Becoming world champion in 2003: Tommi Makinen sat and waited at the end of Margam Park, counting the minutes. The sister Subaru arrived, powered across the line by the new world champion. Petter Solberg won his second Rally GB on the trot, but more importantly he won his first drivers’ title (pictured). Makinen jumped from the car and Solberg jumped on the Finn, his team-mate, friend, mentor and now fellow world champion.
Claiming first win in Great Britain 2002: Having been on the podium five times, Solberg felt ready for his first win - and it came in a real purple patch at the end of 2002. He arrived in Wales having finished third in Finland, Sanremo and Australia. In the end the race through the Welsh woods was a straight battle between him and Ford’s Markko Martin - both seen as the WRC’s next generation. Solberg shone through to take win number one.
Recovering from shakedown smash to win in Corsica 2003: When Petter Solberg put his Subaru Impreza WRC off the road at shakedown for the 2003 Tour de Corse, his event was over. Surely. It had to be. The Prodrive-built car had come off second best in a significant scrap with a telegraph pole and the start was a very, very long way away - even though it was actually the next day. Solberg started, slowly. Then he got faster and faster, he managed the rain better and better and found himself at the front. He couldn’t could he? He certainly could. And he did. The dream came true.
Beating Loeb in Britain 2004: Not many people beat Sebastien Loeb in a straight fight to the finish, but Solberg did in 2004. He hammered his Subaru down the hill in Margam Park in one of the most breath-taking drives to victory on Britain’s round of the WRC ever. He richly deserved a nail-biting win against the man who would take his title - and keep it for the next eight years.
From a video to the big time, September 1998: Having sent Malcolm Wilson a video of his recent rallying exploits, Petter Solberg is summoned to M-Sport to go through some tests in the gym and on the stage. He is offered a testing contract with some rallies attached by the Ford World Rally Team soon after. Solberg’s journey has begun.
Next page: Solberg's lows.