Petter's blog

A tribute to the Team

‘Mechanic Moral’ - It’s not a commonly used term in everyday life, but with the PSRX Team it is crucial for success. My mechanics are hand-picked from rallying – and with good reason. 
When we won the first World Rallycross Championship round ever to be held outside Europe last weekend, it was honestly fully deserved for my team. The container with my car came to port just three days before the race, and the guys were working feverishly to ensure that all details should be in place.
Between each heat in the compact one-day race schedule, the mechanics had less than half an hour to fix the car. I was truly impressed that they served me literally a winning to each and every heat. We won five out of six heats – including the final!
I say «we» because I’ve never experienced more of a team victory. The RX of Canada would never have been won without my mechanics. They live and breathe every day to be the best. The PSRX team, our sponsors and our common passion is why we now lead the championship by 20 points.
119855_Solbergp06Bel14tw135  119843_Solberg06BEL14tw142
The story about my mechanics and me began many years ago. The PSRX Chief Mechanic Ole Johan Rustad is a graduate at the ‘Star Academy’ in Torsby and served in Ford’s WRC team for several years before he came to me in 2009. My good friend and compatriot has been a key figure on all cars in my private engagement both in rally and rallycross.
We have three British mechanics in the team. John Cudmore has been a crucial team member since 2013 and is the first mechanic on my 2014 RX-car. He works very closely with Ole Johan. «Cuddy» is a worker of the rare, and together they puts all their diligence, ability and pride into making my car the best there is. Ole Johan and Cuddy is responsible for the work on my car also between each race.
Mark Butler and Ian Emmerson were brought to the team this year to give Ole Johan and Cuddy the support that is needed in the World RX races. Mark was the chief mechanic for several years in Subaru, so I knew him very well from before.
I also have several «freelance» mechanics in support.
In April, Estonian Sten Oja came to us to test his abilities as a mechanic, and he proved capable. In Canada Sten, who already is twice North European and repeatedly Estonian champion in rallycross, got the chance to drive the team’s second car as we were missing a driver. Possibly he will get the opportunity again.
Two of my team members are French. The engines are maintained by Yannis Loison from Pipo Moteurs, who were responsible for Peugeot and Ford engines in WRC for many years. We have an amazing co-operation. My system engineer is Francois Regnier from Syx Tronics, who also have been with me since my rallying days.
My whole crew have the passion and moral that it takes for me to fight for the World RX title.
Canada was close to perfect both for the team and me. The team effort paid off with a blasting victory. A World RX win is not just an everyday happening. I had ‘only’ 14 in the WRC and now I have two in World RX after racing almost 200 world events in total.
We were welcomed and treated in the best way possible by the organizers in Trois-Rivières, where the environment for motorsport proved mildly impressive. On the last day of the motorsport festival, the entire team was invited to watch the NASCAR race from a VIP room. It was an experience we would not be without.
We were so lucky to have guests from my sponsor TOTAL and Kongsberg Automotive at the race. They had a fantastic trip and adventure! A big thank you to KA, who invited my family and me on a day of water-skiing and total relaxation the day after our victory. That day put a finishing touch to a fantastic Canada trip.
Canada is a wonderful country with great people and spectacular scenery. I am really looking forward to the next time I’ll visit the country.
Three weeks remain until the next World RX round. Then we return to Loheac in France, where I took second place last year. It is a circuit that I know well and feel very comfortable on.
I was the first World RX winner and the first Championship leader (Portugal), the first winner outside Europe and the first to win two World Cup rounds (Canada). Maybe Loheac can offer new milestones?

Reason triumphed on home ground

Rarely have I been so nervous before and during a race than when I was going home to Norway to run the FIA World RX round in Hell itself!

I wanted to show my countrymen that I still have what it takes to compete at the top level.

A year had passed since the last time I was in the middle part of Norway. Last year’s European Championship round was held at the same place, but ended with a downer «de luxe» and 13th place. In fact, I lacked only a few seconds to drive semifinal at the time, something which I have thought a lot about afterwards.

Things could have been done differently in Hell last year, and I intended to rectify this immediately.

117588_Solbergptw221

After the last World RX round at Lydden Hill, we came together in the team to put up a new strategy for the Norwegian round. By facilitating the smoothness of driving and avoid taking unnecessary risks, the chance of a top result would increase significantly.

Everyone in the PSRX team knows what it’s all about in 2014; the title race in the FIA World RX Championships. The plan before the race was to run for just that, and that a single round victory could be sacrificed to collect as many points possible without taking big risks.

I implemented the plan to the fullest. In the first heat I had a terrible start and remained behind Jacques Villeneuve. I kept the location behind the Formula 1 legend and got me an honourable time.

I could fully blame myself afterwards; the start was miserable, but we gained more chances this time.

