Search results for "'solberg'"

21 September 2018 ~ 0 Comments

WRC comeback: Petter Solberg to pilot Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 at Rally Spain

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

After the naming of Eric Camilli as the first Polo GTI R5 driver for the car’s sole official works outing at Rally Spain, former World Rally Championship (WRC) winner Petter Solberg has been revealed as the brand-new motorsport Polo’s second pilot for the Catalonian event.

Perhaps not a total surprise, Norwegian Solberg has enjoyed links with Volkswagen Motorsport since 2017 when the Hanover-based outfit agreed to lend support to his PSRX Volkswagen Sweden squad which competes in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. A winning team, PSRX Volkswagen Sweden has been crowned team champion again in 2018, with Solberg’s co-driver Johan Kristoffersson taking the individual spoils once again, after last year’s success.

2003 world rally champion
The Rally Spain was Solberg’s last full WRC outing, and he will drive the event with co-driver Veronica Engan in the WRC2 class, for which the Polo GTI R5 has been specially designed. Solberg was rally world champion in 2003 before exiting the sport in 2012, and this year’s Rally Spain will play host to three world champions, as Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier will join Solberg and the new customer motorsports Polo on the starting line on 25 October.

‘The opportunity to make a WRC comeback with Volkswagen is a unique one, and I was very happy to accept the offer,’ said Solberg. ‘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, and to be in the car for the very first time is a real privilege for
me.

‘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,’ he continued.

Petter Solberg

‘A true rally hero’
Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets said: ‘Petter is a true rally hero. We have already experienced his passion and professionalism working alongside him in World Rallycross. Petter always gives 110 per cent, and he has tested the Polo GTI R5 and has always been one of our preferred candidates for the debut of our new car. It is fantastic that he will drive the R5 Polo in Spain, and everyone is looking forward to the rally and to working with Petter and his team-mate Eric Camilli.’

Over 14 years between 1998 and 2012, Solberg made 188 WRC appearances. He has driven for teams including Citroën, Ford, Toyota, and perhaps most famously, Subaru, with whom he scored his world championship title in 2003, ahead of rally legends Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz. The last Nordic world rally champion, Solberg drove for his own team from 2009 to 2011, and returned to Ford in 2012 as a works driver.

His stats are impressive, clocking up 52 podium results, with 13 of them being rally wins, alongside 457 stage wins and a total of 852 points. The 2018 Rally Spain is the Norwegian’s first WRC event with Volkswagen. After the switch from WRC to the World Rallycross Championship (WRX), the 43 year-old won the drivers’ title in both 2014 and 2015, with Volkswagen Motorsport and Solberg’s PSRX team partnership arriving at the start of 2017.

Successful from the off, the squad took the team title and was behind the 2017 world champion, Johan Kristoffersson, in its first year. Volkswagen Motorsport is responsible for the development and technical preparation of the two Polo R Supercars (which are ex-Volkswagen Motorsport, WRC-prepared Polos), while PSRX Volkswagen Sweden looks after the logistics, on-site running of the car, and marketing. Solberg meanwhile remains the only driver to have won the drivers’ title in two different FIA world championships.

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29 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

An icy inquest: Petter Solberg tests 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 in Sweden

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5

Volkswagen Motorsport’s new rally weapon, the Polo GTI R5 has taken to the roads again. This time the frozen tracks of Sweden provided the new 272bhp rally machine with a stern test, the car out through its paces by no fewer than three world champions: World Rallycross Polo RX pilot Petter Solberg, 2000 and 2002 title holder Marcus Grönholm and junior and WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand.

The latest four-wheel drive Polo GTI R5 assessment took place near the town of Kall, north-west of Östersund. Temperatures were as low as -15 degrees Celsius on the 4km-long route. Solberg had Veronica Engan – who usually reads pace notes for his son Oliver – relaying back the route commands.

‘Fantastic to drive’
Solberg was impressed by the new car: ‘It was just fantastic to be back behind the wheel of a rally car again and to help out the Volkswagen family. It was a really fun day. The team has done such a great job and the car is fantastic to drive. I didn’t want to get out at the end of the day!

‘We covered almost 300 kilometres in one day – very different to what I’m used to in the World Rallycross Championship, but I used my extensive rallying experience to work with the engineers on small changes to the car,’ the Norwegian rallycross and rally star added.

