World Rally star Petter Solberg helped save the lives of two powerboat racers while taking part in last weekend's Poker Run Powerboat Festival in Norway.
Solberg was racing in the Stavanger-based event on behalf of his boat-building sponsor Johs Lunde when the accident – described by the 2003 World Rally Champion as the most frightening moment of his life – happened behind him.
"I saw the crash in the mirror and knew it was serious straight away," Solberg told AUTOSPORT. "The boat had turned over and was effectively on its roof. I turned around and went back flat-out, I was first on the scene. Some people were out of the boat already, but there were two more trapped. My co-driver jumped in the water to help and I followed. It was a really bad situation."
The two racers, who had been trapped by their seatbelts in the upturned boat, were freed by Solberg, his co-driver and others who arrived on the scene soon after. Three of the five involved in the crash were hospitalised, but it was confirmed today that all were expected to recover fully from their injuries.
"That's the main thing," said Solberg. "All that matters is those guys are going to be OK. It was the most frightening thing I have ever seen. I've seen accidents on rallies, but when you arrive and a five-ton boat is upside down with people still in it, it's terrible.
"It's been a tough couple of days for me, it was a hard time. The water was just so cold. I was in the overalls and the boots and everything, and after some time in the water I just couldn't feel anything. I came close to fainting, it was really bad. But, like I say, they're going to be OK and that's all we all care about."