2003 champion Petter Solberg is returning to WRC for the racing debut of the new VW Polo GTI R5 in Spain.
Solberg and his co-driver Veronica Engan will compete in the WRC 2 Class at the Rally Spain in Catalonia from October 25 to 28. The Norwegian World Rally Champion returns to the same place where he called time on his WRC career in 2012.
Solberg is currently competing in the World Rallycross Championship with the PSRX VW Sweden team and he’s only coming back to WRC for this weekend. The new VW Polo GTI R5 is making its competitive debut at the Rally Spain and it’s going to be the car’s only outing with the VW works team.
“When I drove the car in January in Sweden, I didn’t want to stop,” said Petter Solberg. “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.”
Solberg won the World Rally Championship in 2003 with Subaru, ending the season just one point ahead of Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz. The Norwegian rally driver has claimed 52 podiums and 13 victories during 188 appearances in WRC driving for Toyota, Ford, Subaru and Citroen. The 2018 Rally Spain will be Solberg’s first rally with Volkswagen.
The new Polo GTI R5 will be run by customer teams in national and international championships. The new rally car is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 268hp (272PS) and 295lb-ft (400Nm). Power goes to all four wheels via a five-speed sequential racing transmission, making the 1,320kg (2,910lbs) rally car able to reach 62mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds.