Thursday | 05 May 2022

Solberg looks to the future with WRC2 outing

Oliver Solberg has an eye on the future when he returns to WRC2 at this month’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May).

The 20-year-old Swede is sharing Hyundai Motorsport’s third i20 N Rally1 this season. After starting the opening three FIA World Rally Championship rounds in the top-tier car, he steps back to allow Dani Sordo to make his 2022 debut.

Instead, Solberg will drive an i20 Rally2 in Portugal for a second successive year in a bid to learn more about the tricky gravel roads at the Matosinhos-based encounter.

“One of the things that really made me think was how technical the stages were. You really had to work at the pace notes, the roads are quite deceptive and tricky,” Solberg told WRC.com.

“Last year we worked to understand this rally and things like the complicated choice of tyres. We made some experience and we will make some more this time.”

Huge entry for Rally de Portugal

Huge entry for Rally de Portugal

Next month’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May) has received a massive 100-car entry for the opening gravel fixture of ...

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Twelve months ago Solberg finished fifth in WRC2 in Portugal and the rally made a big impression on him.

“This event was one of the highlights of last year. Portugal was one of the rallies I’d watched so many times. It’s kind of iconic with the hairpin and the jump in Fafe and so many other names of stages,” he added.

“There was a really cool atmosphere there last season and I’m sure it will be the same again this time.

“Of course, I would love to be driving the i20 Rally1, it’s an amazing car – who wouldn’t want 500bhp. But Dani and me are sharing, so it’s his turn now.

Solberg returns to Portugal in a WRC2 car after finishing fifth in 2021

“I’m thankful to the team for giving me the Rally2 car so I can go and drive in Portugal again. It’s going to be interesting to go to WRC2 again. It’s a big fight and I think it will be again in Portugal.”

Solberg is part of a massive 41-car WRC2 field. Series leader Andreas Mikkelsen returns after skipping last month’s Croatia Rally aboard his Toksport-run Škoda Fabia Rally2.

Solberg is one of 10 i20 N cars registered, the biggest Hyundai Motorsport customer entry at a WRC event. The rally marks the season debut of the Korean manufacturer’s WRC2 team, in which Solberg is joined by Teemu Suninen and Fabrizio Zaldivar.

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