ERC A FULL 2018
ERC EVENT PREVIEW: RALLY DI ROMA CAPITALE.
ERC EVENT PREVIEW: RALLY DI ROMA CAPITALE, 20-22 JULY
FIA European Rally Championship round 4/8
FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship round 3/6
FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship round 3/6
Excitement, learning and action will be among the watchwords when the FIA European Rally Championship heads to Italy next week for Rally di Roma Capitale (20-22 July). The all-asphalt contest, which starts in the historic city and features challenging stages within Rome and to the southeast, not only marks the start of the second half of the season but it also signals the resumption of the two ERC Junior championships with 20 rising talents continuing their high-speed rallying curriculum.
All you need to know: Click here for the event guide, itinerary and other essential information
Who’s in it to win it? Click here the Rally di Roma Capitale entry list
They said what? Click here for quotes from the ERC Junior drivers
What’s new for 2018? Click here for a summary of all the ERC changes for 2018
For everything else… Go to the online ERC Media Centre by clicking here
RALLY DI ROMA CAPITALE IN NUMBERS:
2013: The progression of this exciting asphalt event, organised and promoted by Motorsport Italia, has been remarkable. Having run for the first time in 2013, Rally di Roma Capitale made its ERC debut in 2017 as Italy returned to the ERC for the first time since 2013 when Rallye Sanremo was on the calendar.
205.97: This year’s Rally di Roma Capitale features 15 stages over a competitive distance of 205.97 kilometres. It starts and finishes with two superspecials in Rome – in the EUR district on Friday 20 July and in Ostia on Sunday 22 July.
11.50: Following the ceremonial start at the Castel Saint’Angelo, drivers will head off in groups of 10 for a motorised tour of some of Rome’s most famous landmarks. Following a police escort they will pass several sites including the Piazza Venezia, Colosseo, Circo Massimo and the Terme di Caracalla before arriving at the Piazza Barcellona in readiness for the opening stage, the ACI Roma Arena test, from 18h30 local time on Friday 20 July.
32: Of the 71 drivers on the entry list, 32 will compete in top-of-the-range R5 cars, while 20 drivers from the ERC Junior Under 27 and Under 28 Championships are set to take part.
*Rome’s famous Colosseum, which features on the Roma parade route, is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80.
*The commune of event base Fiuggi, to the southeast of central Rome, was made famous by its natural spring water and the healing powers it possesses.
*Rome is one of two European capitals hosting ERC action this season with Nicosia home to a stage of the Cyprus Rally last month.
*Italy has celebrated 23 European championship triumphs over the years. Giandomenico Basso and Luca Rossetti are both three-time winners.
*The Pico section of the Pico-Greci stage, used twice on Saturday 21 July, is Rally di Roma Capitale’s version of the Monaco Grand Prix with thousands of fans lining what is effectively a street circuit through the village of Pico.
ERC JUNIOR GLADIATORS AIM FOR CAPITALE GAINS IN ROME
*Future stars to prove their talent during Italian asphalt adventure
*Magalhães tops overall standings as Lukyanuk plays title catch-up
*Italian championship aces also chase ERC points
*City stage in Rome and driving tour of historic landmarks among the highlights
Some of Europe’s brightest prospects for future world rallying stardom will be competing when Rally di Roma Capitale hosts the resumption of FIA European Rally Championship action from 20-22 July.
The all-asphalt counter, which features stages in and around the historic Italian city, marks the halfway point of the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship for young stars in R5 cars – plus the third of six FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship rounds, with drivers competing in R2 machinery on Pirelli tyres.
Chris Ingram and Nikolay Gryazin have done the winning in ERC Junior Under 28 so far this season and Ingram’s inclusion on the Rally di Roma Capitale entry list – in particular – will be a significant moment for last year’s ERC Junior Under 27 champion. Illness forced him to stop early on Rally Islas Canarias and has kept him away from his Toksport WRT ŠKODA Fabia R5 until recently. Indeed, the Briton’s return to competition came on a recent practice event in Italy – Rally Internazionale del Casentino – which Russian Gryazin came close to winning, settling instead for second following a puncture in his Sports Racing Technologies Fabia.
