SPEED, DRAMA AND PLENTY OF LEARNING AT RALLY PORTUGAL
Tens of thousands of passionate rally fans cheered as Oliver Solberg bested all opposition in his class on the final stage of the rally at the legendary Fafe stage at Rally Portugal on Sunday.
The 20-year-old had no reason to hold back on the rally's last speed test - which also ran as the Power Stage. He topped WRC2 class winner Yohan Rossel by a full 15.6 seconds on the 11.18 kilometer long test.
"It's fantastic to end the rally with a stage victory and a positive experience. It was extra special to win this particular stage and become part of the Fafe story", Oliver Solberg said at the stage end.
The Hyundai Motorsport driver won two stages in the Rally2 class. He had no chance in the overall standings as he and his co-driver Elliott Edmondson retired on Saturday due to a broken steering arm - something that was out of his control.
"I'm actually not quite sure what happened. I did not hit anything, but suddenly the steering arm broke in the front. The roads in this race were rougher than anyone had seen them before. We worked hard and fixed the problem after the first speed test in the afternoon, but the problem came back on the next one and we were forced to stop.
Luckily we got to drive through all the stages at least once though. After all, we are here to gain experience and understand the roads", said the 20-year-old. The team repaired the car and got it ready to start on Sunday.
Oliver Solberg was actually scheduled to miss Rally Portugal entirely as Dani Sordo (with whom he is sharing a seat this season) stepped into the Rally1 car, but his sponsors Monster Energy, HTB Racing and Schaktmiljö stepped in with funds to rent a Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car so that the young man could still drive the World Championship round.