Tuesday, June 9, 2009

World Rally Car Driver Helps Rescue Boaters in Norway Poker Run

On land or sea, racers are a special breed, and that was proven again last weekend when World Rally star Petter Solberg helped save the lives of two powerboat racers while participating in last weekend’s Poker Run Powerboat Festival in Norway. Solberg was entered in the event on behalf of his boat-building sponsor Johs Lunde, when another boat flipped and rolled over right behind him.

The 2003 World Rally Champion described the crash as pretty frightening: “I saw the crash in the mirror and knew it was serious straight away,” Solberg said. “The boat had turned over and was effectively on its roof. I turned around and went back flat-out, I was first on the scene. Some people were out of the boat already, but there were two more trapped. My co-driver jumped in the water to help and I followed. It was a really bad situation.”

The driver and throttleman, who had been secured in the in the upturned boat by their seat belts, were assisted by Solberg, his co-driver and others who arrived on the scene immediately. Three of five people involved in the crash were hospitalized, but all are expected to recover.

“All that matters is those guys are going to be OK," said the racer. "It was the most frightening thing I have ever seen. I’ve seen accidents on rallies, but when you arrive and a five-ton boat is upside down with people still in it, it’s terrible. The water was just so cold. I was in the overalls and the boots and everything, and after some time in the water I just couldn’t feel anything. I came close to fainting, it was really bad. But, like I say, they’re going to be OK and that’s all we all care about.”


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