Oliver Solberg ended this week’s Rally de España – his first ever asphalt World Rally Championship outing in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC – in seventh place, banking some much needed data on how to drive the fastest rally car in history on the Tarmac.

The 20-year-old was never outside the top-10 positions on the Salou-based event and, having promised Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo an untroubled drive, that’s exactly what he delivered. He didn’t put a foot wrong in the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.

“I knew what I had to do this week,” said Oliver. “I had to come here and drive really sensibly to make the finish, make the miles and to keep Andrea happy.

“I have to say, the conditions were, in places, tougher than I expected. You can watch the onboards and see the cars sliding on some of the gravel and mud pulled to the stage by the cars ahead, but until you are in that car and feeling it slide beneath you in sixth gear, you don’t have the experience.

“Sometimes I have been really surprised by how much the cars are off the road and cutting, but this is why I was here – I had to learn and see this for myself. Now I understand much better this rally and what it takes to make everything work here.

“We had one small problem with the clutch in the Salou stage on Saturday night. I knew I couldn’t stall the car and that was probably the worst stage to drive like that – it was so tight, so narrow and so twisty. Fortunately, it was very short and we could make it through.”

The result equals Oliver’s incredible seventh place at ACI Rally Monza last year and his stellar result at Arctic Rally Finland on his debut aboard the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in February.
“Same result,” said Oliver, “but this rally was very, very different. In Lapland I was able to make a top-three stage time and I was pushing harder – that was kind of a battling seventh place, a fighting result. This one I was being more controlled and driving my own rally. 
“I have an incredible opportunity coming with Hyundai Motorsport and a result like this one is helping to build by knowledge towards next season. I want to thank everybody in 2C Compétition and Hyundai Motorsport for a fantastic job and I want to thank everybody in Salou and Spain for a great rally. I looked forward to this one for a long time and atmosphere was fantastic.”


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