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Practice shots from Gymkhana Grid 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Oliver’s American Dream Is a Go

Mar 262019

The other week, the wunderkind Oliver Solberg, son of legendary driver Petter Solberg, and his co-driver Aaron Johnston began their Subaru team’s 2019 campaign. On March 15-16 at the Missouri’s Rally in the 100 Acre Wood, the young Swede’s drove for Subaru Motorsports USA for the first time, competed in a four-wheel drive car, tackled an American Rally Association (ARA) round and, of course, started his first event outside of Europe. 

Remarkably enough, he ended up finishing second. 

““I just want to get on with it now,” he said. “Honestly, I have been waiting – and dreaming – about this for so long. Now it’s nearly here and I can’t wait.” - Oliver Solberg”

Let’s rewind though. Prior to the event, we sat down with Oliver get his thoughts on what would become this life defining race and the unique opportunity it presented. In retrospect, knowing the result, it presents quite an interesting read. 

“I just want to get on with it now,” he said. “Honestly, I have been waiting – and dreaming – about this for so long. Now it’s nearly here and I can’t wait.”


Co-driven by Northern Irishman Aaron Johnston, Oliver’s maiden outing in a Subaru came, as mentioned, on the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri – the first of six all gravel ARA outings this season. 


“I don’t know so much about the rally itself,” said Oliver. “I’ve spoken to David [Higgins, team-mate] about it and he’s given me some advice, but otherwise I’ve just been watching as many on-boards from this rally as I can get my hands on. 


“There’s so much new stuff coming my way. The biggest thing will be the WRX STI: it’s quite different to the rally cars I’ve driven before, it’s bigger, more powerful and it’s got a fair bit more aero.”


“I’ll be really happy to get in the car and get a feeling for how it works,” he said. “I think it could be quite different to the R5 car I’ve been driving in Europe.”

The ‘Solberg back to Subaru’ story is one that has captured the rallying public’s imagination right around the world and Oliver certainly did his part writing the first chapter of the second book.


“I’m so excited,” he said. “The emotion is incredible, I knew it would be strong when I came to the car and looked at the overalls and things, but it really has been – and it’s the same for my parents. Dad won the world championship with a Subaru in 2003 and now I’m starting on a journey in the same company. It’s fantastic.”


We also exchanged a few words with the patriarch of the family, Petter, before his son went to Missouri. 


“Pernilla and I are so proud of Oliver and what he’s achieved already,” said the 2003 World Rally Champion. “And what’s even more impressive is that Oliver is doing all of these deals and all of this work himself. He drove this whole Subaru Motorsports USA thing from the start.


“Like Oliver said, I think there will be some real emotion for us all when he comes to get in the car for the first time. It’s incredible how this story comes full circle.”


Huge congratulations to Oliver and good luck on the remaining stops on the circuit.