Wednesday | 13 Oct 2021

Solberg promises step-by-step approach at asphalt debut

Oliver Solberg makes his first top-level asphalt appearance in the FIA World Rally Championship in Spain this week – and it’s all eyes on the finish for the 20-year-old.

Solberg has driven a Hyundai i20 WRC on Tarmac before, winning the Rally di Alba national event in Italy in the summer, but he’s only too aware this week’s Salou-based RallyRACC - Rally de España (14 - 17 October) poses a very different challenge.

“In Alba it was a much smaller event,” he said. “That was just an opportunity to make some kilometres in the car without any pressure. This week is a round of the world championship.

“The focus for me has to be on the experience. Every corner and every kilometre is going to help me build more experience and learn more about the car and that’s what I want.

“There’s no way to take a shortcut or to cut a corner in this process of learning and taking experience. I have to do this step-by-step.”

Video: Rally RACC - Rally de España's most memorable moments

Last week Solberg was announced as the replacement for Craig Breen in Hyundai Motorsport’s squad for next season, but the 20-year-old is looking no further ahead than this week and aiming to end a torrid run of five consecutive retirements.

One of those was at Safari Rally Kenya, the second of two World Rally Car outings on loose surfaces this season. His first was Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox, when he finished seventh,

“I’m only just 20, so it’s a huge step so early in my career,” he said. “But it’s one I’m ready for and it’s one I can’t wait to get going with so I can repay people’s belief in me.

“But before that I have the pleasure to drive the Hyundai i20 WRC on Tarmac in Spain. I remember from Alba, the power and the downforce through the faster corners in these World Rally Cars is just amazing.

“I hope we can get some nice weather and some consistent conditions. That’s the good way for me to learn about the car and it’s going to be nicer for the spectators too.”

• Full coverage from RallyRACC Rally de España will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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