Oliver Solberg is considering retiring from the Monte Carlo Rally if his car’s fuel fumes problem – which he says was the main contributing factor in his accident on Saturday morning – cannot be cured in the afternoon.
Solberg’s first event as an official Hyundai Motorsport driver has been torrid. First, he struggled to hear co-driver Elliott Edmondson, then ran into sporadic hybrid and gearbox problems, but his biggest battle has been with fumes infiltrating the cockpit of his i20 N Rally1.
The issue has been a problem for the past two days of the rally and caused Solberg to “lose concentration” on a “medium-speed [corner] that went to a tight right” and plunge down a steep bank on SS10.
“We have a lot of smoke in the car unfortunately and fuel fumes are not the most healthy,” Solberg told DirtFish at Saturday’s remote tire fitting zone.
“Before the stage we were a bit dizzy, both of us [Solberg and Edmondson], and I basically just lost concentration in the middle and got stuck [off the road].
“And then miraculously we got it up. I didn’t think I was going to get out but we got about 25 people to come and they pushed and lifted and dragged and somehow, it’s amazing, we got it out.”
Despite being able to continue on the rally, Solberg is now well over half an hour down on the leader and was unsure if he would continue.
On Friday night Hyundai “tried to seal everything” but the fumes have continued to come into the car, which has caused Solberg and Edmondson some issues.
“This morning my eyes were red and I had to take eye drops,” he said. “Last night I went to bed at 9pm fully knocked out.
“It’s not safe, but we’ll see what we do.
“It’s very early to say but we don’t feel good as a crew so we want to see what happens. If they fix it they fix it, if not we’ll probably retire.”
A Hyundai Motorsport source said: “Oliver is not planning on retiring.”