While he’s yet to stand on the top step of the ERC Junior U28 podium, it’s ŠKODA AUTO Deutschland’s Fabian Kreim who tops the standings after a consistent start to the season by the double German champion. Sweden’s Fredrik Åhlin and his British CA1 Sport team-mate Rhys Yates have also finished on the ERC Junior U28 podium and will be contenders in Rome with Yates also learning plenty on Rally Internazionale del Casentino.
Laurent Pellier returns to ERC Junior U28 duty for PEUGEOT Rally Academy after winning ERC3 on last month’s Cyprus Rally where class rival Hubert Ptaszek was also competing, two weeks after claiming his first outright ERC podium on the EKO Acropolis Rally. Pellier got the opportunity to sample the bulk of the Rally di Roma Capitale stages in 2017 when he took part on the reconnaissance as part of the ERC Junior Experience training progamme. After engine issues ruled him out of Rally Islas Canarias, Jan Černý will make his first ERC Junior U28 start of 2018 for the ACCR Czech Team. Černý claimed category honours in Rome last year in a Fabia R5 and is now armed with a Ford Fiesta R5.
ERC Junior Under 27: Newcomers add to excitement in young driver class
Two newcomers – Sindre Furuseth from Norway and Sebastian Johansson from Sweden – will make their first appearances in ERC Junior Under 27, which is being led by Diogo Gago after the Portuguese won the opening two events of the season. Latvian Mārtiņš Sesks heads the pursuit of Gago in his ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team-entered ADAM R2, followed by Saintéloc Junior Team’s Simon Wagner (Austria) and Rally Team Spain’s RFEDA-backed Efrén Llarena. Briton Catie Munnings, ACCR Czech Team’s Dominik Brož and Italian Mattia Vita are the only drivers among the 12-strong ERC Junior U27 entry with previous Rally di Roma Capitale experience, while Vita is the only home-grown talent in the field. Austrian Roland Stengg impressed on his debut last time out. Miika Hokkanen has recruited a new co-driver in fellow Finn Reeta Hamalainen, as the Finnish R2 champion from 2017 continues his Tarmac transition with the Saintéloc Junior Team. Tom Kristensson, who is competing in ERC Junior U27 as his prize for winning the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany last season, will also be a contender for success.
ERC1: Lukyanuk playing catch-up in title chase
Russian Rocket Alexey Lukyanuk is playing catch-up when the ERC heads to Rome for the second time next week. After dominating the season-opening events in the Azores and Gran Canaria, Lukyanuk failed to go the distance in Greece and Cyprus in his Russian Performance Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5. His difficult run has handed Bruno Magalhães the title initiative with the Portuguese 15 points in front following a win and a second place from the last two events. Cyprus Rally winner and national champion Simos Galatariotis is continuing his ERC adventure with his Roma debut where he will come up against, among others, former Polish champions Grzegorz Grzyb (Rufa Sport) and Łukasz Habaj (Rallytechnology), Toksport’s Turkish charge Orhan Avcioǧlu and Germany’s Albert von Thurn und Taxis (Baumschlager Rallye & Racing). Juuso Nordgren, the rising Finnish star backed by ŠKODA Motorsport, continues to use the ERC to build his experience of international competition having won stages on the last two events.
A legion of Italian championship stars will also be in action and firmly in contention for ERC points. They include multiple national title-winner Paolo Andreucci, his long-term adversaries Simone Campedelli and Umberto Scandola, plus double European champion Giandomenico Basso, whose participation has been made possible after his manager at Movisport, Zelindo Melegari, withdrew his own entry in the ERC2 category. Campedelli (onece) and Scandola (twice) are former Rally di Roma Capitale winners. Marco Pollara, meanwhile, partners Andreucci in the PEUGEOT 208 T16-powered FPF Sport line-up.
ERC2: Remennik back to hold title advantage
Sergei Remennik returns to ERC2 duty on Rally di Roma Capitale leading the standings and now the recipient of a special award. Prior to the Italian event, Remennik and co-driver Mark Rozin were handed International Master of Motor Sports titles for their achievements in rallying by the FIA-affiliated Russian Motorsport Federation. Remennik heads reigning champion Tibor Érdi Jr, from Hungary, by 10 points with Argentina’s Juan Carlos Alonso third, seven points adrift of Érdi Jr, but effectively further back when the four-best-scores rule applies. Hungarian Csaba Juhász will make his ERC debut.
