WRC

Petter Solberg to Drive for Ford in Safari Rally

Solberg to drive Ford Focus on Safari Rally Norway's Petter Solberg will drive a Ford Focus World Rally Car on Kenya's Safari Rally later this month, replacing his Ford Martini World Rally Team colleague Thomas RÃ¥dstrom who has broken a leg ...

Solberg to drive Ford Focus on Safari Rally

Norway's Petter Solberg will drive a Ford Focus World Rally Car on Kenya's Safari Rally later this month, replacing his Ford Martini World Rally Team colleague Thomas Rådstrom who has broken a leg during an accident in Nairobi yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

Solberg, who finished an excellent 11th on his debut with Ford on last weekend's Swedish Rally, was preparing for his home event, the Finnskog Rally, which is held this weekend and for which he was favourite to win. Instead the 24-year-old is today flying to Kenya where he will begin preparations for the Safari, third round of the FIA World Rally Championship. He will be co-driven in Kenya by Fred Gallagher, Rådstrom's scheduled co-driver.

Rådstrom, who took the Focus to its first world championship points when he finished third in Sweden broke his lower left leg in two places after slipping and falling on some steps in the reception area of the team hotel in Nairobi. He has been discharged from hospital today and will be flown back to Sweden tomorrow where he will be examined by doctors to see whether his leg must be pinned.

Ford Martini World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson said he had no hesitation in nominating Solberg, who has only started three world championship rallies, to tackle what is regarded as the most demanding rally in the world.

"Petter drove with great maturity in Sweden, tempering his pace to ensure that he finished the rally and I'm sure he will do a similarly good job for the team in Kenya. This is a great opportunity for him at this stage of his career and I'm confident that he will prove a very capable replacement for Thomas.

"It's very unfortunate that this should happen to Thomas after such a superb drive in Sweden and we wish him a speedy recovery. No decision has yet been made on who will drive the second Ford Focus on the Rally of Portugal until the severity of Thomas' injuries are known," said Wilson.

The four-day Safari Rally, based in Nairobi, runs from 25-28 February.

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About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Petter Solberg , Thomas Radstrom , Malcolm Wilson