Solberg, Subaru and the 100 Acre Wood Rally: Q&A
Solberg and Subaru are go. Again. Just over a decade ago, Petter Solberg took his blue and yellow race suit off for the final time.
On Tuesday, Oliver Solberg pulled his blue and yellow race suit on for the first time. And on Friday, he and co-driver Aaron Johnston will start their first ever event for Subaru Motorsports US at the 100 Acre Wood Rally in Missouri.
How did it feel to finally pull those Subaru Motorsports USA overalls on?
OS: It did feel quite weird. I’d been waiting to do it for a while – actually, I’ve been waiting to do it for a very, very long time, probably half of my life! There was some emotion when my mom and dad saw me in the overalls and going to climb into that very, very famous blue and yellow car.
Has your dad given you much advice on driving a Subaru?
OS: I think the car is quite different from when he drove it, so he’s not giving me lots of advice on anything Subaru-specifc, more about setting up a rally car in general.
What are your first thoughts on the car?
OS: It’s absolutely great! It’s a bit longer – actually about one metre longer than the Volkswagen I drove at home – so that takes some getting used to. But, the flip side of that is that you get really nice stability at high speed from this car.
Is there a lot of high speed on the 100 Acre Wood Rally?
OS: Honestly? I don’t know, I have never been on this event before, but everybody tells me this one’s really quick – a bit like Rally Finland.
How was the test?
OS: The test was really good. We did about 120km over the two days. The weather was good, with only a little bit of rain around. I started out in the test using [team-mate] David Higgins’ set-up for the WRX STI. But as the day wore on, I moved to my own settings for the differentials.
Do you have a similar driving style to David?
OS: No, we’re quite different – he tends to attack the corners with a little bit more aggression than me. David is helping me a lot; this is going to be my first time competing with a four-wheel drive rally car on the gravel, so I have a lot to learn and my team-mate is showing me the right way.
What do you think is possible in terms of a result this week?
OS: Oh, I don’t know. Honestly, it’s hard to say when I don’t know so much about the opposition. I would like to be looking at a top-three result, it would be nice to get on the podium.
So far you’re happy?
OS: More than happy, it’s fantastic! I haven’t been in America much in my life. I went to the Circuit of The Americas for rallycross and I took a small vacation out here, but that’s it. From what I’ve seen of Missouri, I really like it. And I like the way the car’s working. It really feels nice. It’s got a bit more power than the car I’ve been driving back in Europe, which is great – a driver always wants more power!
Right now, I’m still pinching myself a little bit to think that I’m here and driving this car – it’s incredible and now I just want to take as much experience from the event as possible. And, of course, I want to do the best job possible, along with my co-driver Aaron Johnston, for the Subaru Motorsports USA.
Check out the full interview in the video below!
Check out the 100 Acre Wood Rally itinerary above right in both local time and CET, and you'll be able to follow all the results at http://live.americanrallyassociation.org/live.html or via the American Rally Association app. Plus of course I'll keep everyone updated on social media too! 💪🏼