ERC3: Bernardi goes for win double
Frenchman Florian Bernardi will be bidding for a victory double following his debut ERC3 success in Gran Canaria. Second place in the French Clio R3T Trophy on Rallye du Rouergue Aveyron has set him up well for his maiden Rally di Roma Capitale, which ERC Ladies’ Trophy contender Emma Falcón will be tackling for a second time. Taiwan’s Dai Wei Yein is registered for ERC3 points having contested seveal European championship rounds in the past, as are the 12 ERC Junior Under 27 drivers, which include Falcón’s ERC Ladies’ Trophy rival Catie Munnings.
And in other news…
*Rally di Roma Capitale is as close as it gets to a ‘home’ event for Brazilian Paulo Nobre, whose Motorsport Italia team doubles as event organiser and promoter.
*After landing back-to-back ERC podiums, Norbert Herczig won’t be competing in his MOL Racing Team ŠKODA, the four-time Hungarian champion taking advantage of the ERC’s rule allowing drivers to count their best six scores from eight. He’ll return the next round in Czech Republic having used the break following the Cypus Rally to claim his sixth Rally Veszprem victory in his homeland.
*Aloísio Monteiro will be driving his ARC Sport ŠKODA Fabia R5 on asphalt for the first time but the Portuguese admits he has a preference for sealed-surface competition.
*ERC Junior Under 27 contender Catie Munnings will get her own TV series in her native UK in the coming months. A former winner of the ERC Ladies’ Trophy, Munnings will front Catie’s Amazing Machines on CBeebies, which is part of the BBC television network and is aimed at children aged six and under.
*Grzegorz Grzyb will be more than match fit when he lines-up for the start in Rome: he’s contesting the Enipro Rally Lueník, a round of the Slovakian championship, from 13-14 July.
*The RGT class has three entrants: Raphael Astier from France and Italians Andrea Nucita and Andrea Modanesi. All three are competing in the Abarth 124 Rally.
*Organisers have made a number of changes to the itinerary for 2018: Pico-Greci runs in an opposite direction to 2017 and is seven kilometres shorter. Roccasecca-Colle San Magno is slightly longer than last year due to its new starting location in the village of Roccasecca. Santopadre-Arpino is a new addition to the itinerary for this year.
Watch and listen
Highlights from both legs will be shown on Eurosport and available on Eurosport Player. ERC Radio will broadcast live from stage finishes and selected service park visits.
Click here for provisional standings after Round 4 of 8
ERC rally wins in 2018: Lukyanuk 2, Galatariotis and Magalhães 1
ERC stage wins in 2018: Lukyanuk 22; Al-Attiyah and Magalhães 7; Nordgren 3; Botka, Gryazin and Herczig 2; Åhlin, Avcioǧlu, Brynildsen, Kreim, Moura, Pellier, Ptaszek and Tsouloftas 1
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#rallydiromacapitale #eternapassione #rallygladiators
Photos: Nico Meyer / NIM Photos / Germany
Media FIA ERC 2018
Media Rally Di Roma Capitale 2018
#rallydiromacapitale #eternapassione #viaggioroma
13 July 2018
POLO GTI R5: GERARD-JAN DE JONGH BY VOLKSWAGEN MOTORSPORT – INTERVIEW SPECIAL
WRC 2 A FULL 2018
POLO GTI R5: GERARD-JAN DE JONGH BY VOLKSWAGEN MOTORSPORT – INTERVIEW SPECIAL.
Two years in development, roughly 10,000 kilometres of testing.
As a race engineer, he guided Sébastien Ogier to four titles in the World Rally Championship (WRC) between 2013 and 2016. Nowadays, Dutchman Gerard-Jan de Jongh is responsible for the Polo GTI R5 in his role as project leader at Volkswagen Motorsport. The 200-kW (272-PS) rally car will, in the future, be run by professional teams in the FIA World Rally Championship, interregional series like the FIA European Rally Championship, and national championships. In an interview shortly before the planned homologation on 1 October, 40-year-old de Jongh describes the challenges of the R5 regulations. The engineer also gives an overview of the development steps behind the Polo GTI R5 and looks ahead to the car’s competitive debut at the Rally Spain at the end of October.
