Oliver Solberg

Preparing for a double with support from Skoda Motorsport

Rally Magazine

Oliver is on location in Umeå testing ahead of the weekend’s competitions. And the goal is, of course, to repeat last year’s victory here in Umeå. Then there is the overall victory in WRC2 to aim for. And now, through the cooperation with the Skoda team, he has all the conditions to succeed.

“It’s an immense strength to have that backing, so I can focus entirely on driving. And even though they handle the team and set up plans and rules, I still have the freedom to work with my own sponsors and fans. Fundamentally, they’re the ones who make it possible for me to do all this I love, and that I’ve been given the opportunity to aim for overall victory in WRC2, and that’s the goal this year,” says Oliver.

Unfortunate start in Monte-Carlo

That the car performs well and that he can win, Oliver demonstrated in this year’s first competition in Monte-Carlo. He won five out of six stages on Friday. Before he was hit by a double puncture on Saturday that spoiled his chances since he had chosen to have only one spare tire.

“It was fantastically unfortunate, normally you know when you get a puncture, but this time I didn’t notice anything, and it happened twice, so it’s very bitter,” says Oliver and continues. “But I climbed up on Sunday and showed that I can drive fast. And the silver lining was that I had chosen not to drive for points.”

Points in Rally Sweden

Last year, he was ambitious and wanted to score points in the toughest competitions, something that probably cost him the chance to win overall.

“I want to win everything, show that I can drive on all surfaces and handle all conditions. Now that the competition in WRC2 is tougher than ever, with really many who want and can challenge, you have to be more strategic and choose the right competitions to score points in to win. And then Rally Sweden is obvious for me, a home competition on snow and ice, then I know I’m hard to beat if everything aligns,” he says with a smile.

Seven competitions with points

In WRC2, each driver chooses which seven out of the total thirteen competitions they want to compete in for points, then the six best are counted towards the final championship points.

“Actually, I don’t like that you have this opportunity to choose different competitions. It could very well be seven that count, for the economy to make sense, but everyone should compete in the same competitions. It becomes a bit strange when you can choose to compete for points when there are fewer participants or something. But now the rules are as they are, so you have to adapt to them,” he says.

Tough competition

“The WRC2 class has really become a hornet’s nest with many challengers. And for example, it will be exciting to see how the new Rally2 Toyotas will perform on the winter roads of Västerbotten? However, I know that the Skoda is holding up well and I don’t intend to back down,” concludes Oliver.