Henning Solberg is a Norwegian racing driver who competes mostly with private teams in the World Rally Championship and World Rallycross Championship in recent years. He debuted in the WRC in 1998, collecting 125 starts since then and scoring six podiums. Besides competing in the international rallies, Henning's biggest success was five consecutive titles in the Norwegian Rally Championship between 1999 and 2003. Henning is a brother of two-time WRX and 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg.
Carrer start in the bilcross and rallycross
Henning Solberg was born on January 8, 1973, in Askim and he grew up Spydeberg. Like his younger brother Petter (born 1974), Henning started his career in the bilcross (Norwegian national racing sport) and rallycross events.
In 1994, he participated in the Norwegian round of the European Rallycross Championship with Nissan Sunny GTI-R, then entering the full ERX season in 1995 with Ford Escort RS Cosworth. With one podium, he finished 12th in the points.
Norwegian championship runner-up behind his brother
In 1996, Henning switched completely to rallying, driving the Toyota Celica GT-4 in the Norwegian national events. The first victory came at Rally Solor in December 1996 and then few more wins during 1997, when he finished second in the Norwegian Rally Championship. He was in the second place again in 1998, behind his brother Petter.
In February 1998, Henning debuted in the WRC, participated with Toyota in the International Swedish Rally and finishing 12th overall.
Five-time Norwegian rally champion
In 1999, the period of Henning's domination in the Norwegian championship started. He won five consecutive titles from 1999 to 2003.
In 1999, his victorious car was Subaru Impreza 555. In November 1999, he participated in the closing WRC round, the Rally of Great Britain, with Ford Escort WRC. He was combining that car with Toyota Corolla WRC, winning one more Norwegian title and participating in four WRC events.
The next two national titles (in 2001 and 2002) Solberg has won with Toyota Corolla WRC, only switching to Subaru Impreza WRC at 2001 Rally GB. In 2003, Henning captured his fifth title with Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI.
2004 - first WRC season with Bozian Racing
After five consecutive national titles with four different cars, it was finally a time to make a step forward, so Henning joined Bozian Racing for the 2004 WRC season. He participated in six events with Peugeot 206 WRC, alongside co-driver Cato Menkerud, scoring his first points in the first event, the Swedish Rally. He finished sixth. This remained his best result and only points-finish of the season.
2005 WRC season with Ford's factory team
For the 2005 WRC season, Solberg was signed by the BP Ford World Rally Team, next to Toni Gardemeister and Roman Kresta. Henning participated in seven rounds with Ford Focus RS WRC. He scored points in two events, being fifth at Swedish Rally and fourth at Cyprus Rally. With nine points, Solberg finished 14th in the championship standings.
Maiden WRC podium with Peugeot 307 WRC
In 2006 WRC season, Solberg was back in the cockpit of Peugeot. He was driving the #8 Peugeot 307 WRC, as a partner of Manfred Stohl in the OMV Peugeot Norway team. Henning participated in twelve of sixteen events, finishing in the points seven times. The highlight of the season was his maiden WRC podium at Rally Turkey. He finished third behind Marcus Gronholm and Mikko Hirvonen. At the end of the season, Henning was 8th in the points.
Sixth in the world in the 2007 WRC season
In 2007, Solberg made a change again, joining the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team to drive the Ford Focus RS WRC 06 for the full season. It was the first season in which he participated in all WRC events, scoring two podiums in sixteen round. He was third at Rally Norway and Rally Japan. With seven points-finishes, he was the sixth-placed driver in the World Rally Championship. That remained his career-best result.
Driving for Stobart and Munchi's in 2008
Solberg retained his place at the Stobart team for the 2008 WRC season, but also competed in five rounds for Munchi's team. His best result was 4th place at Jordan Rally with Stobart's car. He was among points scorers seven times, finishing 8th in the final classification.
The Stobart's #6 Ford Focus RS WRC 08 was Henning's car in 2009. He repeated his best result, scoring two podiums and finishing sixth in the WRC classification. He finished third at Rally Argentina and Rally Poland.
Two final seasons with Stobart
Henning spent two more seasons with Stobart team. In 2010, he paired for the first time with navigator Ilka Minor. Henning participated in ten rounds with Ford Focus RS WRC 08 and three events with Ford Fiesta S2000. In the last three events, because of Ilka's injuries, Henning's co-driver was Stephane Prevot. Solberg recorded nine points-finishes, more than in any season, to ended 8th in the final standings.
The 2011 WRC season was his final with Stobart. He competed with new Ford Fiesta RS WRC machine, scoring his sixth and last WRC podium at Wales Rally GB, where he finished third. He was in the points eight times, finishing ninth in the final classification.
Just two events with Go Fast Energy team
Henning started the 2012 WRC season with private Go Fast Energy World Rally Team, with Matthew Wilson as a teammate. Henning participated in only two events, finishing 13th in Monte Carlo and 7th in Sweden. After that, the team was closed.
While driving for Stobart in the WRC, Henning had some occasional appearances in the European Rallycross Championship from 2009 to 2011. He returned to the rallycross in 2013.
Back to rallycross tracks
In 2013, Henning participated in three rounds of the European Rallycross Championship with his own Saab 9-3. In the WRC, he appeared in only one event, at Rally Sweden, finishing 8th with Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
In 2014, Henning expanded his activities both in the rallycross and rallying. He participated in six WRC events, navigated by Ilka Minor in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. He scored points five times, finishing 11th in the final WRC classification.
European Rallycross Championship runner-up in 2014
Solberg had a busy rallycross season in 2014, participating both in the European Rallycross Championship and the inaugural World Rallycross Championship. In five ERX events, he was driving Saab 9-3 for Eklund Motorsport and Citroen DS3 for LD Motorsports, finishing as the runner-up behind Robin Larsson.
In the 2014 World Rallycross Championship, Henning participated in ten rounds, combining the same cars. In the season when his brother Petter became the first World RX champion, Henning was tenth in the points.
Double programme again in 2015
Henning had a double programme again in 2015, but with fewer events. In the WRC, he and Ilka Minor visited just two rallies with Ford Fiesta WRC, finishing 11th in Monte Carlo and 12th Sweden.
In the World Rallycross Championship, Henning participated in four events with three different cars in the Supercar class: Circle X's Ford Focus, Olsbergs' Ford Fiesta and Eklund's VW Beetle. His best result was 13tr place in the Norwegian round at Hell.
Henning's son Oscar started an international rally career in 2016
In 2016, Henning Solberg and Ilka Minor participated in six WRC events, five times with Ford Fiesta RS WRC and one time with Ford Fiesta R5. Their best result was 7th place at Rally Italia Sardegna.
Besides racing, Henning's main duty is to help his son Oscar in the first steps at rally stages. Oscar Solberg (born 1996) debuted in rallying in 2014. After two seasons in the Norwegian rally events, he started an international career in 2016, participating in six WRC events with private Subaru Impreza STI and as a competitor in the Drive DMACK Cup with Ford Fiesta R2T.