Oliver Solberg, son of triple FIA world champion Petter, will step up his rallying commitment next season with a likely World Rally Championship debut at Wales Rally GB.
The 15-year-old has been competing in Latvia and Estonia this season and he will target both of those titles in 2018 with the aim of also contesting five rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship. Solberg’s birthday comes on September 23, which would mean he will be 17 and eligible for a Rally GB entry next year.
He has been driving a Peugeot 208 R2 this year and will continue in that car through 2018, with support from Peugeot Norway. In addition to rallying, Solberg Jr has been driving his father’s DS 3 RX Supercar from last year in the Norwegian Rallycross Championship – but his focus is firmly on rallying.
“Rallying is what I want to do,” said Solberg Jr. “The rallycross is good training and driving the supercar helps with car control and the speed is really good fun, but I am learning a lot in the rallies as well. The rally I did in Estonia [Rally Louna-Eesti], I was second in class and learned a lot about the pacenotes – it was my best event so far.”
Petter admitted he was impressed with the way Oliver was working to drive his own career forward.
“It’s his passion,” said Solberg Sr. “[His mother] Pernilla [Solberg] and I are supporting him but not pushing him, it’s what he wants to do. The support he’s getting from Peugeot Norway is fantastic, but he’s doing so much of this himself. He wanted to come to Rally GB for the recce this year, but it’s not possible because he will still only be 16, but that’s OK he will be back for next year.
“He’s sure that it’s rallying that he wants to do and I can understand that, but he’s also doing very well in rallycross – his car control in the [Supercar] is amazing when you think he’s still only 15.”
Solberg Jr recently enrolled at the FFSA Academy in France, where he will remain for three years, combining education with learning every facet of motorsport.
Solberg Sr added: “It was quite tough for Pernilla and I to leave him at his new school – that’s the same for all parents, but he’s so determined it’s what he wants to do.”