Mr. de Jongh, for several years you were Sébastien Ogier’s race engineer at Volkswagen Motorsport. Do you miss the competitive outings?
My role as project leader for the development of a completely new rally car is obviously very different. I had the opportunity to continue to work as a race engineer, but found this new challenge at Volkswagen Motorsport very appealing. My job was suddenly far more complicated and complex than before. I am pleased that I took on this challenge.
When did you start to develop the Polo GTI R5?
In the week after the Rally Australia in November 2016, the last world championship event for the WRC team at the time. I started as soon as I got back to my office. The idea came from François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director at Volkswagen Motorsport.
Demaison is known as a perfectionist. How heavily involved was he in your work?
FX (Demaison’s nickname) is currently responsible for four different projects. Despite this, he has still been very heavily involved in the development of the Polo GTI R5, right from the word go. We have had weekly meetings from the outset, at which we have discussed the further development of the car. FX is one of the most experienced engineers in rallying. His backing really helped me and the whole development team.
What form did the first steps take in the development of the Polo GTI R5?
I first thought about the basic concept of the Polo GTI R5, after which we came up with a design briefing. The next task was to find the right suppliers for the car components that are not made at Volkswagen Motorsport. In this regard, we were able to turn to a whole string of reliable contacts, with whom we worked on the Polo R WRC. They include Xtrac for the gearbox, Bosch for the engine electronics, ZF Sachs for the shock absorbers, and Alcon for the brakes.
How big was the team that developed the Polo GTI R5?
At Volkswagen Motorsport, we have design teams for the chassis, engine and suspension, each consisting of three to six employees. The work was divided between the team members. I was mainly in contact with the heads of department, but also with the designers. Experience has shown me that there is nothing better than personal contact.
What were the basic parameters for the development of the Polo GTI R5?
It was clear that the Polo GTI R5 had to be based on the 2017 generation of the production car. However, the new sixth generation Polo was not yet available when we started to develop the rally car. For this reason, we had to work exclusively with computer data. Thanks to the computer simulation, we had the chassis ready relatively early on in proceedings. We were then able to work with that in the wind tunnel. When defining the specification, we also placed great importance on ensuring that it was possible for private teams to look after the technical side of the Polo GTI R5 without any problems.
How many components were you able to adopt from the Polo R WRC?
Hardly any at all, because the technical regulations are completely different and the Polo R WRC was based on the previous model. However, we did adapt the design philosophy. For example, the mounting position of the shock absorbers, the spring deflection, the geometry of the suspension, and the position of the driver’s seat are similar. Exactly as we did with the Polo R WRC, we strived to make every single component as light as possible, in order to keep the car’s centre of gravity as low as possible. Here too, however, we were restricted by the regulations. Price limits are specified for many parts and a minimum weight is often stipulated – for the bodyshell, for example.
The International Automobile Federation FIA specifies a fixed budget for R5 cars …
… and sticking to this budget with an R5 car like the Polo GTI R5 actually represents a major challenge. It would obviously be possible to build a more effective car within the framework of the technical regulations. However, that would be too expensive and would have to come at a sacrifice. That is out of the question for our company and would not be in the interest of the sport. We have gained similar customer sport experience in touring car racing with the Golf GTI TCR. We were able to build on that for the R5. Furthermore, the regulations stipulate the use of production parts in certain areas, including the steering, radiator, drive shafts, cardan shaft and the engine.
Where did you have to make compromises?
Weight is a big issue with any racing car. As a rule, however, the lighter a part is the more expensive it is. As such, I had to make sure that the suppliers, with whom we wanted to cooperate, understood that we would have to find a compromise between performance and cost. Let’s take a part of the suspension, for example. In simple terms, we designed 90 percent of the part. We then took this design to the potential suppliers and asked them what price they would be able to supply the part for? The important thing was the quantity. We sometimes only needed a handful of the components for the Polo R WRC. In the case of the Polo GTI R5, which is designed for customer sport, we are talking about 50, 100 or even more parts. That obviously has a big influence on the price.
