One of the major talking points at the rally and rallycross scene this winter has been Volkswagens hasty departure from the World Rally Championship. Another huge question has been the new rallycross car of triple FIA World Champion Petter Solberg, as he has announced that last season was his last with the Citroën DS3. Today news came out that they are joining forces for next season!
Earlier we’ve read that the Volkswagen WRC team has pulled out of the championship, and that a Qatar hero failed to resurrect the team. The most recent news is that Andreas Mikkelsen (3rd overall last year) and his management are working to enter with one car in selected rallies, and that the FIA is positive to this solution. While the fate of the 2017 VW WRC cars are very much still undecided, Petter Solberg announced today that he has formed a new relationship with Volkswagen Motorsport.
Joining Solberg is the talented and versatile Swedish driver Johan Kristoffersson, who finished 2nd in World Rallycross this year. Kristoffersson has raced and rallied VW’s, Audis, Skodas and Seats for almost a decade already, and is considered a future champion of the sport. The team will consist of engineers from VW in Germany and mechanics and other personnel from Solberg and Kristofferssons team.
Who could possibly beat this combination next year? Expertise and technology from VW Motorsport, stability from Swedes and passion from Solberg. It will be a hard task for Sebastien Loeb, Timmy Hansen, Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud. The 2016 champion Mattias Ekström is still uncertain about the future of his team, and may make a full-time return to DTM.
One thing is certain though: 2017 will be a good year for rally-related motorsport.