The Ford World Rally Team star had been impressing in his Fiesta RS WRC when a mistake on the Arena Panzerplatte test forced his retirement after he broke his car’s right-rear wheel and suspension striking a rock.
“It was my fault,” said Solberg. “I lost the back end of the car in a very long left corner and I couldn’t get it back again. We had a big slide and the car touched a rock. Unfortunately the damage on the rear-right was too big to continue. I felt I was in full control [before the slide] and it’s very disappointing because my pace has been good all weekend and I’ve not made any mistakes until then.”
Although Solberg and co-driver Chris Patterson are expected to restart on day three, any hopes of a podium finish on the FIA World Rally Championship round are over, much to team boss Malcolm Wilson’s frustration.
“It’s tough to take and so disappointing when you know the package is capable of winning,” said Wilson. “To think we can do the times we are doing against Sebastien Loeb on his event proves how competitive the car is. We have to keep the pressure on now with Jari-Matti [Latvala] and can’t ease off because if Loeb does have a puncture you might be able to capitalise. On the other hand it’s put us under more pressure because we haven’t got Petter there as a backup.”