This weekend on Sunday 7 June, a selection of FIA World Rally Championship drivers will attend a one-off rally event hosted by Rally Sweden’s director Glenn Olsson, around the stages near the famous Torsby town that works as the Rally Sweden headquarters in February.
As this event is hosted behind close-doors there will be no spectators, but in Sweden and Finland fans can watch the live broadcast on the Swedish national TV channel SVT1 and on SVTPlay.se.
Many well-known names are highlighted on the entry list; Mattias Ekström, the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Champion and EKS team owner, and the former WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand.
Oliver Solberg is also one of the invited drivers to take part in it and he will have his mom Pernilla Solberg as his co-driver for first time; “I’m really looking forward to it. Of course, I have done some testing with Oliver, but this will be the first time I got to compete with him.” Pernilla said.
“It’s so fantastic to be back. We have been really busy with the Solberg World Cup and a lot of gaming and sim racing – and that’s been really cool – but to actually pull on the overalls, get in the car, shut the door and push the starter button is something I have missed so much!” Oliver said.
“I have to say a very big congratulations to the organisers of the event. What they have been able to do is amazing. Obviously, we are all sorry not to have some spectators coming, but while we are still having this coronavirus around, we have to be really careful and sensible. The good thing is that the fans get the chance to watch on SVT, who I know will make a fantastic television show out of it.”
“For me the good thing is to drive again. It will be strange to be in the rally car in these places, but not to need the woolly hat and the coat. It will be a lot of fun – but now I have to remember to myself that if I am going wide and hitting something then I can’t push the button to start again!”
“But it will be just nice to hear some engines running again. It’s been a very long time since Rally México in March. Rallying is really at the centre of our lives and it always has been, with mine and Petter’s parents competing before we did. I don’t remember a time without competition for as long as this before. I can’t wait to get started!” Oliver added.
The 2018 FIA Junior World Rally Champion Emil Bergkvist, former WRC driver Per-Gunnar Andersson and Jonas E:Son Brådhe are also the others who are running up in the entrants.
The rally will start with a shakedown, they will then head out for two qualifying runs. The three fastest drivers will be qualified to enter the semi-final and the next two will get to race in a knockout race where the last qualifier will be decided.
Both of the semi finals will include two passes in the stage and the drivers with fastest time precede to the A Final while the semi finalists ‘losers’ will be in the B Final and have a chance to precede to the A Final.
“Covid-19 has silenced rallying for the last couple of months but now it’s time for the engines to roar again. Some of Sweden’s biggest motorsport names, including four world champions, will compete on roads made famous by our WRC round.” Glenn Olsson, Director of Rally Sweden, said.
“The knockout format guarantees drivers must battle for every tenth of a second and even the slightest mistake could prove costly. It promises to be real edge-of-seat watching for fans,”
“It really feels great to once again offer the rally audience a spectacular rally show after this two month period without any rally. The format, where the drivers meet in quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, makes it a little more risky than in a regular rally. I believe and hope that viewers will appreciate it.” Ulf Nilsson, SVT’s Executive Producer, said.
“For us at SVT, this will be an exciting test. We are doing almost next to wireless production and will bring with us valuable experiences for the future from this event in Torsby,”
The Checkered Flag will report live from the event on Sunday afternoon.