Oliver Solberg has been forced to withdraw his entry for next week’s Rally Italia Sardegna after coming into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.
The contact was his father, Petter Solberg – the 2003 World Rally Champion, but the FIA’s Appendix S Covid-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.
Oliver has tested negative numerous times since Monday, but will have to remain in quarantine for fourteen days in a Porto hotel.
The event was to be only his second appearance in the top tier of the World Rally Championship, after making his debut in a Hyundai i20 WRC earlier this year on the Arctic Rally Finland.
“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” said Solberg.
“But you know, we have seen in the last year what coronavirus can do. My papa is doing well with a small fever and I’m thinking to him right now. It’s really hard to take now, but the time for my next rally in that amazing Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC will come. We have these rules and regulations for a reason and that reason is to try to stop this thing spreading.”
He added, “My family accepts completely what the FIA, the rally organisers, the national governments and medical professionals are telling us. The most important thing is that we keep people safe.”
Further to this the FIA has also confirmed that the team running his entry on Rally de Portugal, RedGrey Team, would all have to isolate as well. In a statement the FIA said, “The FIA can confirm that a member of the RedGrey Team has tested positive for Covid-19 following Vodafone Rally de Portugal, round four of the FIA World Rally Championship.
“After having undertaken a trace initiative, the Portuguese Health Authorities have decided to issue an isolation notice to all members of the RedGrey team attending Vodafone Rally de Portugal, effective until 4 June.”