Solbergs win Rally Sweden Lockdown
Oliver Solberg wins maiden (and hopefully only!) Rally Sweden Lockdown
First son and mum success for Oliver and Pernilla
Event officials praised for getting the sport up and running again
Live television event huge success with WRC+ footage to follow
Eighteen-year-old Oliver Solberg took Rally Sweden Lockdown victory ahead of some of the biggest names in Swedish motorsport on Sunday afternoon.
The event was run under some of the most stringent regulations ever, with social distancing and coronavirus-awareness at the forefront of everybody’s minds.
The son of 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg made the most of his first opportunity to compete in an actual rally for the first time since Rally México three months ago.
The single-stage event used the famous Torsby Sprint test, made famous as the end of the Rally Sweden’s World Rally Championship Power Stage. Faced by rivals like his former WRC 2 and Asia Pacific Rally Championship-winning cousin Pontus Tidemand and 2016 World Rallycross champion Mattias Ekström, Oliver has his work cut out in the Monster Energy Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
But with mum Pernilla alongside calling the pacenotes, team Solberg succeeded and edged Tidemand by 1.2s in the final shot at the 2.6-kilometre stage.
Much as Oliver and Pernilla were delighted with their debut victory together, they were both even happier to be competing again – and very, very grateful to the organising team who pulled the event together in some of the strangest circumstances in history.
“It was a really tight fight at the end,” said Oliver, “but to win is something special for me and my mum. It’s been a long time out of the car and I want to say a very big thanks to everybody who made this happen – the organisers and, of course, SVT for the television coverage. They have done an amazing job. It’s easy to sit at home and think: “I wish we could go rallying again…” but these guys stood up and made it happen. Thank you.
“The feeling to drive behind these Monster Energy colours again was so fantastic. It was great fun. The road was pretty rough in the end and that was tricky because we were having to push hard to stay ahead of Pontus. The competition has been amazing and so much fun!”
And Pernilla maintains her outstanding record of success in Sweden. Having won four from the last five Rally Sweden Historics, she’s now taken victory in the first Rally Sweden Lockdown.
“This was the first time I co-drove for Oliver,” she said, “and I have to say, I was very impressed with how he listened and committed to the notes. Fantastic. Like Oliver said, we have to thank so many people for their efforts today. Of course SVT and the organisers, but also all the marshals and the Torsby community for making this happen and pulling this amazing Sunday afternoon off!
“I’m so proud to be Oliver’s mum today, he was fantastic and driving really, really well.”
Oliver’s victory with his mum calling the notes might not be all good news for him, however.
Pernilla added: “Now I know he can listen to me, so when we go home he will have no excuses! I’m just joking, he’s a very good boy!
“Now we want to look forward to the second half of the season and hope we can have some more events to come. Rally Sweden Lockdown has been fantastic – but I hope this is the only time we need to run an event like this!”
As well as SVT’s fantastic live coverage, WRC+ will be running a highlights programme on Monday evening (CEST).