Solberg would rather be fastest than WRC2 champion

Three podiums and two non-scores leave Solberg third in WRC2 standings, with only two more opportunities to score

Oliver Solberg and Elliott Edmondson

Oliver Solberg’s odds of becoming 2023 WRC2 champion are lengthening, but he says he’d rather be the quickest driver in the category than the champion.

Solberg was leading last weekend’s Rally Estonia before he ran wide on Friday afternoon’s first stage and clipped a rock which damaged his Škoda’s damper and forced him to park up.

It was Solberg’s second low-score of the season as he also finished outside the points in Sardinia when a top mount burst through his Fabia’s hood – again while he was leading.

But Solberg has been the fastest driver in WRC2 this season, winning more stages than any other driver.

That was again the case in Estonia where he won 10 of the 21 stages.

Asked by DirtFish if his overriding feeling was of disappointment for his championship, or of positivity given his pace, Solberg was quick to say: “Obviously it’s more disappointing for the championship.

“But if I’m not fast, I’m not going to win the championship either. So I’d rather to be the fastest, and then just see what happens.”

Oliver Solberg

Solberg accepted that in hindsight he could “probably” have been more conservative and managed his lead better – which stood at 13.5 seconds over Andreas Mikkelsen before he retired – “but that’s life. It’s a small mistake there, and that’s it.”

He added: “The events I’ve taken points on so far this year have been consistent, podium every time and it’s been good.

“And yeah, just now this time there was a rock there and obviously I hit it. It was a strange damage to the car, but obviously that’s the right place at the right time. So that’s how it is.

“I’ve felt good the whole year, to be honest. The car is working quite well, and I’ve been fastest every race this year. So in that sense it’s positive.

“So yeah, always you can improve different events and different techniques and so on, but I think overall speed is not a problem.”