1.6-litre turbo engines are required in the R5 class. However, the production version of the Polo does not have this kind of engine …
The regulations do give us more leeway in this regard. The rules state that the rally car’s engine must stem from one of the group’s production models. We opted for the engine with the internal code EA888, a similar form of which, with a two-litre displacement, is also installed in the new Polo GTI. It was then modified accordingly for the Polo GTI R5.
How long have you been testing with the Polo GTI R5, and which drivers were involved in the tests?
The first test took place in November 2017 at the test facility in Fontjoncouse, France. Since then, Volkswagen test and development driver Dieter Depping, Pontus Tidemand, former world rally champions Petter Solberg and Marcus Grönholm, Raimund Baumschlager, Eric Camilli, and Emil Lindholm have all driven the car. The test programme was demanding: temperatures ranged from – 16 °C to +40 °C and the testing took place at sea level and at 2,800 metres in the mountains. We tested in such varied conditions, in order to ensure that our customers receive a car that performs reliably at all times and everywhere. We also wanted to gauge the opinion of drivers with different driving styles, as well as asphalt and gravel experts. The Polo GTI R5 must be versatile and driveable by the widest possible range of drivers. In total, we will have completed about 10,000 test kilometres by the time the car makes its competitive debut – roughly half of those were on gravel and half on asphalt, as well as a few on snow and ice.
The Polo GTI R5 will make its competitive debut at the end of October at the Rally Spain, the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship. What are your expectations?
We will run two Polo GTI R5s, in order to show the potential of the car. The goal is to demonstrate how competitive the new Polo GTI R5 is at the highest level and on different surfaces. The Spanish round of the world championship is particularly well suited to this, as it is the only one held on both asphalt and gravel. However, we are well aware, from our time with the Polo R WRC in the FIA World Rally Championship, that good planning does not guarantee good results – particularly in rallying. We would be pleased with a good result in WRC2.
In Eric Camilli and Petter Solberg, Volkswagen will have two experienced drivers at the wheel of the Polo GTI R5 at the Rally Spain. Why did you choose these two?
Eric Camilli and his co-driver Benjamin Veillas played a key role in the development of the Polo GTI R5. Both have a wealth of experience in the WRC2 class of the FIA World Rally Championship and finished runner-up in 2017. For them to be involved in the competitive debut of the Polo GTI R5 is the logical next step. Plus, we really value their detailed feedback and analytical approach. Petter Solberg was also involved in the development of the Polo GTI R5. He is one of the most experienced rally drivers in the world and his knowledge is a big plus for any team. Furthermore, he is associated with Volkswagen Motorsport through his team’s commitment in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX). It is a special honour and great to have him driving the Polo GTI R5 at the Rally Spain.
Media Volkswagen Motorsport
Photos: @Media Volkswagen Motorsport
18 October 2018
PETTER BACK TO THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WITH VOLKSWAGEN
WRC 2 A FULL 2018
PETTER BACK TO THE WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP WITH VOLKSWAGEN.
Petter back to the World Rally Championship with Volkswagen
World Rally Champion to drive Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Spain
Petter delighted to be back in the series where he won his first world title
Salou-based event will be the debut rally for Volkswagen’s all-new Polo GTI R5
Petter Solberg will return to the World Rally Championship to drive Volkswagen Motorsport’s Polo GTI R5 at Rally de España next month.
The Norwegian, who won the WRC title in 2003, will join the factory Volkswagen Motorsport team alongside Eric Camilli (FRA) for its one-off outing at the Salou-based event from October 25-28.
Petter, who first tested the Polo GTI R5 in Sweden at the start of the season, will test the car ahead of his rally return.
Since departing the World Rally Championship, Petter has focused his efforts on the World Rallycross Championship, where he won two more FIA world titles (2014/15). For the last two years, Petter’s own team – PSRX Volkswagen Sweden – has worked closely with Volkswagen Motorsport; the squad’s Polo R Supercars are prepared ahead of each World RX round in Hannover.
Petter said: “I think everybody knows about my passion for rallying and when Sven [Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport director] asked me if I would like to do Spain in the Polo, I jumped at the chance.
“When I drove the car in January, I didn’t want to stop. Everything about the Polo GTI R5 worked from the very beginning. To be in the car for the very first time is a real privilege for me – I’m very happy that Volkswagen trusted this job to me and to Eric [Camilli].”
