Imagine being 19 years old and having a full factory-backed rally drive in the WRC2 at your disposal. Well that’s the incredible position Oliver Solberg finds himself in, waiting at the start line of the 2021 season. With the ink drying on a two-year contract for Hyundai Motorsport, Oliver is exactly where he’s wanted to be ever since he could reach the pedals of a rally car.
“Even saying the words: I’m a Hyundai Motorsport driver…’ it just keeps making me smile,” explains Oliver. “I have a lot of people to thank for helping me to get to this point, of course my family and all of the team around me, but also Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo and team manager Alain Penasse. They have given me this incredible opportunity.
“But this is another step for me. It definitely feels like this is a new chapter. I have made the start to my career now this is the next part.”
The 19 year old will race in the full roster of WRC2 events this year, using the current specification Hyundai i20 R5 car. However once the Hyundai factory has finished development of the new generation i20 N Rally 2 car somewhere around the mid-season - if not before - Oliver will switch machinery and no doubt be at the leading edge of the class. Again.
Happily of all the changes ahead, one thing remains constant in the cockpit however. Teamed up with co-driver, Northern Irishman Aaron Johnston, the crew will be in good shape to double down on the wins and podiums achieved last season.
Johnston said: “I’ve loved and lived this sport for as long as I can remember and to be taking this step up with Oliver is amazing. Of course, I want to thank not just Hyundai Motorsport, but the Solberg family.
“I’ve co-driven for Oliver for the last two years and watched his progression – he’s a fantastic driver, but I honestly feel this is just the beginning of our adventure!”. Read on to find out Oliver’s thoughts on turning full factory, and just what it means to him to be on a proper career path to the infamous World Rally Championship…