Three-time World Rally Champion Petter Solberg has told his son Oliver to stay calm and respect his first two days of asphalt rallying at this week’s Rally di Roma.
Solberg Sr knows exactly what’s needed to win on sealed surfaces, having scored one of the World Rally Championship’s most memorable rally victories ever, when he recovered from a massive shakedown crash to win the 2003 Tour de Corse three days later.
Oliver does have experience of asphalt – but only in very short bursts, having dashed from gravel-to-gravel on the way to winning the RallyX Nordic title at the wheel of a DS 3 Supercar in 2018, aged 16.
Asked about his role this week, Petter told DirtFish: “I’m just trying to be a dad! I’m helping with the technical side of the team, Pirelli is taking care of the tires and everything’s good.
“I’ve had a look at the onboards with Oliver, but you know there’s no pressure here – he’s here just to drive and take the experience. It’s all about getting the kilometers and this is a fantastic place to get the experience.
“A lot of the roads are tricky, but also they are fast in places and a lot of the time you can’t see through the corners. There’s a lot of unseen stuff here and that’s why the notes are so important.
“In the first loop of stages Oliver will be fine-tuning the notes and making sure he has everything covered. We’ve already seen two accidents with the gravel coming out in the corners and gravel on the bumps.
“It’s going to be tricky. Oliver has to stay calm and take the experience. For me, I have to stay in service and be the best father possible!”
Oliver added: “It means everything to have him here. He helps so much with lots of different things.
“But for me, I’m not here to win – of course I’m going to try my best, but it’s about me understanding the dry asphalt set-up.
“Let’s see what happens, but it would be nice to make the top-10 on these beautiful roads.”
Solberg posted fourth fastest time at Friday morning’s qualifying stage aboard a PA Racing Volkswagen Polo R5.