Norway’s Veronica Engan will co-drive Petter, having worked alongside him at his January test of the Polo GTI R5. Veronica is well acquainted with the Solberg family –she’s normally found co-driving Petter’s son Oliver.
Petter’s illustrious WRC career spanned 14 years and 188 starts. He won 13 of those events, scored 54 podiums and collected 457 stage wins and 852 points.
Beyond the numbers, Petter remains one of the sport’s most popular drivers and going back to Salou is bound to bring a range of emotions.
“This is the place where I did my last event before I decided to switch to rallycross,” said Solberg. “It will be fantastic to be back, especially with this car and team. The chance to drive Volkswagen’s Polo GTI R5 on gravel and asphalt in the WRC’s only mixed-surface event is a challenge I can’t wait to start. I have seen what Volkswagen Motorsport does from the inside in World RX and it’s going to be a real pleasure to work with them in rallying.
“As well as that, it will be great to see some old friends and fans again. Spain was always one of the events I really loved, the passion and atmosphere there is just fantastic.”
Being a natural competitor, Petter will have an eye on the times at an event where he finished second overall in 2010.
“I know how good the Polo GTI R5 is,” said Petter, “and I think people know I’m not just going there to drive around. It’s an honour to join the team for this event and I will go there to do my best and push as hard as I can.”
Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets said: “Petter is a true rally hero. We have already experienced his passion and professionalism working alongside him in World Rallycross. To give everything, always 110 per cent is Petter’s trademark.
“He tested the Polo GTI R5 and, from the beginning, it was our dream to have him in the car to give this new customer rally car its debut. It’s fantastic that he joins us in Spain to drive the Polo R5; I’m sure everybody is looking forward to seeing him back again – and our new car.
“For sure, everybody in Volkswagen Motorsport is excited to be working on a rally and on this special event with Petter and our second driver Eric Camilli.”
Rally de España startswith a spectacular opening stage in Barcelona before moving into day one’s dirt stages in the Tarragona hills. For the weekend, it’s all about the racetrack-smooth roads inland from the service park at Salou’s popular holiday park PortAventura.
Petter will face 18 stages on a 1,496 kilometres (929 miles), of which 331km (205 miles) are competitive.
Media Volkswagen Motorsport
Photos: Media Volkswagen Motorsport
Copyright © 2018 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Media Office, All rights reserved.
18 October 2018
WRC COMEBACK WITH VOLKSWAGEN: PETTER SOLBERG TO DRIVE THE NEW POLO GTI R5 IN SPAIN
WRC 2 A FULL 2018
WRC COMEBACK WITH VOLKSWAGEN: PETTER SOLBERG TO DRIVE THE NEW POLO GTI R5 IN SPAIN.
VOLKSWAGEN IN CUSTOMER RACING
WRC comeback with Volkswagen: Petter Solberg to drive the new Polo GTI R5 in Spain
2003 world rally champion returns to the scene of his last WRC Rally
Three world champions in one rally: Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Petter Solberg
Debut for the new Polo GTI R5 for customer sport only planned outing as works team
Wolfsburg (20 September 2018). He’s back! 2003 champion Petter Solberg (N) returns to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5. Solberg and co-driver Veronica Engan (N) will compete in the WRC 2 class at the Rally Spain in Catalonia from 25 to 28 October. Six years after his last rally in 2012, the Norwegian will make his comeback in precisely the same place, at which he called time on his rally career. Solberg, who drives a Polo for his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team in the FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX), will briefly change fields. The new Polo GTI R5 will make its competitive debut at the Rally Spain, which will be the car’s only outing with the Volkswagen works team. The racing car will then be run by customer teams in national and international championships, in accordance with R5 regulations.
“The opportunity to make a WRC comeback with Volkswagen is a unique one, and I was very happy to accept the offer,” said Solberg. “When I drove the car in January in Sweden, I didn’t want to stop. Everything about the Polo GTI R5 worked from the very beginning. I am really looking forward to the Rally Spain. I always used to like the combination of gravel and asphalt. It will obviously be a special feeling to return to the place I brought the curtain down on my rally career back in 2012. It will be a fantastic reunion with the WRC Family, but one with a professional background. I obviously want to get the R5 Polo off to a good start with a good result.”
Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets: “Petter is a true rally hero. We have already experienced his passion and professionalism working alongside him in World Rallycross. To give everything, always 110 per cent is Petter’s trademark. He has tested the Polo GTI R5 and has always been one of our preferred candidates for the debut of our new customer sport car. It is fantastic that he will drive the R5 Polo in Spain. Everyone in the team is looking forward to the rally and to working with Petter and his team-mate Eric Camilli.”
Petter Solberg returns to his rallying roots
Solberg returns to the WRC from the WRX for a weekend. This sees the Norwegian return to his rallying roots. Between 1998 and 2012, he made 188 appearances in the World Rally Championship – with Toyota, Ford, Subaru and Citroën. In 2003, Solberg won the world championship title with Subaru, ending the season just one point ahead of eventual record-breaking champion Sébastien Loeb and third-placed Spaniard Carlos Sainz. He remains the last nordic world rally champion. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Solberg competed in the WRC with his own team. He then spent one final year as a works driver with Ford in 2012. Solberg claimed 52 podium results in the World Rally Championship, 13 of them victories. The Rally Spain marks Solberg’s first rally with Volkswagen, and his debut in an R5 car.
Three world champions in one WRC rally for the first time for eight years
Solberg is the third world rally champion set to drive at the 2018 Rally Spain, where he will line up against reigning champion Sébastien Ogier and the returning Sébastien Loeb. As such, the last three men to win the title will all compete in Spain – albeit in different classes. The last time three world champions raced at the same event was the 2010 Rally Finland (Loeb, Solberg, Kankkunen).
Solberg and Volkswagen in the WRX – an extremely successful combination
After switching from WRC to WRX, the 43-year-old won the Drivers’ title in both 2014 and 2015. Volkswagen Motorsport and Petter Solberg’s PSRX team announced a partnership at the start of 2017. This has proven to be a winning combination: the team took the Team title and was behind the world champion, Johan Kristoffersson (S), in its very first year. Volkswagen is responsible for the development and technical preparation of the two Polo R Supercars, while PSRX Volkswagen Sweden looks after the logistics, on-site running of the car, and the marketing side of things. Solberg remains the only driver to have won the Drivers’ title in two different FIA world championships.
The Solberg dynasty: drifting and full throttle are in the blood
Solberg originally wanted to be a painter – however, he gave up his training place for motorsport. The rally pedigree within his family tree is evidence of the fact that speed is in his blood. “Mr. Hollywood” comes from an extremely successful dynasty of rally drivers: his parents both successfully took part in Autocross races. His brother Henning Solberg recently claimed the best result for an R5 car in the overall standings at the Rally Turkey – sixth place – and can also look back on an eventful WRC career. When Petter married his wife Pernilla, the Solbergs joined forces with the Walfridsson family – already an established name on the Rallycross and rallying scene. Pernilla was long regarded as one of the best female rally drivers in the world. It is no wonder then that their son Oliver has already enjoyed great success as he follows in his parents’ footstep – including in the FIA Baltic Rally Trophy and the Latvian and Estonian Rally Championship.
Already part of the family: Veronica Engan in the co-driver seat at the Rally Spain
The choice of co-driver for the Rally Spain was an obvious one. Veronica Engan has competed alongside son Oliver in various R2 rallies since 2017, and is virtually a member of the family. The 34-year-old can point to roughly 150 starts with Nordic rally drivers, including Eyvind Brynildsen (N), Marius Aasen (N), Johan Kristoffersson (S), Bernt Kollevold (N) and Anders Grøndal (N). Her career started in 2003, since when she has 27 WRC and seven WRC 2 rallies to her name. Her best result came in 2009, when she finished seventh alongside Mads Østberg at the Rally Italy on Sardinia.
Petter Solberg’s career at a glimpse
Date/place of birth: 18 November 1974 in Askim (N)
2003: 1st place FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2002, 2004 and 2005: 2nd place FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2010: 3rd place FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)
2014, 2015: 1st place FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX)
188 rallies, 52 podium finishes (13 wins)
459 stage wins
852 championship points
Media Volkswagen Motorsport
Photos: Media Volkswagen Motorsport
18 October 2018
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