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Petter’s one to watch out for, says Hirvonen

"He got a good result in Mexico and could be a threat for the championship"

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By www.wrc.com

29 March 2010 - 12:53
Petter’s one to watch out for, says (...)

Mikko Hirvonen says Petter Solberg is now a strong contender for World Rally Championship honours following his second place finish on Rally Mexico in early March.

Solberg, the 2003 world champion, will have a new Citroen C4 WRC and upgraded engine at his disposal on the Jordan Rally, which gets underway on April 1.

Hirvonen, currently second to Sebastien Loeb in the drivers’ standings, was impressed by Solberg’s performance in Mexico.

“Okay the road position helped but he got a good result in Mexico and could be a threat for the championship so for sure he’s going to be one driver I’ll be looking at in Jordan,” said BP Ford Abu Dhabi driver Hirvonen.

Solberg is currently fifth in the WRC table 23 points adrift of leader and six-time champion Loeb.

Ken Rees, who manages the Petter Solberg World Rally Team, explained the significance of Solberg’s new engine. “We started the year with the 2008-spec engine and this is the 2009 version,” said Rees. “It’s not a big improvement on power as such but it’s got more torque and is hopefully more drivable.”

Solberg’s team invested in a second C4 for 2010 to cope with the logistics of competing on several continents during one season. The car the 35-year-old Norwegian and Welsh co-driver Phil Mills will use in Jordan - and on the fourth round of the WRC in Turkey from April 15-18 - has only just been completed and is due to undergo a short installation test in Jordan before Solberg and Mills tackle the pre-rally shakedown.

Solberg’s Jordan Rally debut in 2008, in a factory Subaru Impreza, ended in retirement on the final stage of day two when a leaking brake calliper resulted in him failing to negotiate a right-hander and led to him rolling twice after sliding into a ditch.

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