Solberg, from Norway, was embroiled in a close fight for victory on round six of the FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia when he crashed out on Sunday’s first test. His retirement has all but ensured the rival Citroen team a one-two finish in Greece, with Jari-Matti Latvala the leading Ford driver in a distant third.
“The only real consolation is that we will go to [the next round in] New Zealand knowing we have a car that is competitive enough to win rallies over the rest of this year - we’ve set something like 60 per cent of the fastest stage times so far. The championship looks tough, that’s for sure, but remember what happened last year over the final few events. We’ve got to stay committed and keep pushing. There’s no question we will win rallies over the remainder of the season.
Solberg’s retirement has also dealt his title ambitions a huge blow. He was second in the standings prior to the Acropolis Rally but is set to slip down the order with his first non-score of the 2012 season.
“This has traditionally been a strong rally for Petter - he has good experience in Greece and a really good track record here - but this time, it was not to be. It was always going to be a tall order. He had to push and he was going to push for sure, but we also said, ‘you need to monitor the splits and be mindful of protecting your second position for the drivers’ championship’, because with the nature of this event, we all know things can happen.”