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November 15th, 2012
Petter Solberg has no doubt that he is still quick enough to win another World Rally title if he can secure a deal to stay in the series for 2013.
The 2003 world champion’s future in the sport is currently in doubt following Ford’s decision to end its factory involvement.
The M-Sport team that has run the Ford operation will continue to field Fiestas, potentially in a Qatar-funded programme put together with Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Solberg told this week’s AUTOSPORT magazine that he would prefer to quit the WRC than have to bring funding to secure a 2013 seat. Citroen’s second drive, the last fully-funded factory place available, has now gone to Dani Sordo.
Writing in his exclusive AUTOSPORT column, Solberg said that if M-Sport could secure the necessary backing, he knew he could deliver a title with the Ford Fiesta.
“The competition is fantastic and I know I still have what it takes to drive right at the front of the field,” he said.
“I know I can win another championship and I absolutely know that this Ford Fiesta RS WRC is good enough to win the title, and is still getting better.”
But he admitted he had to be realistic and face the prospect of retirement.
“I have to consider the fact that I might have to retire from the World Rally Championship,” Solberg wrote.
“I have to think like this. I’m a professional driver and if I can’t make a living doing this then I have to look for other work, it’s as simple as that. If I do retire, it would be nice to have started and finished my WRC career with Ford.
“Do I want to retire? What do you think? Of course I don’t!
“I’m desperate to carry on driving. I love this sport, it really is my life. I love everything about the World Rally Championship… maybe except waiting to be picked up by the team after something unexpected has happened.”
Solberg finished fifth in this year’s WRC standings with Ford. His last rally win was in Great Britain in 2005.