Petter Solberg declared himself delighted to have won the Panzerplatte stage today and laid to rest the memory of his 2004 crash on Rally Germany.
Solberg was fastest through the second run of the 29-mile test this afternoon, beating rally leader Sebastien Loeb by 8.4 seconds. The Norwegian suffered one of the biggest accidents of his career on the Baumholder stage, but this afternoon he was happy to have won the test.
"Finally, I have beaten the place," he said. "After 2004, which was a terrible time, it's fantastic to have gone there and gone fastest.
"To be honest, there was nothing special in the stage. I wasn't trying to push or make any really fast time, it just came. When you are relaxed and everything is working it feels easy. It's frustrating that we could have been much higher up in this event, but after beating Panzerplatte, I am happy that I decided to carry on today; I had been thinking of pulling out after yesterday's problems – we could have saved a lot of money by not competing today – but this is payback for me."
Solberg's co-driver Chris Patterson admitted the 96 junctions in the World Rally Championship's longest stage had kept him busy.
"It was a big challenge," said Patterson. "Time-wise I have done a longer stage – we did one over an hour in Cyprus – but this was right up there among the toughest stages. It's just incredible and fantastic to be able to take time out of Sebastien Loeb. To sit there and say: 'Minus five to Loeb; minus six; minus seven, oh now we're minus nine' was great."