Petter Solberg says he feels in better shape than ever ahead of this week's Rally Finland – with the Norwegian hotly tipped as a potential winner of the event.
Solberg has not won a round of the World Rally Championship in almost five years, but he has enjoyed his best start to a WRC campaign since 2005 – visiting the podium on four of the seven rallies run so far this year. He said the changes he made to his privately run Citroen C4 WRC on the last round of the series in Bulgaria have transformed the car again.
"I really feel we can fight again at the front everywhere now," he said. "After Bulgaria, and the changes we made to the car, I think we're there on asphalt. You know, for the first time in a long time, I feel I am back to being in the top three drivers in the world. It's been a long and tough battle, but the feeling is back for me.
"For this rally, I don't know. A lot depends on the weather. If it rains, for sure, it's going to be better for [Sebastien] Loeb at the front, but if it stays dry then running farther back definitely helps."
Although running first on the road is likely to be a big disadvantage if conditions stay dry, Solberg played down the benefit he would get from his fifth position in the running order.
"Fifth on the road is OK, but it's nothing like the condition that Loeb had in New Zealand, where he was running farther back and in the perfect place," Solberg said. "You know it p****s me off a little bit how high people rated him for the way he drove on Saturday in New Zealand. Don't get me wrong, he's very good – but he's not that f*****g good..."