The Solbergs are known for putting on a show, it’s what they do. But next weekend’s Royal Rally of Scandinavia scales new heights, even for a family with as eclectic a history as theirs.
Oliver Solberg’s taking a break from his World Rally Championship program to tackle his first (and probably only) European Rally Championship event of the year – that’s cool.
And he’s doing it in the same Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 he became the ERC’s youngest-ever winner in (at 17 years old) – that’s extra cool.
But what’s extra, extra cool is what his mom, dad and uncle are getting up to.
Officially, Oliver is the only Solberg to appear on the entry list. However he’s far from the only Solberg in town.
While dad Petter and mom Pernilla spend most of their weekends following Oliver testing his mettle all around the world, next weekend’s it’s their time to zip up the race suits too.
Petter will drive his own Citroën C4 WRC which he used in the 2010 WRC, Pernilla will be reunited with the Group N Mitsubishi she competed in 23 years ago while Oliver’s uncle – and Petter’s brother – Henning will pilot Petter’s Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD.
But it gets better.
Pernilla will be joined in the car by Ulrika Mattsson – who sat with her in period – while Petter will drive with his 72-year-old mother, Tove, alongside!
“What can I say? It’s going to be a very special week for us,” Petter said.
“For me, it’s very cool that I get to drive my mother in a rally car. Like you know, she’s an amazing driver herself – she won so many Norwegian Autocross titles.
“She’s 72 and I’m sure she’s going to be giving me some advice when we take the startline.”
Pernilla is similarly excited.
“For Ulrika and I it will be incredible to start a stage together again after such a long time. We had some amazing times together and for one weekend it’s going to be special to share some time and those memories.
“It’s also going to be quite strange to drive these roads in the summer. Places like the Vargåsen stage will be very different – coming into Colin’s Crest with no snow and everybody wearing T-shirts and shorts will be weird.
“But it’s going to be huge fun.”
This event is about special memories for everybody, my momma, pappa and uncle Henning and I have my own for the PoloOliver Solberg
Oliver aims to have huge fun too, but he also has a job to do.
“The European championship is really strong this year,” he said.
“When you have guys like Hayden [Paddon] and Mads [Østberg] the fight is always going to be a big one. I like that.
“I’m going to enjoy the weekend – and take some nice seat time on some fast gravel roads which will be useful with Rally Estonia coming up.
“[But] it’s nice to be back driving the Polo again,” Oliver added.
“I didn’t use this car much for the last three years, but the last time I was in it I won a rally in Wales at the end of last season.
“This event is about special memories for everybody, my momma, pappa and uncle Henning and I have my own special memories for the Polo.”
While Oliver will tackle 16 stages across the Friday-Saturday event, the rest of the family will be in demo action on Friday’s Ängebäckstorp stage and then the Collins stage, featuring Colin’s Crest, on Saturday.
I know where I’ll be watching…