World Rally Championship rising star Oliver Solberg says he is eager to emulate his dad’s legacy on this year’s Safari Rally Kenya which makes a comeback to the global arena after a 19 year hiatus.
In an interview, Solberg candidly admitted his family has unfinished business with the iconic event, hitherto the world’s toughest rally-sport event.
Solberg has high hopes of tackling the fabled Safari, by and large, one of his career dreams.
Son of the 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg; Oliver has his heart and mind well on his father’s Safari Rally experience to write his own.
His father, Petter made his Safari debut in 1999; driving a Ford Focus.
“Safari Rally is one of my dream races to do. My father has lots of stories from the event.
“I have seen several videos with a lot of adventures and really good sites. It would be an amazing experience to take on,” says young Solberg.
“The rally would not be like in the old days. For sure, it will be different now. But it would be a great opportunity nevertheless.”
“Dad has told me so many stories from the fans, stages and he says it is one of the best places he has been too.”
“I am hopeful I will be there and get my own experience,” he told Kawowo Sport website.
The 19-year-old Solberg has had an impressive path to becoming a top driver. He is already being courted by Team Hyundai.
Oliver Solberg during Monte Carlo in i20 R5 Credit: Roberto Saavedra
Solberg made a big statement with a sublime performance during the Arctic rally Finland last month; finishing in seventh position on his debut in the WRC car; Hyundai i20.
“Arctic rally was a great experience and the race was incredible. To be able to drive a world rally car for the first time on those roads was incredible. Everything was charming way above my expectations.”
The Swedish driver is looking forward to better returns during the season.
“I want to be in a WRC car longer for sure. But the plan is still on the WRC 2 with R5 and try to win the championship there.
“After that, then we can work towards getting a seat with one of the manufacturers in future.”
He admits working through the grassroot rally programmes was vital to his development.
“I don’t think anybody would start in a 4WD car. It would be quiet too early.
“I went all through the good steps of rallying and learnt most of the basics of the sport at all stages.
“With the new class, WRC 3, the rally star kind of programme is a great opportunity for the new drivers,” he says.