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Mon 31 Oct 2022

Solberg wins on first outing since Hyundai departure

Oliver Solberg won the final round of the British Rally Championship – last weekend’s Visit Conwy Cambrian Rally – driving a Volkswagen Polo R5.

Back in a rally car for the first time since being dropped by Hyundai Motorsport, the 21-year-old had a ball in the North Welsh forests. 

The youngster won the 92-kilometre Llandudno-based event by close to two minutes aboard a hired Polo. 

“I loved that,” said Solberg, who made his World Rally Championship debut out of the same town at the 2019 Rally GB . “It was so much fun. I was making some big slides and lots of Scandinavian flicks – it was fantastic to drive these stages. And fantastic to see so many spectators. I mean, a lot of people standing out in some pretty tough weather.

“Of course, it’s nice to win the rally, but I came here to enjoy myself and honestly I have absolutely done that. The roads were tricky. The stages were in the same forests from Rally GB in 2019, but I had only actually competed on a couple of kilometres of Brenig. The rest of it was all new.”

Absent from the WRC since 2019, Solberg admitted the famous stages were just as much of a challenge as they ever were.

He added: “You can learn so much from rallies like this one. We had the Tarmac on Friday night, which was interesting and then we had a lot, a lot of fog on Saturday morning. That was when you knew you were really back in Wales – the fog was coming and the rain after it!

“These conditions are super-challenging though and when you combine this with the grip changing almost on every corner, it really means you have to be fully awake and ready for everything. It makes you sharp.”

Solberg’s final Hyundai Motorsport outing of the season comes with the recce for next week’s WRC’s finale, FORUM8 Rally Japan (10 - 13 November). 

Images courtesy of the British Rally Championship.