Henning Solberg - Ford
Date of birth: 09/01/1973
Team: Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team
Co-driver: Cato Menkerud
World Titles: None
WRC debut: Sweden 1998
WRC wins: 0
WRC points at end of 2007: 81
First WRC win: n/a
2007: 6th in WCD, just behind Petter!
2006: Eighth in drivers’ points. Third in Turkey, his first podium result.
2005: Fourth place in Cyprus in a privateer Ford
2004: First WRC points in Sweden in a private Peugeot
Henning Solberg, the older brother of 2003 title winner, Petter, has been a regular fixture on the World Rally Championship over the past few years, although he’s never experienced the success that his two-years-younger sibling has tasted. That shouldn’t detract from Henning’s obvious talents, though. He’s rapidly proved to be a solid points contender, and looks set to enhance that reputation with Ford this year.
Like so many other Scandinavians, Henning Solberg is a gravel specialist, although he was brought up in rallycross, rather than forest rallying. After switching to rallying full-time in the mid-1990s, he quickly became one of the top national drivers. Between 1999 and 2003, he was the Norwegian champion five times in a row. He started competing on the international scene in 1998 and after selected outings in a Ford Escort WRC and Toyota Corolla WRC, he joined Bozian Racing’s privateer Peugeot team for 2004. That ensured a step up to a semi-works Ford run by factory outfit M-Sport for 2005.
In 2006, Henning joined the OMV-Peugeot Norway World Rally Team to contest the majority of the WRC rounds. He achieved solid performances aboard the Peugeot 307 and also scored his first WRC podium in Turkey. Last season allowed fans to familiarise themselves with one of the sport’s most charismatic stars. Henning’s flamboyance at the stage ends has become something of a trademark for the Norwegian and his crowd-pleasing antics during superspecial stages have made him one of the most all-around likeable drivers in the championship.