Solberg makes late co-driver swap for World Rally Car debut

Seb Marshall will co-drive for Solberg this weekend after Aaron Johnston tested positive for COVID-19

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Oliver Solberg’s co-driver Aaron Johnston will not compete on this week’s Arctic Rally Finland after testing positive for COVID-19.

Seb Marshall will take the Northern Irishman’s place aboard the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Solberg and the rest of the 2C Compétition team have received negative tests and have been cleared to compete on the Rovaniemi-based event.

Marshall is well acquainted with the inside of a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, having competed alongside Hayden Paddon for the Korean firm. The Englishman’s last ride alongside the Kiwi netted him second place at the 2018 Rally Australia.

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Starting his first-ever WRC round in a World Rally Car without his regular co-driver isn’t ideal for the 19-year-old Solberg, but he said his priority remains the same for the Lapland event.

“I am here in Finland for the experience of driving the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC,” he told DirtFish. “Of course I wanted Aaron with me, but this is the world we’re living in with this pandemic right now. I’m sorry for him but [I’m] very thankful to Seb for flying out to do the event with me.”

Solberg’s first taste of the i20 Coupe WRC came when he completed a day of testing in the Arctic Circle last week. Johnston was also absent from that test due to a canceled flight, with Ott Tänak’s co-driver Martin Järveoja stepping in to replace him.