Solberg event winner crowned as puncture slows organizer

Final-stage drama denies Oliver Solberg a top-10 finish in 4500-strong field


A penultimate-stage puncture cost Oliver Solberg the chance of a top-10 result on The Solberg RACE virtual event in Argentina this week.

The 18-year-old brought rallying gamers together from across the world in an event that turned out to be more popular than Solberg said he could have dreamed of.

Australian Jarod Pesch won the event by 6.081 seconds from Frenchman Jonathan Schaeffer, with Finn Marko Räisänen third. Jon Armstrong, the 2018 Esports World Raly Championship winner, was fifth.

“This has been crazy popular,” said Solberg, the son of 2003 World Rally Champion Petter. “When I started to plan this I was thinking, ‘It would be really cool if we could get close to 1000 people doing it’. But you know, 1000 people is a lot.

“In the end we had nearly 4500 people competing and that’s really a lot of people! I want to say a massive thanks to everybody for having a go and making this a great event.”

Solberg was running seventh in his Volkswagen Polo R5 when he suffered the puncture, which dropped him to 18th place at the finish.

“The competition was so close,” he said. “Those guys at the top were just amazing.

“Their speed was something else and I have to take off my hat to them. I have to work on this. I know what I am doing to try to make [stage] records, but I don’t know where they find this speed. I was very impressed, but now I need more recce before next time.”

Next time? Solberg is looking at another event in the near future.

“Why not do this again?” he said. “The reason we are doing this is to take people’s minds from what’s going on [the coronavirus outbreak] – to give them a distraction and something to be happy about. For that week, I think we did that and, if we can do it again, why not?

“We have some more news coming next week.”

Stay tuned to DirtFish for the latest from The Solberg RACE.