Hyundai Motorsport has announced today its line-up for the new era of the World Rally Championship that will commence in 2022. Its usual full-time drivers, Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville will remain in their posts but there will be some changes regarding their third seat.
Oliver Solberg will be joining Spaniard Dani Sordo at the wheel of the third i20 N Rally 1 car next season. After competing in WRC2 this year, a category that gives support to the World Rally Championship, with a car belonging to the Hyundai subsidiary team, 2C Compétition, the Swede will make the leap to the competition’s elite.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to climb into the third WRC car to do selected events together with Dani Sordo,” commented Oliver. “I’m only just 20, so it’s a huge step so early in my career. I am excited to drive the new era of car, the Rally1; it’s definitely a special time to be involved in WRC.”, the Swedie added.
Oliver Solberg, a rising star
At twenty years of age, the son of former two-time world champion, Petter Solberg, has fully demonstrated he is deserving to inherit his father’s throne. With the example and advice of his father, he has followed in the footsteps of his friend Kallë Rovanperä and continues to grow in a speciality where he seems predestined to shine.
Solberg has already ran a ‘world rally car’ during the current World Championship on a couple of occasions, an important step ahead of his arrival in the premier category of the sport. In any case, and to help him gain the necessary experience with these vehicles,
Hyundai has only given him a partial program for next year, alternating with Dani Sordo in the third official Rally 1. With this move, Hyundai is aiming for the perfect cocktail of youth and seniority that would allow it to score the highest number of points and re-conquer its 2018 Constructors’ Championship title.
Undoubtedly, the Scandinavian rookie will benefit from Sordo’s experience during his adaptation and learning phase. The Spaniard is indeed going to be present at Solberg’s appointments as a source of support for his new teammate.
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The Nordic driver, who has recently turned 20, has taken part in nine races with Hyundai this season. Specifically, he has sat behind the wheel of all the i20 R5, i20 N Rally2 and i20 Coupé WRC models, showing great potential. Being allowed to drive one of the Rally1s in the new era of the speciality, even on a part-time basis, is a great professional opportunity for Solberg. Hyundai’s team principal Andrea Adamo, who facilitated the promotion of Solberg, has spoken about the importance of his incorporation into the team: “It is good to have new blood like Oliver in the team, alongside the experience that our existing crews will bring, We will undoubtedly have a very strong line-up as we embark on a fresh chapter for Hyundai Motorsport.”
Sordo: An experienced mentor for Solberg
After eight seasons defending the colours of the Asian team, the Spaniard is very happy with his own contract renewal as well as with his new role next to Solberg:
“I have said many times before that Hyundai Motorsport is like a family to me, so I am pleased to continue my career with them into the new hybrid era of WRC,” said Dani. “I am looking forward to even more to come as we prepare for fresh challenges.”
“Not only will Dani drive a selected number of events, but he will also be working with us on events when Oliver steps in, His approach to racing and his extensive experience will be a great asset to our team when our learning curve with new regulations will be high.”m said Adamo.
Sordo’s World Rally Championship career has run in parallel with that of Hyundai. The Spanish racer arrived at the South Korean works on the team’s WRC debut year in 2014. That season he was part of a sensational 1-2 at Rally Germany, which marked the beginning of a successful partnership.