DirtFish Rally School hosted Solberg World Cup winner Robin Jonsson and the Solberg family for a super Seattle Saturday last weekend.
Involved in the Solberg World Cup from the outset in 2020, DirtFish provided the expenses-paid trip for the winner, Robin. The Swede defeated nearly 17,000 fellow Solberg World Cup competitors – including Oliver and Petter Solberg – to land the trip of a lifetime to the Pacific Northwest and the world’s best rally school.
An early classroom session with lead instructor Mitch Williams was followed by a full day at the wheel of a DirtFish Subaru WRX STI.
Predictably, Robin learned plenty and loved every minute.
“What a day!” said Robin, the number one rally gamer. “This has just been amazing – so much more than I expected. To be here with all of the Solberg family and to have Oliver teaching me and helping me to get quicker with the Subaru was so, so cool.
“And I learned a lot. Like you can imagine, I had some idea of driving from the sim racing and gaming, but suddenly it was a lot more real when we started the car and drove out onto the DirtFish stage.
“At times, it was hard to imagine this was happening: I was full sideways in a Subaru rally car with Oliver Solberg next to me telling to go faster! It was fantastic. For sure, it’s a day I will never ever forget.
“As well as Oliver, to have Petter and Pernilla with us was so cool. Petter was competing in the [Solberg] World Cup as well and he drove really well. But the best thing for me was just to be with the family and listen to their advice and their amazing stories!
“Coming to DirtFish was a little bit crazy as well. I’m one of the millions of people around the world who have driven around this famous place – looking at the chimney and the famous building. To be there in real time was amazing. Everything I learned on Saturday made me even more determined to make my way into rallying. I love gaming, but rallying is my whole life and to compete is my next ambition.”
Robin’s skills impressed Oliver more and more as the day progressed.
“He drove really, really well,” said Oliver. “We knew he understood the concept of driving – you don’t get to be one of the world’s best gamers without understanding how to handle a car. But, like we all know, it’s different in the car. For starters, there’s no reset button! But we didn’t need one all day.
“From the first time he sat in the car and started, I felt confident that Robin was a good driver. He made fantastic progress through the day and I was really happy to help him. I was also really happy to have my wingman – DirtFish [lead] instructor Mitch Williams helping me to teach Robin. Mitch was a super-cool guy and, like everybody at DirtFish, he was fantastic at teaching how to drive a rally car.
“We started the day in the classroom and I was so impressed with how much Robin was taught before we even got in the car.
“I had so much fun in this day, so much fun driving the car. It was great!
“I must say, this was a fantastic day. The weather was stunning, DirtFish and the Snoqualmie area was absolutely beautiful and I loved spending time with these guys. I can’t wait to come back again!”
Tracking Robin’s progress throughout the one-day course, Mitch was similarly impressed.
Mitch said: “Robin was very, very good. He’s one of the world’s best gamers – if not the world’s best – so he was always going to have a clear idea of how to handle a car and he started from a fairly good level.
“His immediate progress, his willingness to listen and learn throughout the day was exceptional. And the same for Oliver. In fact, working with the whole Solberg family was incredible. The attention to detail, the respect they showed for our structure and process, everything – it’s no surprise these guys are world champions!
“For me, it was an absolute privilege to work with Robin and the Solberg family. I think we all had a day we won’t forget in a long time.”
Those sentiments were echoed by 2003 world champion Petter, who added: “DirtFish Rally School is a special place – the best place in the world to learn our sport. They have great cars, amazing roads and fantastic mountains and views.
“But, the most important thing about DirtFish is the people. Working with Steve [Rimmer, DirtFish owner], Mitch [Williams, lead instructor], Nate [Tennis, chief instructor], Josh [Sikora, photographer], Brian [Dallas, marketing] and, of course, Josie [Rimmer, head of strategy] was super-cool. These guys are amazing. Like Oliver said, we will be back. In fact, me and Pernilla were talking and we think we might move here!”
The Solbergs will always be welcome in Seattle, according to DirtFish owner Steve Rimmer.
“When we first discussed the Solberg World Cup, we knew this was something we wanted to be involved with,” said Steve. “Firstly, it’s the Solbergs and who wouldn’t want to be involved with this amazing family. And secondly, helping people graduate from gaming to real-time rallying is a big part of our business.
“Congratulations to Robin, his progress through the day was remarkable – and testament the work the whole team here at DirtFish put in.”