Oliver clinches European title glory in Spain!
19-year-old Oliver Solberg delights and delivers FIA ERC1 Junior crown
Monster Energy driver impresses on only his fourth ever asphalt event
Tricky conditions challenge ERC regulars at Rally Islas Canarias
Next stop: World Rally Championship finale, ACI Rally Monza
Oliver Solberg scored a sensational European Rally Championship ERC1 Junior title win at Rally Islas Canarias which finished in Las Palmas today (Saturday).
The Monster Energy-backed Volkswagen Polo R5 driver has been the class of this year’s ERC1 Junior field, starting his campaign with back-to-back wins in Italy and Latvia. Second place after two tough days of competition on the Spanish island was enough for Oliver to clinch a pair of ERC 2021 prize drives worth €100,000.
Teenager Oliver just missed the overall European title in Canarias, taking a season-long silver medal after a stunning run through his first full year of sport. He has finished four of five ERC starts in the top-four overall, scoring two podiums and one win in 2020.
“This is a fantastic result,” said Oliver. “To win ERC1 Juniors and finish second overall in the European Rally Championship is incredible for me and for my whole team. Everybody here has just done the most amazing job all year, this result is really for them as well.
“The rally itself in the Canarias was very, very tricky. The stages on Friday were complicated with rain coming and making the grip and the set-up from the car difficult. But today was better, not quite so tricky. What’s important for me is that I have been able to show pace again.
“I’m still learning a little bit on this surface, coming from the gravel to the asphalt has been quite a learning curve for me this year. And next week it’s the next step with that process.”
Next week is the World Rally Championship finale, ACI Rally Monza. Oliver and co-driver Aaron Johnston switch back to ŠKODA Fabia Rally2 evo power for the event, which starts on Thursday (December 3) afternoon.
“Now, I can’t wait to get to Italy for the last round of the World Rally Championship. The end of this year has been quite focused on Tarmac rallies and that’s been really useful for me in learning this side of the sport.
“To go to Monza with this result from Canarias behind us is a really big boost, now we want to sign off from this year with another strong result in Italy.
“We re-started this difficult ERC year in Roma in the summer. That was our first ever asphalt rally and it went really well. It would be a nice way to say goodbye to 2020 with a similar result from Monza.”
ACI Rally Monza’s maiden WRC appearance brings a different style of event to the sport’s highest level, with two days in the famous circuit close to Milan and one day on the mountain roads to the north, closer to Bergamo.
“The stages in the circuit are going to be really interesting,” said Oliver. “We have seen lots of footage from the Monza Rally show before and it always looks really cool.
“Nobody knows so much about the mountain stages on Saturday, but I’m sure they will be fantastic. It’s been great to be in the Volkswagen again here in Spain, and now I’m looking forward to the Fabia again for one last time this year.”