Oliver Solberg to make top class WRC debut at Arctic Rally Finland

Oliver Solberg will step up to the premier class in the World Rally Championship with Hyundai at Arctic Rally Finland

Oliver Solberg to make top class WRC debut at Arctic Rally Finland

The drive is seen by Hyundai as part of the "ongoing learning curve" for the promising 19-year-old, with Solberg sharing the i20 Coupe WRC with Aaron Johnston which will be serviced by French team 2C Competition.

However, team principal Andrea Adamo is keen for Solberg to work closely with Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville, as well as Irishman Craig Breen, who will make the first of several planed appearances during 2021 at the Arctic event.

"We are keen to see his performance level, of course, but there is no pressure on his shoulders in his debut WRC event," explained Adamo. "He has to enjoy the rally and take all the experience possible.

"It will be his first time at the top level of world rallying but it is more of a test than anything else; he has to acclimatise and get acquainted with the high-speed nature of the car in these wintry conditions.

"We hope to see him at the arrival, the end of the Power Stage, with lots of enjoyment and happiness - that's the main target," added Adamo, who will be hoping for a better overall performance at the event following his public criticism of the team and lead drivers after last month's Rallye Monte Carlo.

Many had expected Solberg - the son of 2003 World Rally Champion Petter - to continue his Rally2 programme with Hyundai that was announced last December. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the class, with consecutive victories on Rally Liepaja in 2019 and 2020 his biggest achievement to date.

Solberg and Johnston go to the second round of the World Rally Championship in good shape having finished January's Arctic Lapland Rally in third place. The roads that featured will be similar to the ones that make up the route of the Arctic Finland Rally - but the young Swede is keen to temper expectations.

"The first thing is for me to say a very big thank you to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this opportunity to gain experience and for putting their trust in me to drive this rally in the i20 Coupe WRC. I'm counting down the minutes until I get to sit in this fantastic car for the first time," he said.

"This really is a dream to be making my debut in a World Rally Car with the reigning manufacturers' champions.

"I have driven quite a lot on the snow, and I know this type of condition quite well, but the car is completely new for me. The only target for me in Lapland is to learn and take the experience. I want to come out of every stage understanding the i20 Coupe WRC more than when I started it."

shares
comments
Evans: Motorsport UK has real fight to get WRC Rally GB back
Previous article

Evans: Motorsport UK has real fight to get WRC Rally GB back

Next article

Rovanpera targeting WRC Arctic Rally Finland victory bid

Rovanpera targeting WRC Arctic Rally Finland victory bid
How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master Plus

How fired-up Ogier became the WRC's ultimate Monte master

He may only be contesting a part-time campaign in the World Rally Championship these days, but Sebastien Ogier underlined that he's lost none of his speed in the 2023 season opener. Storming to yet another victory on the Monte Carlo Rally, the eight-time world champion rewrote the history books again as Toyota served notice of its intentions with a crushing 1-2

WRC
Jan 23, 2023
How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling Plus

How Lancia pulled off its famous Monte Carlo giantkilling

Audi should have been invincible in the snowy conditions that typically greeted the World Rally Championship paddock in Monte Carlo. But unexpectedly warm weather for the 1983 season opener, combined with some left-field thinking from the Lancia crew turned the tables. Forty years on, team boss Cesare Fiorio reflects on a smash and grab

WRC
Jan 21, 2023
Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion Plus

Why M-Sport has pinned all its efforts on a WRC reunion

M-Sport had a disastrous 2022 with its Rally1 Ford Pumas following Sebastien Loeb’s first-time-out win on the Monte. But now things are looking up with 2019 world champion Ott Tanak leading its attack, and the Cumbrian operation has optimism that it can challenge for a first title since Sebastien Ogier's departure at the end of 2018

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown Plus

The contenders seeking to take Rovanpera's WRC crown

As Kalle Rovanpera begins his World Rally Championship title defence in Monte Carlo, the Finn knows he has a target on his back. But who is best placed to knock the Toyota ace off his perch?

WRC
Jan 19, 2023
Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title Plus

Why Rovanpera is anticipating a fight to defend his WRC title

Question: what could be harder than becoming the youngest-ever World Rally champion? Answer: becoming the youngest-ever two-time World Rally champion. That's quite the challenge facing Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera in 2022, particularly against rejuvenated opposition in the second year of the WRC's hybrid regulations

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing Plus

From F1 to WRC: Why Hyundai's new boss could be an inspired signing

OPINION: New Hyundai WRC team boss Cyril Abiteboul admits he’s got a lot to learn as he leads the marque's efforts to dethrone Toyota. But could his Formula 1 experience and evident strengths mean he turns out to be an inspired choice?

WRC
Jan 18, 2023
The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed Plus

The ultimate rally car project the WRC is glad COVID killed

Toyota was unstoppable in the 2021 World Rally Championship, with an excellent 75% strike rate from 12 rallies. But in a scary proposition for its rivals, the Japanese marque had built a car for the final year of the previous regulations set which it believes was much faster and could feasibly have crushed the opposition completely. Here the story of its mothballed world-beater

WRC
Jan 1, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022