Posted Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 9:43pm
Tommi Mäkinen hadn’t seen this one coming. He should have. But he didn’t.
There he was, trying not to get his nice gold boots dirty in a very wet, very Welsh field, when a near delirious Norwegian landed in his arms. And stayed there.
That was one very special Sunday for Subaru. Even more so for Petter Solberg. The 28-year-old from Spydeberg was world rally champion.
His life had already evolved quite considerably from racing a Volkswagen Beetle around a field. But now everything was about to go a bit bananas.
Prior to winning the 2003 championship, Solberg was already one of the most popular figures in the history of the sport. Standing on top of the world, that recognition, appreciation and appeal only went one way: stratospheric.
Solberg’s driving won him the first of three FIA world titles (a pair of FIA World Rallycross crowns would follow), but it was his own appreciation of the sport and the people around the sport that marked him out as one of the most charismatic and valued drivers.