Rally Sweden nightmare still a mystery
Former World Rally Champion Petter Solberg is still trying to discover why his 2010 title campaign got off to such a poor start on the opening round in Sweden.
Equipped with the latest customer spec C4 World Rally Car from Citroen, great things had been expected of Solberg who won Rally Sweden in 2005. But the Norwegian’s chances of repeating that success got off to a terrible start when he spun and lost his front bumper on the rally opening Super Special.
Things didn’t improve much over the three days which followed, with Solberg failing to find a comfortable set-up and eventually finishing ninth, more than 10 minutes behind the winner Mikko Hirvonen.
"We haven’t found the answer yet," Solberg told wrc.com, "all I know for sure is that the good feeling we had while testing was nothing like the feeling on the rally. I did two small rallies before Sweden and two days of testing on different roads. We had the same sort of conditions on the rally but when it came down to it I just couldn’t get the speed. I mean, I lost seven seconds on the Super Special! I couldn’t get the proper feeling and wasn’t able to brake late and get back on the throttle early. That meant I couldn’t get the acceleration out of the corners; I had to wait for the throttle all the time."
As part of a post rally investigation, the differentials from Petter’s car have been set to supplier Citroen Racing for analysis. But the Norwegian feels his own exhaustion could have played a part.
"We will find out what caused it but at this stage I don’t want to blame anything or anybody," he explained. "There are many possible reasons including me. I mean, who knows? Maybe it was too much work and stress getting all the sponsors and team and car ready. Perhaps we weren’t prepared enough. After the rally I spent three days in bed because I was completely run down."
Solberg owns two Citroen C4 WRCs, but will use the same Rally Sweden chassis on the forthcoming round in Mexico.
"I feel on top form now, and I guess we’ll find out how the car is on Saturday and Sunday this week when we test out there," he said. "One small bonus of our Swedish result is a very good road position in Mexico. It’s a rally I’ve always been fast on and we’re won it too. Based on how we did on Rally GB last year, we should be able to do even better in Mexico now we have a better car."
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