Solberg tips Mikkelsen after ‘impressive' 2014
Former champion backs his fellow Norwegian
Going up against a strong field of two-litre World Rally Cars in an R5-spec DS3, Meeke fared best of the Citroen runners. Former world champion Petter Solberg was forced out when his C4 WRC developed a hydraulic leak, while Citroen Racing team principal Yves Matton crashed his Xsara WRC.
Despite his car’s inferior spec, Meeke kept the pressure on Belgian Championship frontrunner Kris Princen, who took victory in an ex Mads Ostberg Subaru Impreza World Rally Car.
Solberg was the early pace-setter. Reunited with Phil Mills, the Welshman who co-drove him to the 2003 title, he was fastest on the opening three stages but retired on Saturday evening when his car lost hydraulic power and, with it, the gear shift system.
Despite the early retirement, Solberg enjoyed his time back in the model of Citroen he campaigned in the WRC in 2010. “It was fantastic to get back in a C4 again – what a great chassis this car has. And it was great to be back there with Phil,“ he said.
“Everything worked just like I remembered it; it was brilliant to have him reading the notes to me again. We weren’t having the cleanest of runs, but it was such good fun to be competing on a rally again and enjoying ourselves with guys like Kris.”
Matton, who was co-driven by nine-time champion Daniel Elena, retired on Stage nine on Saturday. His car left the road under braking for a left-hand corner and hit a wall.