Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team principal Malcolm Wilson has admitted he will miss Petter Solberg, who he introduced to world rallying in 1999.
Solberg drove for Wilson's Ford squad in 1999 and 2000 before departing for Subaru. The Norwegian returned to score four podium and 44 fastest stage times in a factory Fiesta RS WRC this year. On Tuesday, however, Solberg announced he would not be driving in the World Championship next year.
Wilson said: "It will be strange to begin a WRC season with no Petter Solberg in the service park, and I will miss him on a personal as well as a professional level.
"When we first signed him back in 1999, he was a fresh-faced youngster with a lot of potential and equally a lot to learn, and when he returned to Ford more than a decade later as a world champion, it was like he had come home.
"It was a pleasure to have Petter in the team this year and we are delighted to have shared in some of his many successes in rallying. We wish him well for the future."