Oliver Solberg rounded out his maiden season with Hyundai Motorsport with an exceptional fifth place at FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza, which ended in Italy on Sunday (November 21).


 
The 20-year-old delivered a faultless drive on the northern Italian event, guiding a 2C Compétition-run Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC across a fascinating blend of mountain roads and stages at the world-famous Monza circuit. 
 
At the finish, he celebrated his best ever World Rally Championship result. 
 
Drafted in as a late replacement for Rally Japan (cancelled due to the ongoing global pandemic) the Lombardia venue provided a fitting backdrop to a spellbinding event. 
 
“I want to carry on!” said Oliver at the finish. “When you have a car like the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, you just don’t want to stop driving it. This has been such a cool, such a fantastic week. 
 
“The roads in the mountains which we did on Friday and Saturday morning were really, really nice. I was taking it quite steady, quite sensible to start with – there were damp patches and some fog on the top of the mountain. After I made some change to the set-up with the car and got some more grip with the rear, I was able to really push and, honestly, it was just so much fun.
 
“When you are driving a car like this on roads like that, it’s impossible not to smile. It’s the best feeling in the world!
 
“This rally is actually quite complicated because you go from driving the cars out there in the mountains and then we come to the circuit where it’s much more technical, so many more junctions and always turning and you have to really change the driving style. You have to be completely precise. 
 
“We used some of the gravel roads in the circuit and this is also a lot of fun – this was reminding me of when I was competing in rallycross. I have to tell you, I was really sad when we came to the finish of the last stage.
 
“We made more progress and took more experience from this rally. Some people were asking me what was the difference between this event and the one before [Rally de España] where we were not so high up. The answer is that we went faster! I was never in Spain before, but I competed on this rally last year and I had some experience of the stages. 
 
“I think the speed we had was good here. To be able to fight with my team-mates was more than I was expecting, to be honest.”
 
Monza marked Monster Energy driver Oliver’s first outing with new co-driver Elliott Edmondson, a partnership which worked from the first corner. 
 
“It was perfect with Elliott,” said Oliver. “From the very start we were comfortable together, we did some practice before the rally and everything worked really well. He did a great job and I want to thank him.
 
“As well, I really want to thank everybody from Hyundai Motorsport and 2C. Andrea [Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal] gave me the most amazing opportunity this season when I drove the i20 Coupe WRC for the first time in Arctic Rally Finland. That rally was incredible for me and this one as well.
 
Grazie, Andrea!”

 

Teksti: Sandra Evans

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