Solberg had already pursued Gigi Galli’s former co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini as a replacement for the departed Welshman, but he already had commitments to Nasser Al-Attiyah elsewhere. Daniel Barritt was also considered as an option, but he too is tied up elsewhere, as Toshi Arai’s co-driver.
After a day of testing with several candidates, Patterson – who has formerly co-driver for the likes of Alister McRae, Kris Meeke, Niall McShea and also Al-Attiyah, with whom he won the 2006 PWRC title – was chosen to become only Solberg’s second co-driver in his long WRC career.
“Chris was the best for me,” said Solberg. “I knew him from before, but that didn't make any difference; I decided from what I saw and felt during the day. He's a good guy, very motivated, honest and calm, he's what I need. I want him to get into that winning feeling as soon as possible.”
The duo will complete a pre-event test in Bulgaria this week to prepare for the first full asphalt event of the season, giving them more time to gel as a team ahead of their debut event together.
“It's not going to be easy,” said Solberg. “It will take some time to settle in with Chris on the first rally, but I'm sure it will be good. Chris has some big shoes to fill.”