Big world chance for ERC1 Junior champion Solberg
FIA ERC1 Junior champion Oliver Solberg will step up to a Hyundai World Rally Car on the Arctic Rally Finland later this month.
The 19-year-old Swede, who also finished runner-up in the 2020 FIA European Rally Championship standings to Alexey Lukyanuk, has been handed his latest career progression opportunity by Hyundai Motorsport head Andrea Adamo.
“We are keen to see his performance level but there is no pressure on his shoulders [on his World Rally Car debut],” Adamo explained. “It is more of a test than anything else; he has to acclimatise and get acquainted with the high-speed nature of the car in these wintry conditions. We hope to see him at the end of the Power Stage with lots of enjoyment and happiness – that’s the main target.”
Solberg, whose two outright ERC wins came on Rally Liepāja in 2019 and again last season, said: “The first thing is to say a very big thank you to Hyundai Motorsport for giving me this opportunity to gain experience and for putting their trust in me to drive this rally in the i20 Coupe World Rally Car. This really is a dream to be making my debut in a World Rally Car with the reigning [champion manufacturer].”
Solberg and co-driver Aaron Johnston will drive for 2C Compétition, which is also running former ERC driver Pierre-Louis Loubet in the World Rally Championship.
Craig Breen, who has claimed five European championship event victories in the past and was a stage winner for Team MRF Tyres in the ERC last season, will drive for the factory Hyundai squad on the Rovaniemi-based event alongside Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak.
Arctic Rally Finland is scheduled to take place from February 26-28.
Photo: Hyundai Motorsport