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Phil Mills The official blog of Phil Mills, co-driver to Petter Solberg, lead Subaru driver for the Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT)

ABOUT PHIL MILLS

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Old 24 January 2007, 12:21 AM
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Phil Mills is no stranger to success at the highest level, but it was his move to the Subaru World Rally Team in August 2000, along with Petter Solberg, which established the Welshman’s role in one of the most dynamic driver partnerships in the World Rally Championship. After numerous promising results their potential was realised in 2003, when a second consecutive Rally GB victory secured Petter and Phil the Drivers' and Co-Drivers' world championship titles.

Back To Basics
Twenty years before Phil clinched his first world championship, he embarked on his co-driving career from an entirely different perspective: in the lanes around his Welsh home. He competed regularly on road rallies and success wasn’t long in coming. After only one season in the sport he won his first class title in the Welsh Road Rally Championship. Mills competed at club level for the remainder of the 1980s, building his experience on events across the country. Between 1988 and 1990 he found himself increasingly busy – tackling 88 rallies in two years.

Going International
The back end of the 1980s was clearly time well spent, as his international break came in the 1990 British Rally Championship when he co-drove for Graham Middleton in the Group N category. The highlight of the year came on Mills’ home international: the Welsh Rally, where he finished third overall. Mills switched roles for the 1993 RAC Rally, working as co-ordinator for the Malcolm Wilson Motorsport. The Cumbrian firm was running Mohammed Bin Sulayem and it was alongside the multiple Middle East champion that Phil gained his first international victory, on the 1994 Rally of Jordan.

British Championship Success
Despite his co-ordinating work, Phil’s passion was for co-driving. When he joined Mark Higgins at Nissan in 1996, the pair were thrown into one of the most intensely competitive British Rally Championships for a number of years. They finished second in their first season – and then managed fourth overall on the RAC Rally. Twelve months later and the duo were celebrating their first international title as British champions. Phil continued to work at Malcolm Wilson Motorsport – now known as M-Sport – and made his World Rally Championship debut in a World Rally Car alongside Armin Schwarz in Corsica.
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Last edited by ex-webby; 24 January 2007 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 24 January 2007, 12:40 AM
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Phil And Petter A Partnership Is Formed
Phil competed in five WRC events with Higgins during 1998, gaining more vital experience. He would need all that experience when he joined Petter Solberg at Ford in 1999. Mills' wealth of expertise proved a vital boost to the promising – but inexperienced – Norwegian driver, and in their first two years together they achieved a string of excellent results that established Petter as one of the sport’s most promising drivers for many years.

Subaru And WRC Success
In August 2000, in one of the most significant transfer deals in recent seasons, the Mills/Solberg partnership announced that it was leaving Ford to join Subaru. Phil’s steady head has been crucial in calming his exuberant driver and the duo were richly rewarded with a perfectly controlled second place in Greece the following season. Through 2002, Petter and Phil finished on the podium five times, and ended the season with a sensational first WRC victory in Wales – Phil’s home event.

The momentum they picked up through the proceeding years continued into the 2003 season when, in their most successful year of rally driving to date, they scored four outright rally victories, 48 stage wins and seven podium finishes. In a spectacular finale to the WRC series, the pair won Wales Rally GB for a second consecutive time and secured the 2003 WRC Drivers’ and Co-Drivers' titles. In 2004 their success continued, with five outright wins – more than they had previously managed in one season. On gravel they were unbeatable, with an impressive run of victories coming in Japan, Italy and Britain. The 2005 season saw more victories for Phil and Petter, but also disappointment when they were denied near-certain wins in Japan and Australia due to freak circumstances beyond their control. Nonetheless they finished second in the title race. The duo achieved four podiums during 2006 and although a win proved out of their reach, they remain one of the frontrunning crews in the WRC. Phil and Petter also have one of the most long-standing partnerships: 2007 will be their ninth season together, and their seventh full season with the Subaru World Rally Team.

Career Highlights:
2006: Sixth place, World Rally Championship
2005: Second place, World Rally Championship
2004: Second place, World Rally Championship
2003: World Rally Champion with Petter Solberg
2002: Second place, World Rally Championship
2000: Signed to Subaru World Rally Team
1999: Signed to Ford World Rally Team
1997: Winner, British Championship
1996: Second place, British Championship
1993: Winner, Welsh National Championship
1992: Winner, Welsh National Championship
1990: Winner, Group N category, British Championship
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Last edited by ex-webby; 30 January 2007 at 03:58 PM.
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