Thu 22 Feb 2024

Solberg hints at more 'strategic' approach in 2024

Rally Sweden WRC2 winner Oliver Solberg has admitted a more strategic approach is required for 2024, if he is to become WRC2 world champion.

Local hero Solberg was in a class of his own on the Umeå-based Rally Sweden last weekend, winning 11 of the 18 stages on his way to a commanding 1min 19.7sec victory, bagging a maximum 25 points towards his WRC2 title bid.

The question now is – what rallies will Solberg nominate next for scoring points? Drivers can choose only seven rallies for their WRC2 campaign, with their best six results counting.

Poor selection cost the Swede in 2023, a season in which he often produced better results on the rallies he had not picked to count towards his WRC2 challenge, for example in Croatia, Portugal and Kenya where he was the second-quickest Rally2 car and then also Finland, where he was the fastest.

Meanwhile, out of the rallies he chose, Solberg failed to finish in the points in three of them, seeing him complete the season sixth in WRC2.

“I could have chosen the rallies where I scored points a bit more cleverly,” mused the 22-year-old. “We were in a good fight but with a bit more luck and a bit more strategic choosing we would have had a good chance [of claiming the title].

“I need to learn a bit more and choose the rallies more strategically and play the game a bit more like the others do.

“To win WRC2 is the key.”

Solberg will compete next month on Safari Rally Kenya, but has not yet decided if he will use it as a points event, despite finishing second there in 2023.

In a subtle but significant change for 2024, Solberg has moved from Toksport to compete directly for Škoda Motorsport Team, replacing Andreas Mikkelsen who moved to Hyundai Motorsport WRT. 

Evident in his stage times in Sweden, when he went close on SS5 to setting the fastest overall time, Solberg is comfortable again behind the wheel of his Fabia RS Rally2. “The car has been working well and I found a very good rhythm through the whole [Rally Sweden] weekend.

“The feeling has been great, especially now for the first time with Škoda Motorsport behind me.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM