Twenty-two year old Oliver Solberg is one of the hopes of rally sport. The son of 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg is obviously eager to win big. He wants to achieve this 2024 goal behind the wheel of the Škoda Fabia RS Rally2, with which he is once again taking part in the FIA World Rally Championship. In his own words, he would like to win the WRC2 category.
The young Swedish pilot has proven his speed many times in the past; last year, for example, when he jumped into the world championship behind the wheel of the new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 special. In the WRC2 category, he won his home Rally Sweden, Rally Chile and did well in Finland, which was not on his list of nominated events to score championship points. On the Finnish gravel, he was the fastest among the Rally2 cars and finished sixth overall. He also took the sixth position last year in the overall WRC2 standings with the competition being really tough and the margins very close. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Solberg has the highest ambitions for this year.
What are your 2024 ambitions?
My goal for 2024 is pretty much clear; I would like to try to win the WRC2 championship. I would like to enjoy it, learn a lot, but I would also like to win as many competitions as possible.
What competition are you most looking forward to this year?
I have a simple answer to that - it is of course my home Rally Sweden, which I managed to win last year and it is also the event I remember the most from last year. A home event is always unique and when you win it, it makes it all the sweeter. You have all your friends and family there, it's just great.
For 2024, you are also one of the test and development drivers for Škoda Motorsport. How do you find working with the team?
The last time I worked this closely with Škoda Motorsport team was in 2020, so it's not really new experience for me. I really enjoy being part of the development team. I think that we can communicate really well together in the team and we all share a passion for pushing the car forward.
Do you enjoy that kind of work?
Yes, it's definitely fun, at the same time I learn a lot and I can even help to improve the car. I like the fact that I get to drive a lot of kilometres in the car during testing and I get the opportunity to try out a lot of different things.
You have quite a lot experience with Škoda cars. What is your impression of the Fabia RS Rally2 and what do you think are its strengths?
The Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 is definitely the best Škoda I have ever driven. The strengths of the car are that it is quite easy to drive and performs well in all sorts of conditions. It is also a reliable car. I managed to be fast in every rally I competed in last season.
You come from a rally family, how did that influence your relationship to motorsport?
I think it's fairly simple. When you're born into something, you're automatically going to try it. Later on you obviously need to find a passion for it, but in the beginning you just do it because your parents do it. And I got into driving early.
What were your beginnings behind the wheel?
I started learning almost from the age of two and I had my first car, a buggy, when I was five. I competed in my first buggy race at the age of seven and my first rally was the 2017 Rally Alūksne in the Latvian championship, when I was fifteen.
When did you decide that you wanted to compete in rally?
I guess I've always dreamed of competing in rally, it's always been my favourite sport. But I really started thinking about it at around the age of 13, when I thought I should choose my direction. And rally became that direction.
What surface do you enjoy the most?
That's easy. It's snow, like at home in Sweden. You can ride it the most sideways and it's the most fun.