Solberg upbeat on title chances
Solberg fought back from the lower reaches of the top 20 to finish fourth on the Faro-based event, before Mikko Hirvonen’s exclusion from first promoted him to third.
Although heavy rain during his run prevented a shot at bonus points on the rally-closing Power Stage, Solberg said he has every reason to be positive having cut Sebastien Loeb’s championship lead.
“Nobody likes to see the results settled in the officials’ room and I feel sorry for Mikko and Jarmo,” said Solberg, who was fastest on eight special stages during the course of the four-day rally. “But tonight’s events mean I’m now only four points from the lead of the championship and Ford has made a big leap forwards in the manufacturers’ standings. I can’t wait for the next round in Argentina.”
Of his own performance on the gravel event, Solberg said: “The weekend was a big, big adventure. To finish fourth after everything that happened is a fantastic feeling. I was so disappointed after retiring on Friday and I didn’t sleep that night. It was so muddy and foggy that I knew anything could happen - and it did.”
He continued: “My times were good throughout and after being so far behind, to miss a podium by only 22s is a little frustrating. But I mustn’t be greedy, I’m grateful for what I achieved this weekend. I scored good points and I’m in a strong championship position.”