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Images of Oliver Solberg competing in the 2019 New England Forest Rally

Super Solberg weekender: New England Forest Vs Norges Råeste Bakkeløp

Jul 222019

While one Solberg was crushing hillclimb records in Norway, the other was dominating forest rally stages in the USA. And despite there being thousands of miles between them, the Father-Son Solberg duo were still competing with each other.

At the start of the weekend, three-time FIA World Champion Petter had made Oliver a bet that he would beat his son’s time set during the 2018 edition of Norway’s most famous hillclimb. By the end of the day, the record had tumbled, and Solberg Senior had won the bet. In fact his time of 1m37.99s will take some beating after Petter used his Volkswagen Motorsport’s Polo R Supercar to full effect and and tore up the 3.75km course.

Meanwhile Oliver was dominating the timesheets of the latest round of the American Rally Association Series - by winning 10 of the 13 forest stages. Cruelly, only a a puncture and a delaminated tyre on the other two stages of the New England Forest event cost the 17-year old and co-driver Denis Giraudet more than 10 minutes - leaving them fifth overall.

“The last three weeks has been a bit of a dream,” said Oliver. “Goodwood is something I will not forget for a very long time – so many heroes and such a fantastic moment to race against my Dad. And Estonia was the same, just unbelievable – to go there and win the R5 class by a minute and a half was something very special for me. OK, New England didn’t give us the result we wanted. But these roads are so fantastic, so wide, so fast and it’s an amazing place to drive an amazing car. I don’t forget this one. Congratulations to David [Higgins] and Craig [Drew] for their win.”

“It’s been a bit strange not having my father here with me, he’s been in Norway trying to beat my record at Norges Råeste Bakkeløp. My Mum [Pernilla] was telling me between stages how he was getting on – it’s been a really cool time over there for him. He’s set a really good record and definitely he’s given me something to go back there and fight for. But, don’t forget, he had a faster car than me!”

Petter added: “I’m incredibly proud of Oliver for his performance in New England. It’s always tough to accept when a mechanical issue prevents you from a good result. Even so Oliver will need to wake up earlier each morning if he’s going to win this hillclimb record back! This was a fantastic event and it’s the sort of thing I began my career competing in. That’s why I wanted to bring back some people who helped me race when I was starting out in the 1990s. This was a really nice reunion with the mechanics and guys.


“I brought back my Volvo 240. My family and me, we built this car ourselves, completely. I’m still so proud of it – and it’s still one incredible machine. In 1995 I won 19 out of 21 Norwegian rallycross races in that car and it still gave me a real buzz to drive it in the gymkhana event on Wednesday. I didn’t drive that car for 20 years, it’s still on the same tyres it was the last time I drove it and we won!”


It won’t be long until Petter and Oliver get an opportunity for a face to face race though. Gymkhana GRiD 2019 is only around the corner (September 7), and both drivers will be competing in the all-wheel drive category, in a bid to win a podium slot at GRiD’s tenth season ending finale.


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