Thu 13 Jun 2024

Solbergs all set for father-versus-son ERC glory battle in own backyard

Two members of one of rallying’s most famous dynasties will face off for FIA European Rally Championship glory in Sweden this week (13 - 15 June) in the ultimate father-versus-son battle.

Petter Solberg, the winner of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2003, is taking on his hugely talented son Oliver over BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia’s fast-paced gravel stages located a short distance from the family home.  

Solberg Jr, 22, won the first running of BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia in 2023 and is a frontrunner in the WRC2 category behind the wheel of a Pirelli-equipped Škoda Fabia RS Rally2. His father Petter, 49, hasn’t rallied at international level since 2019 but the Norwegian remains one of the sport’s greatest performers.

“This will be something really fun for us,” said Solberg Sr, who will be at the wheel of the same Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 his son used to win in Karlstad last July. “We did it before, when we were competing on Rally GB in 2019. But I just go to enjoy it and have some fun.   “It’s so nice for the fans and for our families to come and watch this one. It’s so close to our home and Oliver was the one really pushing me to do it. The Polo was just sitting there – the car was also telling me to do it. The car hasn’t changed at all since Oliver used it to win last year. It’s just been sitting there for the last 12 months.”  

With three ERC victories and the Rally2-based Junior ERC title from 2020 to his name, Oliver Solberg is a favourite to challenge for the outright win – and the family bragging rights.

“I can’t wait,” the Swede said. “We’re talking a lot about this battle, who is going to win between my father and me and all of that is very nice – but the main thing is that I’m just super-happy to be out there racing against him again. There’s something very special to be at a stage start and for us to be pulling on our crash helmets and driving gloves.”  

The Safedrive-backed Solbergs are among 23 drivers competing in a top-of-the-range Rally2 car on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia. Solberg Jr expects the competition to be intense. “The competition will be tough, there’s some very fast drivers in the ERC. I won last year, it would be nice to do the same this time. And, of course, it would be nice to beat Pappa.”  

Defending ERC champion Hayden Paddon tops the entry aboard his Pirelli-shod Hyundai i20 N Rally2 followed by 2022 title winner Efrén Llarena, who pilots a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 for Team MRF Tyres. Michelin’s current championship leader, Mathieu Franceschi, Hungary winner Simone Tempestini, double Polish champion Miko Marczyk, Latvia’s Mārtiṇš Sesks, Finn Mikko Heikkilä and Norwegians Eyvind Brynildsen, Frank Tore Larsen and Mads Østberg will also be among the contenders for victory. Johan Kristoffersson, a multiple World Rallycross title winner, will also be in action.  

How to watch?
Fans across the globe can experience the excitement and drama of the ERC with every stage of every rally broadcast platform. In addition, the ERC is broadcast in a number of countries around the world and fans are advised to check local listings for details.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM