Norwegian medias announced on Tuesday that talks between Ford M-Sport and Petter Solberg concerning the 2013 season of the WRC have failed.
Solberg, who clinched World Rally Championship with Subaru in 2003, was left without an works drive after the Japanese car manufacturer left the secene at the end of 2009.
The Norwegian ran the 2010 and 2011 seasons, driving a Citroën C4 then a Citroën DS3 ran by his own private team.
In 2012, Solberg was back in a works team with Ford as a replacement for Mikko Hirvonen who moved to Citroën. But Solberg failed to win a rally this season, and made several driving mistakes that proved to be costly.
Petter Solberg recently revealed that he was close to a deal with Citroën for 2013, but the talks between them stopped following poor performances from Solberg at the end of season.
Today, several Norwegian medias announce that Solberg has failed to secure a seat with M-Sport
, and that he would stop his WRC career. After Ford Europe withdrew its involvement in WRC, team M-Sport has now to find budgets to run its Ford Fiestas.
Another Norwegian driver, Mads Ostberg, winner of Rally Portugal in 2012, has been promoted as number one driver at team M-Sport. Russian driver Evgeny Novikov seems very close to join him.
After Sebastien Loeb, another great champion, and one the most popular rally driver, will leave the WRC next year.
In a statement released on Thursday morning, Solberg said: "I am so grateful and happy for what I have experienced during my 15 years in the WRC. For now it’s really quite sad, you know, I would have loved to have driven for a few more years, but I do realise there will not be a WRC programme for me next year. I have said I am willing to drive for free, but at this point, I will not pay to drive. This is not to say that you will never again see me in a WRC car, but for now, I think it’s best."
"The sport has given me so much," he added, "but I want to give a special thank you to all of my fans that have supported me through thick and thin, and given me such a great feeling about what I do, and for being a large reason of why I do it. I do hope you all understand, and I hope you’ll continue to follow me on to my next venture. I promise to bring you something worthy of this. My team and I are hard at work as you read this, and we can’t wait to let you know what are plans are."