Q&A with Petter Solberg and Pontus Tidemand at World RX in Belgium
Petter Solberg has always been a good representative for his sports. Whether in the Prodrive team driving his many Subaru Impreza’s or in World RX. Where Petter goes, something happens. But why did he choose World RX over WTCC or Dakar? And is the budget struggle of the WRC-times over?
Next there is Pontus Tidemand. The promising Swede seemed to have a bright WRC career after winning JWRC, but now he turns up in World RX. Will we see him back in WRC or has he found a new home?
Interview Petter Solberg
Q: Following your World Rally Championship career you went into World RX instead of Dakar or WTCC. Why World RX?
A: Well, World Touringcar, I don’t think it’s, maybe, exiting enough. Citroën is doing very well there, but I need some more action. So this World RX, for me, works very well. Dakar, well that’s something in my mind that I want to do. But obviously if we want to build a car, we have to really plan it and work hard with it. From my point of view now it’s to try to win the World RX Championship.
Q: But Dakar is in your future definitely?
A: Yes sure I will do Dakar one day, definitely!
Q: You’ve been struggling over the last years budgetwise in WRC as a privateer. Is it easier in World RX?
World RX is cheaper, for sure. It’s better for TV, so it’s easier to maybe get sponsorships for that. Everything is on an Arena which makes it also easier, but for sure, rallying is in my blood. It’s so exiting. I miss rallying, but sometimes you have to go on with your life and try something else.
Q: Would scoring the World RX title be as impressive to you as when you won the WRC Championship?
A: Well obviously I don’t know that yet. I think that feeling is something that comes when you are getting close to it. We have to stay focussed and try to look at every race one by one.
Q: Is it becoming an all-round carsport venue, this World RX? Since you have people like Ekstrom, yourself and Andrew Jordan bringing all the disciplines together.
A: I think it is a lot because of the horsepower. A lot of rules are a bit different compared to rallying, so we can do different things. The reason is also because of IMG making the sport huge. That’s the a big part of it.
Q: If I was a young talented driver. What would you advise me? WRC, World RX?
A: It’s made difficult to get into the World Rally Championship straight away, because it’s a long learning curve. I started Rallycross when I was young. First Autocross, then Rallycross and next Hillclimb. You learn a lot when you do that. Maybe you could go and try rally after that, but I think it’s cheaper to do something in rallycross.
Interview Pontus Tidemand
Q: What does a JWRC winner do in World RX?
For sure, when you get this opportunity to be in a good team and good car, you take it. Everything feels 100% right. I’m really proud to be in this team. Both team and car have a good potential.
Q: After leaving rally Sweden from fourth spot, people were thinking you might end up at M-Sport. Now you are fighting Petter Solberg in World RX. Is WRC still on your mind or are you set on World RX now?
It is difficult to say. I take the opportunities that I get. If it’s a good one, I will push and do my best. I equally like rallycross and rally. I don’t know about the future. We take season by season and race by race.
Q: You are fighting today with Petter Solberg. Trying to beat him must be a huge opportunity for you, as you were close beating him already in one of the Saturday heats, isn’t it?
A: For sure! I like this track and I have good speed on the track. You will see more fights this weekend between Petter and me as we are in the same heat again. Main thing is to both get good times to get to the semi-finals. We will do everything to get clean and good runs.
And Pontus got to the semi- final and even the final. Still fighting Petter Solberg he had to give up. He answered us on Sunday after the final.
Q: You got to the final, are you satisfied with the result or disappointed about the outcome of it?
A: We are really happy to get to the final. We had good speed and should have been on the podium. I didn’t do any mistakes, so could have been second or first place. But this is motorsport. First Petter got a problem with the right rear, I don’t know what, then I almost passed him and my car was stopping the engine. That’s life!