Guest column: Petter Solberg
What a weekend. What a rally. What a result. Sitting here at home, I’m still thinking a little bit. What just happened?
I was looking forward to Wales Rally GB, it’s always been the special one for me. But we have such a busy time with the Farewell Tour and with Oliver competing in America and over here, there wasn’t much time to think to the rally.
Then there was Oliver’s driving test. When he failed the bit with the writing, I started to worry a bit. That night I didn’t go home for a while – I stayed in the workshop for a long time!
The driving bit was good, he did that, but then he had to take the writing section again. I was waiting for the call in the workshop. And waiting. And waiting. Nothing. I was getting worried when Pernilla called and told me he failed again. Honestly, I was on the floor in the factory.
And then she told me she was joking!
I didn’t have the chance to test much before the start, Oliver wouldn’t let me have a go in his car! I drove my own Volkswagen Polo R5 at the test on Monday, but only did about 45km.
Before the start, I was really thinking more to Oliver and his race. He had a problem (broken wheel) on the first stage on Friday morning and when I saw his car at the side of the road, I slowed down. I was going to stop but Phil (co-driver Mills) told me to carry on.
It was quite tough to have Oliver competing right in front of me. I knew quite soon I had to think more for myself. It wasn’t so easy to come back and drive on these roads at full speed.
I could hear Phil telling me everything was perfect, the corner was flat, but I just wasn’t quite so committed as I could be. Or would have been a few years ago. By Saturday, the grip was more consistent and we could start to push a bit harder. On Sunday, I was pretty confident I could control everything.
Getting to the finish of that final stage was such a special feeling. And to come back to the service park and see my family and everybody was unbelievable.
As well as all my team, I have to say thank you to Volkswagen Motorsport for an amazing car, and of course Phil, who was perfect like always in the seat next to me.
The other people I have to thank are the volunteers out there who stand in the cold and the rain to make the rally happen. These people are heroes!
It was so emotional to see so many fans standing waiting at the autograph sessions and so many blue and yellow Subaru coats. The last week has been so special. I wanted to stop in the WRC with a rally I would never forget and I definitely got that.
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