Rally idol keen for challenge
A TOUCH of Hollywood is coming to the Coffs Coast in September and it has nothing to do with local resident Russell Crowe.
Sunday’s announcement that 2003 World Rally champion Petter Solberg will be coming to Coffs Harbour for the World Rally Championship (WRC) round is almost as big as it can get in the world of motorsport.
Solberg is nicknamed ‘Hollywood’, and for good reason. He is one of the WRC’s all-time fan favourites and already has form under his belt in Australia.
The amiable 36-year-old Norwegian won the Rally Australia in his world championship year when the event was held in Western Australia.
It is Solberg’s personality that endears him to rally fans across the world.
Scandinavians are known for their cool, calm demeanour, but Solberg isn’t one of them – he wears his heart firmly on his sleeve while he drives his cars with vigour, passion and sideways panache.
Solberg looks set in 2011 for the most competitive season yet with his Citroen-powered Petter Solberg World Rally Team.
His giant-killing drives reaped third in the championship last year.
This year he is scheduled to start all 13 rounds with an identical car to Citroen Total World Rally Team pilots Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier.
Rally Australia general manager Michael Masi said it was wonderful news that Solberg will be driving in Australia with Chris Patterson from Northern Ireland sitting alongside him calling his notes.
Masi believes that both fans and competitors alike would be keen to see how Solberg and Patterson handled the challenging roads of the Rally Australia.
“We very much look forward to receiving their official entries to Rally Australia, along with other stars such as Sebastien Loeb, Sebastien Ogier, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala,” he said.
“In the coming months we will also be announcing details on where fans can see their heroes in action at designated spectator points and other venues.”