an enthralling day watching the Wales Rally GB yesterday. Many years
ago the WRC was my bread and butter - I reported on the entire series
for several seasons, happily racking up around 153 air miles on Z-class
economy tickets as I followed McRae, Burns, Sainz and Gronholm to places
like Kenya, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. I’m almost ashamed to
admit that I hadn’t been to an event in more than three years before
last weekend

Still, lots of the usual suspects were there - including Petter Solberg, whose
arrival on the scene, jump to prominence and world championship victory
all occurred during my spell of WRC reporting. He’s a privateer these
days, having lost his manufacturer gig when Subaru withdrew two years
ago. And yet as we spoke, during remote servicing at Builth Wells on
Saturday afternoon, Petter was in the middle of a dogged scrap with
seven-times champion Sebastien Loeb for the lead of the event.

hard, being a privateer but fighting with the manufacturer team,” he
said. “Seb can go flat out everywhere; he doesn’t have to worry about
anything. Me? I’m thinking sometimes about how many suspension rebuilds
we have to do, or how many parts we have left. It’s not a big issue, but
at times it’s like one per cent. And that can make the difference.”