Round five of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship takes place at Hell in Norway and it is the home event for Double World RX Champion Petter Solberg, who has revealed a unique inspiration for him to succeed this weekend.
Whilst Solberg is a three time FIA World Champion, he has explained how much of a fan and follower he is of the late Muhammed Ali, who sadly passed away on 3 June.
“Being the fastest and the smartest is what life is all about for me in the FIA World Rallycross Championship.” said Solberg. “It was those traits that Muhammad Ali used throughout his career. But Ali was so much more, he was truly The Greatest. The People’s Champion knew all about his destiny. He wasn’t the biggest, the strongest or the meanest, but he was the fastest and he was definitely the smartest. And what a personality… These are the things I admire the most with Muhammad Ali; those qualities are, in my opinion, crucial to any sports champion.”
The Norwegian driver has also revealed how instrumental the example of Ali was to his first World RX campaign in 2014, which ultimately lead to his first Driver World Championship since his WRC victory in 2003, “Ali versus Foreman in 1974 is certainly one of the greatest battles in sport’s history. Ali was the underdog, Foreman had destroyed his previous opponents and hit harder than anybody at that time. But Ali found the perfect tactic: he backed himself onto the ropes, took the punishment, waited, waited, waited, then came out and ended Foreman. At the start of 2014, I found the tactic too. We watched and read so much about Ali, when we were trying to find the right way forward, it was his inspiration that helped me and my team drive clever and win smart.”
However, in his fight for the World RX Drivers title with EKSRX’s Mattias Ekstrom, Solberg is well aware of what needs to be done, “Ekstrom is the man right now and he’s got us all on the ropes. Now we have to be smart, we have to find the time. To be honest: I truly love this intense fight between us. The 2016 FIA World RX Championship title will, for sure, be one for the memory books – whoever wears the crown at the end of the year. In this battle there’s just no room for mistakes. Every single day one must look for development of both the car and driver capability.”