg triumphed in 2003.
“It was so exciting to be involved in such a close battle,” said Solberg. “It was so tense before the final stage that neither Seb nor I could look at each other. It was a massive battle. It rained in the penultimate stage but I managed to keep the fight alive into the final test. I moved in front but made a little mistake when I touched a small bank. I came back again but it wasn’t quite enough.”
Wilson, meanwhile, was full of praise for Solberg, adding: “Petter had a fantastic battle for second and although he missed out, he can be equally happy with his display.”