Why Solberg isn’t doing Rally Croatia

Solberg's program will be busier in the second half of the year with the new i20 N Rally2


Star of the last round of the World Rally Championship, Hyundai Motorsport driver Oliver Solberg, will sit out round three in Croatia later this month.

The 19-year-old hit the headlines with a superb i20 Coupe WRC debut at February’s Arctic Rally Finland, finishing seventh after fighting with Sébastien Ogier in Lapland. But there’s no entry for him in Zagreb.

Solberg’s plans for 2021 are centered on WRC2, meaning his program was always likely to be weighted towards the second half of the season when the i20 N Rally2 is available.

You know me, I don’t ever want to step out of a rally car – I want to live in there! Oliver Solberg

Solberg, who is driving a Hyundai i20 R5 in Sanremo this weekend, told DirtFish: “It’s not part of the plan to go to Croatia. The team [Hyundai Motorsport] is making the plan and Andrea [Adamo, team principal] and Alain [Penasse, team manager] are the best people to know what they want me to do.

“You know me, I don’t ever want to step out of a rally car – I want to live in there! So, of course, I would love to do every rally. But I’m really happy to be in Sanremo this weekend and then we see what’s coming next.

“One thing is sure, I will be supporting Andrea, Ott [Tänak], Thierry [Neuville] and Craig [Breen] all the way [in Croatia].”


Photo: M-Sport

Elsewhere on the Croatian entry list, Teemu Suninen has been confirmed in a Ford Fiesta Rally2 for the first time this season – with the car featuring a revised cooling package – and there’s a pair of Fiesta WRCs for privateer drivers Armando Pereira and Niko Pulic.

Another interesting entry comes further down with Austrian Enrico Windisch running an Audi A1 under Rally2 kit regulations.

Of the 68 received entries, 12 are World Rally Cars. There are seven WRC2 entries – including Mads Østberg (Citroën C3 Rally2) and Tom Kristensson (Fiesta Rally2) for the first time but neither of Solberg’s Hyundai team-mates Jari Huttunen nor Ole Christian Veiby – and 15 WRC3 starters featuring former Toyota junior driver Hiroki Arai. The son of former works Subaru driver Toshi will drive a Fiesta Rally2.

Eight crews make the start of this year’s Junior WRC opener in Croatia.

Rally Croatia, the nation’s first ever WRC round, runs from April 22-25.

Kalle Rovanperä’s Toyota Yaris WRC will be the first into the stages on Friday as the current championship leader.