Subaru has locked up their star World Rally Championship driver, Petter Solberg, until 2009. The 31-year old Norwegian, who is having a difficult season this year by his own admission, cited his firm belief in Subaru and its racing program as why he extended his contract with them. There had been speculation that Solberg would bolt from Subaru at the end of this year's WRC campaign.
Solberg and his co-driver, Phil Mills, won the 2003 World Rally Championship, and since joining the team in 2000, they have amassed 13 wins and 30 podium finishes. Currently, Solberg is 5th in the driver standings for the 2006 WRC with 20 points. The recent Acropolis Rally in Greece marked his 100th start for Subaru.
Explaining why he chose ro remain with Subaru, Solberg said the following:
"At Subaru I have a very good team of people behind me, that's everybody including the mechanics, engineers, management and those at Subaru in Japan. Okay, I had some problems in my career when I started at Subaru but the team supported me very much and since then we have always stood together, through good and bad things. But the most important thing about this career is winning. Now I know it's difficult at Subaru just now, and there was talk that I might change teams, but I know that Subaru has all the abilities and all the qualities and the best people to handle this situation. I am very, very confident that we will start winning again soon. I would not have signed if I felt the team wasn't ready to win very soon."
Those are the words of a motivated driver who is as fiercely loyal as he is competitive. Above all, he seems to be a class act. Subaru is fortunate to have kept him on board.
Photo: Subaru World Rally Team