Oliver Solberg will make his World Rally Championship debut at Arctic Rally Finland later this month, piloting a Hyundai i20 Couple WRC.
Solberg, son of 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, was confirmed as a Hyundai WRC 2 driver for 2021, but the manufacturer has taken the decision to promote him to the top class for WRC’s second round.
He will be joined by co-driver Aaron Johnston, taking to the snow-covered Finnish roads which the pair have some previous experience on, having competed in last month’s Finnish Rally Championship round where they finished third overall in a Hyundai i20 R5.
The pair will be able to benchmark their performance level against Hyundai Motorsport’s established crews Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja, Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe and Craig Breen/Paul Nagle. However, the primary objective will be on getting mileage under their belt ahead of a WRC 2 debut later in the season.
“The first thing is for me 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 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC,” commented the 19-year-old.
“I’m counting down the minutes until I get to sit in this fantastic car for the first time. This really is a dream to be making my debut in a World Rally Car with the reigning manufacturers’ champions!
“I have driven quite a lot on the snow, and I know this type of condition quite well, but the car is completely new for me. The only target for me in Lapland is to learn and take the experience. I want to come out of every stage understanding the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC more than when I started it.”
Team Principal Andrea Adamo added: “We are very happy that Oliver has the opportunity to drive the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in Arctic Rally Finland. We are keen to see his performance level, of course, but there is no pressure on his shoulders in his debut WRC event. He has to enjoy the rally and take all the experience possible.
“It will be his first time at the top level of world rallying but 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 arrival, the end of the Power Stage, with lots of enjoyment and happiness – that’s the main target.”