18-year-old Oliver Solberg delivered a strong Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo debut in Rally Sweden, which ended in Torsby on Sunday afternoon as he fought for a podium finish throughout the rally.
Warmer temperatures than expected forced the organisers to reduce most of the special stages in Rally Sweden. Only three stages across the border in Norway and a short sprint in Torsby could be carried out on Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday, the next setback came when they cancelled the first run on the Likenäs stage that was meant to be run on Sunday morning.
Although Solberg has never competed in a Škoda before, he set his first fastest stage time in the WRC3 class on the route that was run on Sunday.
A change in the gearbox after Friday improved the feel of the car for Solberg so he could show a similar pace to what helped him to become the youngest winner of an ERC event last season.
He would give double rallycross world champion Johan Kristoffersson a run for his money.
“The conditions were not easy, but the work the organizer has done in recent weeks is fantastic. They have really worked hard to make the rally possible.” Solberg said.
“It was a very good fight against Johan, and it was a pity that we could not participate and fight to the finish. The puncture was a boring way to end the competition, but I bring many positive things from the rally.”
“On Friday we struggled a bit with the settings on the car, but we made some changes and it became really good on Saturday. Driving a Skoda Fabia was a fantastic experience.”
“The changes we made on Friday night were definitely the way to go. The balance in the car the next day felt very good and we could drive more offensively. Then came the best times of the weekend.” Solberg added.
Solberg’s next event will be with his Volkswagen Polo GT R5 when he drives in Rally Mexico.