Oliver and Pernilla are ready as the Solbergs tackle Rally Sweden Lockdown

Monster Energy driver Oliver Solberg will be back behind the wheel of a rally car on Sunday. And this time that wheel will be attached to a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, rather than the simulator rig the 18-year-old has become so attached to in recent weeks. 

Oliver has been invited to take part in Rally Sweden Lockdown – organised by Rally Sweden director Glenn Olsson – to be screened live by Swedish broadcaster SVT1 on Sunday afternoon.

Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, spectators will not be permitted and the organisers are imposing firm regulations on the running of the event. 

The main thing is, rallying’s back. And, what’s more, the event will have not one but two Solbergs competing, as Pernilla steps in to co-drive Oliver in competition for the first time.

Oliver said: “It’s so fantastic to be back. We have been really busy with the Solberg World Cup and a lot of gaming and sim racing – and that’s been really cool – but to actually pull on the overalls, get in the car, shut the door and push the starter button is something I have missed so much!

I have to say a very big congratulations to the organisers of the event. What they have been able to do is amazing. Obviously, we are all sorry not to have some spectators coming, but while we are still having this coronavirus around, we have to be really careful and sensible. The good thing is that the fans get the chance to watch on SVT, who I know will make a fantastic television show out of it. 

For me the good thing is to drive again. It will be strange to be in the rally car in these places, but not to need the woolly hat and the coat. It will be a lot of fun – but now I have to remember to myself that if I am going wide and hitting something then I can’t push the button to start again!

No stranger to Swedish success from the co-driver’s seat, having won four of the last five Rally Sweden Historics with Petter, Pernilla added: “I’m really looking forward to it. Of course, I have done some testing with Oliver, but this will be the first time I got to compete with him.

Like Oliver said, the first thing is to thank everybody involved with this event – to make something like this in this difficult time is very impressive
.

But it will be just nice to hear some engines running again. It’s been a very long time since Rally México in March. Rallying is really at the centre of our lives and it always has been, with mine and Petter’s parents competing before we did. I don’t remember a time without competition for as long as this before. I can’t wait to get started!

To watch Rally Sweden Lockdown on Sunday June 7, go to SVT 1 15.45-17.55 (CET), or www.svtplay.se

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© Oliver Solberg / PS110%