Following two more heats, I came in a position to contend for a heat win. I was fighting for a place in the front row for the semi-finals, but had some misfortune. I cheered wildly when the TV graphics in our service area first showed that I had done it, but soon afterwards it became clear that I was missing two points.

Nevertheless, I got a fantastic race in the semifinals, a new heat victory and the second starting position in the finals too.

Since it rained a little during the finals, I kept the strategy from the start not to take any risks, and I chose a medium wet setup on the car for the final. In the end I lost some small tenths to Reinis Nitiss on each of the six rounds, and the Latvian got his first Supercar victory.

I am very impressed by Nitiss; a huge rallycross talent and both a pleasant and humble person as well. The 18-year-old, who got his driving licenses only a few months ago, will guaranteed be a hard nut to crack in the fight for the world title. I must continue to be smart to hold a position in the top of the World RX overall fight.

My only chance of victory in the RX of Norway final would have been going on in a duel with Nitiss on the way out of the joker lap, but I followed the strategy of my team and stayed neatly behind him. The risk would have been huge to ruin both my own and Nitiss’ race if I was to push forward. I don’t think such execution is fair play.

Second place felt like a victory. I had a lot of pressure on myself before the World RX round at home ground. It was my most important single race of the season, pure and simple. To redeem a position on the podium, I consider that a triumph.

I am rarely satisfied with anything other than wins, but right now I believe that enough 2nd places will also give gold overall. I am not willing to risk a position on the podium by taking unnecessary risks.

But when the victory chances presents themselves, and it will, I will seize the opportunity with both hands and feet.

13,000 people had paid admission to see the World RX rallycross in Hell. It is an obvious new record! The support I received from my own countrymen meant a tremendous amount, and it made a huge contribution to me going back from Norway with a sense of victory.

The circuit in Hell is very cool, and the organizers had made a great effort to make very successful event. Thanks to all of you who contributed to the party!

We are quite busy in my workshop these days. The next World RX round takes place in Finland in one and a half week. By the time we travel to Kouvola in the middle of next week, we get a logistic challenge out of the ordinary. We will pack for three races in a row, and containers are to be shipped to Canada in the process.

The next three World RX rounds will determine much of the world title fight.

About three and a half weeks from now, we will know the answer to who is still in the game and who’s not.

117600_Solbergptw189-2  117462_Solbergptw087

Home sweet home

“Hjem” is the Norwegian word for home. We Norwegians simply love our country and are proud of our deep fjords, towering mountains, and intimate cities - not to mention of our flag. Less than a week is left until I go “hjem” to fight for my first World RX victory on home soil.

I am more than ready for Norway!

The inaugural Norwegian FIA World Rallycross Championship round is held in Hell itself! That’s something that we Norwegians don’t react to at all; for English-speaking people is quite another story.

This tiny town is for sure called Hell, but believe me when I say that it is more a heaven on earth in my sight. In Hell lies one of the World RX circus’ coolest and funniest tracks, and my home track fits me like a glove!

116398_Solbergp0214gbtw109-2
The small town is just 30 kilometers outside one of the largest Norwegian cities, Trondheim. It’s just a few minutes drive away from Trondheim Airport. In the midst of this “Hell” is my “Mecca” – Lånkebanen.

Only twice in my earlier rally career, I travelled ”hjem” to run the WRC. In 2007 I was fourth, and in 2009 sixth when Rally Norway twice was part of the WRC. Subsequently, the Swedish Rally has been on short visits into Norway, but it’s not quite the same.

Next weekend it happens again! I tremble with expectations before the first ever Norwegian World RX Championship round. Nothing would delight me more if the whole region and all of the Norwegian motorsports community will form a circle around such a possibility. I need all backing possible on my road to success on home ground!

Lånkebanen is spectacular, and it’s one of my favourites in World RX. The terrain, difficult turns, high speed and the jump over the finish line are ingredients I cannot get enough of.

When I won the first ever World RX Championship round in Portugal a month ago, it was an indescribable feeling – not unlike the one I got in the WRC rally in November 2002. Yet it was the refund of all the work behind that gave the best feeling for both myself as the rest of PSRX team.

Success at home in Hell will surpass the Portugal triumph.

Period.

Home is home anyway – so I think it is for all athletes.

I travel to the World RX round #3 with great expectations and hopes. So far this season my car has proven to be both strong and reliable. My team works very well, and all are pulling in the same direction heading towards the big goal of the year.

After the World RX round in England last month, we’ve been in control of the amount of work on the team cars. I have had plenty of time to prepare my head for the RX of Norway.

The way I do it is to go on the run!

Being a mechanic for my son Oliver in crosskart races in Norway and Sweden is exactly what I need to collect profits. I sleep well, enjoying life with family and friends and watching the next generation of motorsport athletes.

