Petter Solberg's one-off WRC return at Rally Catalunya in a VW Polo R5
Petter Solberg, the 2003 World Rally Champion and two-time World Rallycross Champion (in 2014 and 2015), will make a one-off return to the World Rally Championship in October at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada in a brand-new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
Volkswagen Motorsport announces today that the 43-year-old Solberg will represent the German brand in the Spanish WRC round that will mark a competitive debut of their new rally car. Earlier this month, Volkswagen announced that Eric Camilli will also drive their new car in Spain.
It’s interesting that Petter Solberg’s last WRC event was the RallyRACC Catalunya back in 2012 before he switched his career to rallycross. Since then, he won two World RX titles but stayed in rallying occasionally, mostly in national and historic events alongside his wife Pernilla or son Oliver as co-drivers. In his WRC return, Solberg will be co-driven by Veronica Engan, an experienced navigator who most lately worked with Petter’s son Oliver.
“The opportunity to make a WRC comeback with Volkswagen is a unique one, and I was very happy to accept the offer. 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,” said Petter Solberg.
The appearance of the new Polo GTI R5 will be the car’s only outing with the Volkswagen works team. After that, the car will continue his life with customer teams in national and international competitions all around the world, in accordance with R5 regulations.
“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 percent 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,” Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets said.