New Hyundai Motorsport signing Oliver Solberg says he’s “already very happy and comfortable” with his new surroundings ahead of his first competitive appearence for the team this weekend.
Solberg, who has signed a two-year deal with the Korean manufacturer, will get behind the wheel of a i20 R5 in a rally for the first time this weekend with his first appearance on the Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland.
“I think we all know how much rallying means in Finland,” said Solberg in the build up to the event.
“The plan was to go to Neste Rally [Finland] last year, but we all know that didn’t happen, so my first time is in Arctic Lapland Rally – this is also a big adventure.
“I heard a lot of stories about this one (rally), where we have really low temperatures and a proper, proper winter.“
Solberg is no stranger to Rally2/R5 machinery having competed in both the FIA World Rally Championship WRC3 class as well as the FIA European Rally Championship in 2020, but this season will be his first competing for Hyundai following his past experience in both a Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo.
In prepration for the event which also plays host to the opening round of the Finnish Rally Championship, Solberg recently completed a test with the team and he admitted he now can’t wait to get going.
“The Hyundai i20 R5 felt really nice in the test,” he added.
“It’s good to experience a new car for the first time – especially when the conditions on the road are so nice. The roads were full snow with big snow banks, some of the best conditions I ever had to drive with.
“When you have good, consistent conditions, it helps to make an interesting first impression with a new car. I’m happy with the i20, the engine feels strong and we made a good first test.“
The Arctic Lapland event is a regular warm up event for several drivers who compete in the WRC, with last season’s event being won by Kalle Rovanperä as he got to grips driving a Toyota Yaris WRC for the first time.