Is there anything better?

Hardly for me!

This weekend we were in Arboga, Sweden where Oliver drove the Swedish Crosskart Championship. It was brilliant until the final, where Oliver first rolled, then he had an engine breakdown at restart.

What can you do other than try again next time?

Now I’m ready to race in Hell!

After the sweat came tears of joy

11 years have passed since I drove to my first WRC victory. The experiences from that triumph have burned into my memory. In the first ever FIA World RX race, I got a close encounter with the same feelings again.
 
The thoughts of all the work we have put into this project and all of those people who have helped along the way to make it possible, make it a relief that I performed under pressure and met the high expectations.

The mental and physical emotions when I finally – after a long, long time – again stood on the top step of the podium where phenomenal.

Nine years had passed since the last time I was there…

114684_Solbergp0114por161

There were some tears of joy for both for Pernilla , myself and others in our PSRX Team. Strong emotions came to the surface after all the work that is laid down. We have pushed a lot of limits on our way to this success.

The two victories that are 11 and a half years apart are strong memories to take forward in life. But I will never rest on this victory from Portugal. I’m hungry for more and will work even smarter in the future to achieve the really big goal of mine.

The new focus on rallycross is the second part of my career. The first part gave a lot of success and fun in the WRC. Now it’s all about rallycross, and the first milestone was a World RX win.

Now that is completed.

I am incredibly proud to be the first ever World RX winner!

We built up last year’s team and the car in record time last winter. When we met up at the legendary Lydden Hill on March 29 for the first Euro RX round, we stood there without experience, without knowledge, and neither team trailer or a competitive RX car. Looking back at it all, we should never have gone there, nor the next two or three races.

But without all the experience from last year, both negative and positive, I’d never been standing here as the first World RX event winner ever.

Rallycross is a completely different sport than rallying. 3 or 4 high-intensity minutes in the car on the track and with 600 horsepower right in front of the driver is something completely new. The level of drivers in this sport is sky high.

The development of vehicles and equipment is going forward in record time and the interest in the championship is running wild. Therefore my life will carry on straight back into everyday life. My mechanics remained an extra day in Portugal to prepare the cars of both Alexander Hvaal and myself after the race. When vehicles and equipment return to Torsby towards the end of the week, we’ll work just as hard for the next race.

Although there was success and victory for one of the team’s cars if the first race, there remains a great deal of work on both of them before we go on to Lydden Hill for the next World RX round in two weeks. This is probably the situation in all other teams too. All teams, cars and drivers will be better prepared, and so should we.

The PSRX Team made a very good start to the season with overall victory, four heat wins, improving the track record three times and currently we’re third in the team championship.

Now our journey continues towards the big goal; the World RX Championship title.

114695_Solbergp0114por172 114688_Solbergp0114por165 114681_Solbergp0114por158

The new 2014 PSRX look!

The first ever FIA World Rallycross Championship will be nothing but a treat! My new design of the PSRX cars and team is a tribute to my loyal sponsors and to the amazing accomplishment by IMG of turning this sport into a World event in record time.

Only 17 days remain until the first ever World RX blasts off in Portugal. It’s my pleasure to reveal for you how the 2014 PSRX Team will appear in the World RX debut year. This is the first ever picture of my new car. We will show off the car for the first time at the World RX Launch in Italy next week!

I’ve always been a fan of bright colours and clear lines. I made this design for both my team and our sponsors to be seen and easily recognized.
(Story continues under the picture!)

IMG_3505

Just scout for my”11” arrow around the track and on LIVE TV at all 12 rounds of the World RX this year!

The PSRX Team has been through a very tough and hard working period. At most we went Flat Out for more than 40 hours straight – with minimal rest both before and after. I am forever thankful to my crew for their accomplishments!

I believe that we are well prepared at this time. We still have some crucial testing of both Alex Hvaal’s car (PSE01 2013) and my car (PSE02 2014) left. So far, we are very confident that we are on the right track. I have some big expectations both for my team mate Alex and myself this season.

In front of us lies 12 tough World RX rounds, where we will be in competition with some of the worlds best drivers. It’s going to be tighter, tougher and more difficult than ever to reach the top of the podium.

The big question is who will be the first World RX Champion in November. The only thing I’m sure about is that several extremely talented and experienced drivers will try to grab the opportunity. Both Alex and I are amongst them!

For each day that goes by I’m getting more excited to get to the start. I’ll be a very happy and excited man when we turn up to the blistering start in Portugal! Highlights are lined up towards the summer. The one I am looking forward to the most is my home event (both World RX and Euro RX) in Hell, Norway 14-15 June.

PS. Please remember to download my new and FREE PetterS RX App to follow all the RX action on your phone and/or tablet!

« Previous page Next page »