Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel says working with Petter Solberg at last week's Monte Carlo Rally has helped his relationship with the Norwegian ahead of this year.
Solberg made his debut in the Peugeot Sport team on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge opener, running alongside Bryan Bouffier and Stephane Sarrazin. The 2003 World Rally Champion was brought in at the specific request of Quesnel, who oversees both brands' motorsport programs.
Solberg has driven a customer specification Citroen for the last two seasons in the World Rally Championship and has often called on Quesnel to help him battle against the factory cars – something Quesnel has steered clear of, putting a strain on their relationship. But Quesnel says he has seen a different side to Solberg since the Monte Carlo.
"He is a good guy," said Quesnel. "I know him better now after we worked together. He came to this team [Peugeot Sport] for Monte and he worked for the whole team, he worked really hard for the whole team. I like the guy, really I like him now. I understand him better now and that will help this year."
Quesnel is adamant Solberg received the same equipment as Sebastien Loeb last season and will do the same again this year.
"Last year he had exactly the same car as Loeb and his car was faster than [Sebastien] Ogier's car," said Quesnel. "Like I told Petter: 'I'm sorry, I've got the boss Seb and Ogier in the team and that means I do think they are faster than you – maybe I'm wrong, but that's it for me.' But, of course, this year, he has the same car – they are all the same car."