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30 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Solberg and Kristoffersson do the double at World RX of Great Britain

2017 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden Polo GTI Supercar, World RX of Great Britain: Solberg and Kristoffersson

Following their dominance at the 2017 World RX of Belgium two weeks ago, Petter Solberg and Johan Kristoffersson were once again the World Rallycross Championship drivers to beat at the World RX of Great Britain over the Bank Holiday weekend of 27-28 May.

The fifth round of the 2017 series saw the PSRX Volkswagen Sweden take their Polo GTI Supercars to first and second spots on the podium, with Solberg rewarded for a third consecutive best qualifying time performance at Lydden Hill. Kristoffersson’s runner-up place moved him to the top of the drivers’ standings: the young Swede is now 4 points clear of EKS’ and current world champion Mattias Ekström.

A perfect performance
The last-ever World RX of Great Britain at Lydden Hill – the British round moves to Silverstone from 2018 – got off to a good start for Solberg. The Norwegian blew apart last year’s lap record in the free practice session, and from there on in, the double World Rallycross Champion didn’t put a wheel wrong. In fact, Solberg and his 570bhp Polo put in a perfect performance: the 42 year-old even delivered a lights-to-flag lead in the final!

Unsurprisingly, it was an emotional couple of days for Solberg: ‘You know I’m quite an emotional guy, but this is really something special. To see all of these people here at this fantastic track is so amazing and then for the team to go so well in front of them is unbelievable. We started this adventure in January and look where we are. I think this one really is unbelievable,’ he enthused.

‘I talk a lot about the team and the team performance, but that’s absolutely the way we work at PSRX Volkswagen Sweden. Every single person in the team – and I mean everybody – puts 100 per cent into what we do. But recently, we’ve been putting 110 per cent in and we’ve been getting the results. 2017 is the 50th anniversary of rallycross. And we have won this anniversary race: how incredible is that. That’s a really, really nice feeling,’ Solberg continued.

‘An incredible feeling’
‘And, with the move to Silverstone next year, this will be the last time the World Rallycross Championship will be here at Lydden for a while, so to win this race is fantastic for me. It’s been a while since I was on the top step of the podium, so to be back here is such an incredible feeling. To have Johan right there with me makes it perfect. Everything went the way we wanted it to – and when we got out of the car the sun was shining. It’s a beautiful day,’ he added.

Kristoffersson’s move to the leading points-scoring driver in the championship was also cause for celebration. ‘This result really is for the team,’ said the superstar Swede. ‘I still can’t believe what we have achieved in just a matter of a few months – and still the car is getting better and quicker.

‘This team just never stops working and Petter and I are the ones who get the chance to show off what the team can do. That’s a real honour and a real privilege. But today, like the last round in Belgium, we were able to give something back to everybody in the team,’ he reported.

‘Quite an emotional win’
‘This one-two is the perfect way to say “thank you” to everybody in PSRX Volkswagen Sweden for all the hard work. It’s also quite an emotional win for the team. Rallycross is a very, very big part of my life and to score such a result on a weekend when we celebrate 50 years of this incredible sport is something which makes me and the whole team very proud,’ Kristoffersson said elatedly.

In addition to Kristoffersson’s catapult to championship leader, the Torsby squad’s first one-two of the season opens PSRX Volkswagen Sweden’s lead to 69 points in the teams’ championship – and also follows hot on the heels of a double podium last time out in Belgium. The next round, the World RX of Norway takes places in Hell on 10-11 June, and you can bet the Polo GTI Supercars of PSRX Volkswagen Sweden will certainly be raising all sorts of… hell!

2017 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 Johan Kristoffersson, Volkswagen Polo GTI: 124
2 Mattias Ekström, Audi S1: 120
3 Petter Solberg, Volkswagen Polo GTI: 117
4 Timmy Hansen, Peugeot 208: 91
5 Sebastian Loeb, Peugeot 208: 81

2017 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 PSRX Volkswagen Sweden: 241
2 Team Peugeot-Hansen: 172
3 EKS: 166
4 Hoonigan Racing Division: 125
5 MJP Racing Team Austria: 103

[Images: FIAWorldRallycross.com / PSRX Volkswagen Sweden]

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11 January 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Kristoffersson, Solberg and Volkswagen Motorsport for 2017 World RX assault

Johan Kristoffersson and Petter Solberg

While Volkswagen Motorsport’s official involvement in the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship may be over, it has confirmed a presence in this year’s FIA-administered rallycross series. In a surprise announcement, Volkswagen Sweden rallycross driver Johan Kristoffersson will join ex-world rally and two-time world rallycross champion Petter Solberg in heading up a new two-car Polo team for an assault on the 2017 FIA World Rallycross Championship.

