Spellbinding Solberg lights up the Magic Weekend
Away from rallycross for two years, driving a car first built seven years ago, it’s fair to say Oliver Solberg wasn’t sure what to expect at this All-Star Magic Weekend at Höljes.
Faced with the sport’s finest and fastest – including father Petter Solberg’s former PSRX Volkswagen Sweden team-mate, two-time World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson – this would be the toughest RX competition 18-year-old Oliver had ever faced.
To end the weekend on the podium, having run third to Kristoffersson in the final, was a great result for the Monster Energy-backed DS 3 Supercar driver.
“Honestly, I didn’t know what it would be like against these guys,” said Oliver, who has focused his attentions on the World Rally Championship for the last two years – and now drives a factory-supported ŠKODA Fabia in WRC3.
“I did a small test with the DS 3 last week and straight away I was smiling again – that’s what happens when you have 600bhp. In the first part of the double-header, I was remembering the strategy and how to drive rallycross again. In Q3, I got some damage on the car when the guys were hitting me a bit from behind.
“We made the final in part one and I was fourth. Maybe I could have made a better plan for the joker lap, this was my fault. I was really looking forward to the weekend then and trying to make Sunday’s second final [at part two of the All-Star Magic Weekend double-header].”
Fastest in Q3 on Sunday morning was a great start to the day, but when the Swedish summer deserted Höljes, the conditions took a turn for the worse.
“The rain has been incredible,” said Oliver. “It just didn’t stop. We had some big puddles out there, a lot of standing water. But it’s still so cool to drive these cars and race these guys.”
Winning his semi-final by a massive seven seconds landed Oliver a place in the final. And the Monster Energy-flashed DS 3 was lightening quick off the line.
“I got a really good start,” said Oliver, “I did my part of the plan, but those guys [Kristoffersson and Robin Larsson] let me down a bit – they were supposed to make bad starts and let me fly through to the lead!
I forgot a little bit that Johan doesn’t do bad anything in rallycross! I would never have beaten him, he’s so quick in the wet. I’ve watched his onboards so many times and to see him do it again in this race was really impressive. And Larsson was quick as well. Maybe if it had been dry, I hope it would have been closer, but this was like Wales Rally GB times 10!
“There was so little grip in the wet, when the rain was coming I said to myself that I would just do my best and drive my own race. I’m really happy to come back to rallycross again and come away with this podium position. Would this have been possible if Niclas [Grönholm] didn’t have his problem in his semi-final? I don’t know.
“He (Grönholm) was so quick this weekend, he drove really clean all the time and he really deserved more than what happened to him [his car stalled on the start line].”
“I have to say a big thank you to the whole team, they worked really hard to get this car quick and it really worked. To come here in a car my father used to win the 2014 and 2015 World Rallycross Championship with and still be at the front is good. I’m happy.”
“And we have to say another very big thank you to the organisers of this event and to the production company making the television coverage. You know, right now, it’s not really a normal time and to put on this All-Star Magic Weekend has been fantastic effort from so many people.”
The focus now returns to rallying for Oliver, with his team closing on a programme of events for the second half of the season.