Oliver Solberg starts his rally career
- 17th January 2017, 9:48am
Petter Solberg’s 15-year old son, Oliver, went from his native Norway to Latvia to make his debut as a rally driver and impressed.
Competing in the rallysprint section of the national Rally Alūksne, he finished second in the two-wheel category in a Peugeot 208 R2, beaten by a bigger car.
Even before the start he gave an interview, in fluent English language, which was then posted on YouTube. He was immediately asked if he remembered the first rally he attended.
OS: “I think it was Cyprus, but I don’t remember anything. (The last WRC Cyprus Rally was in 2006, when he was five.) I just remember hearing about it from Mum (Pernilla) and Dad.
I started myself with go-kart when I was five years old, but I just drove for only one year because I didn’t like go-kart. No sliding, nothing, so it was boring.
So I played tennis for two years and then I started with cross-kart and that was more sliding and gravel and stuff, so that was more the best experience.
I have always liked rally. I have driven against other people on track, like rallycross, and I’ve always liked rallycross, but last year when I tested a rally car, rallying was much more fun. So it was quite late when I wanted to drive myself in rallies.”
Was this a question of just following Dad? If father wasn’t in motor sport but instead an ice hockey player, would he have chosen this path?
OS: “Never, I don’t think so. I would probably play ordinary hockey.”
What are Oliver’s plans and steps and programme for this year (2017)?
OS: “I am to drive seven rallies in Latvia, three sprint rallies and four full rallies. Further than that it will be, as father says, step by step this year, and then maybe later in the season do other events.
I don’t know how good I am so I test now. The main thing is to finish the rally and give a good impression to the others that I can finish a rally.”
Which he did! Oliver, however, has a lot to live up to. Father was a world champion in rallying and rallycross and, just to emphasize the challenge, Finnish youngster, Kalle Rovapera, won the overall Rally Alūksne this weekend at the age of 16.
- Martin Holmes
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