The pair of 560bhp Polo RX Supercars have been developed and engineered by Volkswagen Motorsport in its workshops in Hannover and will appear under the Volkswagen Sweden banner. However, they will be run by Solberg’s PSRX team – with technical support from Volkswagen Motorsport – and supported by Volkswagen Sweden and its distributors.

‘Everything is possible’
Former DS 3 RX driver and Norwegian Solberg was delighted with the new deal: ‘This is the dream. With backing from Volkswagen Sweden and the top-notch Johan Kristoffersson as my team-mate, everything is possible. From the start, we are aiming at gold in the championship. This is my priority for 2017: I want to take this for my PSRX Team and for Volkswagen Sweden,’ he said.

Solberg added: ‘My team has worked so hard for so many years to be in the position to make this deal and now we’re here, it’s fantastic. It really is the dream for me. We have so much potential, but we also have a lot of work to do – but what an incredible future we are working towards now. Everything in the world is possible and achievable.’

2016 Volkswagen Polo RX

‘A dream come true’
Kristoffersson was also excited about the new pairing: ‘I am incredibly proud to be part of this extremely exciting project with Petter and Volkswagen Sweden – it’s a dream come true in every way. Together we will do everything in our power to achieve success, and I intend to grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with both hands’. Kristoffersson finished second in the 2016 World RX series.

Volkswagen Motorsport Director Sven Smeets concluded: ‘We are looking forward to working together with Petter, Johan and Volkswagen Sweden in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Petter’s team and Volkswagen Sweden will take care of the operation of the whole project. This strong co-operation provides everything needed to be successful.’

‘Future objectives’
Smeets told Autosport that the new deal and greater RX focus ‘ties in with our future objectives’ following Volkswagen’s dramatic World Rally Championship withdrawal. It has been reported in the past few months that Volkswagen was just one manufacturer which was interested in an all-electric rallycross series. Such a series would fit nicely with the manufacturer’s plans to become a leader in electric car mobility.

Meanwhile, Kristoffersson’s former team-mate Anton Marklund will race a Polo RX Supercar in the Euro RX series for the Marklund Motorsport team, alongside new signing Magda Andersson. The first round of the 2017 World Rallycross Championship, the World RX of Barcelona, takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 31 March to 2 April.

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17 January 2021 ~ 0 Comments

Polo GTI R5 results round-up: Grönholm and Linnaketo score sixth at 2021 Arctic Lapland Rally

Volkswagen Motorsport may have closed its doors, but the rally monster that is the Polo GTI R5 can still be seen out on the stages. At least 15 of the 272bhp four-wheel drive rally machines were made before the end of 2018, its debut year, and the rally GTI has tasted victory in the hands of famous names, including Oliver Solberg, son of world champion Petter Solberg.

Another celebrated rallying name is now associated with the GTI R5. Niclas Grönholm, son of two-time WRC title holder and former Volkswagen test driver Marcus Grönholm took the wheel of a MRF-tyred Polo for the 2021 Arctic Lapland Rally. The Finnish event ran from 15-16 January and Grönholm’s ALM Motorsport-prepared car came home in tenth place overall at the end of the seven-stage event. The result puts the young Finnish rallycross driver and his co-pilot Antti Linnaketo sixth in the 2021 Finnish Rally Championship.

‘Very challenging’
‘It was great to have two cars wearing MRF Tyres inside the top 10. The stages were in good condition, but there was a lot of loose snow, and it was very challenging,’ reported Grönholm.

Other Arctic Lapland Rally Polo GTI R5 runners included the pairings of Egon Kaur and Silver Simm for Kaur Motorsport; Georg Linnamäe and Tanel Kasesalu in another ALM Motorsport car; and Jussi Keskiniva and Mikko Kaikkonen in a Printsport-liveried Polo. Keskiniva finished 18th overall, with Linnamäe 21st and Kaur 30th. The 2021 event isn’t the first at which Polo GTI R5s have been seen in action: in 2019, Emil Lindholm and Mikael Korhonen helmed their small VW to victory.

There is more Polo GTI R5 action next weekend, as four cars are scheduled to take part in the 2021 running of the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo.

[Images: MRF Tyres / Volkswagen Motorsport]

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