Solberg set for sun and snow at Rallye Monte-Carlo
Oliver Solberg starts new adventure at Rallye Monte-Carlo
21-year-old drives Toksport-run Škoda Fabia RS Rally2
Rallye Monte-Carlo not included in Oliver’s WRC2 programme
Oliver’s Škoda to run a tribute to legendary American driver Ken Block
Monster Energy driver Oliver Solberg makes his competitive debut aboard a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 at this week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The 21-year-old completed his pre-event test in the French Alps on Saturday and is now fully focused on what’s set to be a typically high-profile start ahead of the world’s media in Monaco’s Casino Square on Thursday.
There won’t be a moment for Oliver and co-driver Elliott Edmondson to enjoy what is one of the season’s most iconic locations, however. Their attention will be firmly fixed on Thursday night’s first two stages.
“There’s always something very special about Monte Carlo,” said Oliver. “It’s the start of a new season, a new adventure and that’s exactly how I feel right now.
“I think we can say Monte is never the easiest rally and it’s maybe not the one that you enjoy the most, but it’s definitely one of the most challenging and demanding – because of that, there’s a real sense of achievement when you go well and make a good result. It’s definitely one of the rallies I want to win in my career.”
Changeable weather combined with the mountainous terrain make Rallye Monte-Carlo one of motorsport’s biggest challenges.
Looking into next week, harbourside in Monaco the temperature is likely to be around 15 degrees with the potential for rain. Head for the hills around Puget-Théniers (the location for Friday and Saturday’s midday tyre changing zone) and the temperature offers a 20-degree swing towards far more wintry conditions.
Oliver smiles at the thought of the task in hand.
“Not knowing what the weather will do: will it be sunny or is that rain going to turn to snow as we climb the mountain? And has all of that ice really melted? The stress is quite high on this event.”
Oliver takes on that challenge aboard a Toksport-run Škoda.
“We did two days testing with the car,” he said. “It went very well. I felt comfortable with the car. I drove a Fabia in 2020, so I know the car. This is the new Fabia RS Rally2, so we have improvements all around and they’re working well.
“The competition is going to be amazing in WRC2 this year with so many big names and it will certainly be fierce in Monte Carlo. There are a lot of really good French drivers out there who have a lot of experience of these stages and conditions this week. For me this is a good opportunity to learn more from the rally and from the car. That’s my aim: to take the experience and to enjoy one of the most famous rallies in the world.
“We’re not competing for [WRC2] points in Monte Carlo. We are allowed to score on seven rallies through the season, so we will most likely start our campaign in Sweden next month. This is the most sensible approach for us. We’re running with a new car and a fantastic new team in Toksport, so Monte is a good place to bed ourselves in.”
Rallye Monte-Carlo gets underway from Monaco at 1830 on Thursday January 19. The cars return to the principality four hours later having completed the first two stages – the first of which is the legendary dash from La Bollène to Col de Turini.
Friday and Saturday comprise full days of competition, including two loops of three stages. Sunday’s final day uses roads closer to Monaco for two stages, with the event finishing the same way it started – on the Col de Turini.
Oliver will incorporate a tribute to his fellow Monster Energy athlete and close friend Ken Block in his Škoda’s Rallye Monte-Carlo livery.
#PS 110% AB 🇸🇪 🇳🇴 🌎
Photos: #PS 110% AB 🇸🇪 🇳🇴 🌎
16th January #2023

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