Petter Solberg has promised he will be more focused than ever when he returns to the World Rally Championship as a factory Ford driver next season.
The Norwegian was announced as Ford's 2012 number two yesterday, following his first test of a Fiesta RS WRC. The 2003 World Rally champion, who will line up alongside Jari-Matti Latvala, said his new deal with team principal Malcolm Wilson meant as much to him as anything else in the sport, especially as he had made his WRC debut with the squad back in 1999.
"I can't tell you how happy I am," Solberg said. "It's an incredible feeling to be back with Ford, back where it all began."
Solberg, who has driven as a Citroen privateer for the last three years, completed close to 200 miles in the French Alps during his first test with the Ford team yesterday.
"It was a very good start," he said. "We had absolutely no problems, now I just can't wait to get started on the Monte Carlo. The Monte is one of the great rallies in the sport and having it back in the championship is very important for us all."
Wilson said he was delighted to have Solberg back.
"I'm very happy with the driver lineup for next year," he said. "I think it would be unfair to say that we're looking stronger than last year, because Mikko [Hirvonen] was a very strong team member who did a great job for us, but what I will say is that we're in with a very strong chance of the manufacturers' championship with Jari and Petter."