Oliver Solberg will be back aboard a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for next month’s Rally Spain.
The event will mark the 19-year-old’s World Rally Championship debut in an asphalt-specification World Rally Car. He has driven the i20 Coupe WRC on asphalt before, winning Rally di Alba in June (pictured above).
Solberg said: “It’s fantastic to be back in a WRC car.
“When I drove the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in Alba earlier this year, the experience was just amazing. For sure I’m really, really looking forward to it. It’ll be an awesome challenge.”
The days are numbered for the current homologation cycle of World Rally Cars – the fastest rally cars ever made – and Solberg is delighted to be behind the wheel of one again.
“Like we know, this generation of cars is nearly at an end, this will be one of the last races with these cars – so it’s a real privilege to be in it and competing again,” he said.
“I know I talk a lot about my dreams and having them come true, but this is the same – it’s another dream come true and I have to say a big thank you to Andrea [Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport team principal] and the team.
“And to be going in the car to Spain is really special as well. There’s something so spectacular about the stages there and, of course, we all know about the huge numbers of fans. To go to Catalunya with the proper, proper car will be something very special.”
Adamo said seeing Solberg on world championship asphalt was the next stage of his development.
His target is to finish the rally and we agreed for any stage that he misses, he will spend one week working as a mechanic in Hyundai MotorsportAndrea Adamo
“Of course, as part of the career-building process of Oliver, it’s important to let him get more kilometers on Tarmac with the WRC car,” said Adamo.
“In Spain, being most probably one of the races that will stay [on the calendar] in the future, it’s the best opportunity for him. After some reflections to run in the WRC and in the WRC car, I’m happy to see [this].”
Adamo said he wanted to see Solberg at the end of every stage from October 14-17, and there’s an ultimatum if he doesn’t.
He continued: “His target is to finish the rally and we agreed for any stage that he will miss, he will spend one week working as a mechanic in Hyundai Motorsport!”
Solberg’s speed on his World Rally Car debut at February’s Arctic Rally Finland was one of the talking points of the early season. His early exit from Safari Rally Kenya on his second shot in an i20 Coupe WRC was less so.
Prior to Spain’s WRC round, Solberg will drive a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 at Rally Finland.
DirtFish understands he will be run by 2C Competition in Spain.