Oliver Solberg says he still has “a lot to learn” on asphalt despite taking a podium on his first competitive sealed-surface outing on last weekend’s Rally di Roma.
The teenager, son of 2003 World Rally Champion Petter, arrived in the Italian capital with limited running on asphalt with his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 and “hoping for a top 10” finish.
Having opted to run first on the road, Solberg initially struggled with a lack of grip on the first stage and then lost his glasses before the second stage.
However, as the event wore on, the Swede worked his way back into contention, eventually securing third place behind Giandomenico Basso and rally winner Alexey Lukyanuk.
“It was fantastic. A really, really cool weekend,” Solberg DirtFish.
“There was a lot to learn, and for sure coming to the first Tarmac event, I didn’t really know what to expect.
“[I] just came into the weekend with low hopes and [I] just [wanted to] see how it went. Then all of a sudden, we were very quick, so it was a fantastic feeling.”
Solberg admitted that he had consulted his father Petter before the weekend, especially on setting up his car for the particularities of driving on asphalt events.
“[I] definitely [learned] a lot about set-up, about how to set up a racing car on Tarmac, and then also how to drive on Tarmac basically. Everything, everything,” Solberg added.
Given the experience advantage on asphalt of many of Solberg’s opponents, the podium was particularly impressive for WRC veteran Petter.
“Everybody’s proud of their kid, but I was a little bit shocked myself this weekend to be absolutely honest with you,” Solberg Sr said.
“The competition is hard, it was 32 R5 cars. But taking this so quickly, I couldn’t believe it.
“Like he said himself, there’s still a lot to learn. But [he made] no mistakes, consistent, no panic, good to take care of the tires.
“He improved a little bit each night with small details, but [I’m] happy.”