Oliver solberg Wins in Rally Sweden
The second round of the World Rally Championship took place in snowy Sweden. We, as Toksport WRT attended to the event with 5 cars with crews including Oliver Solberg & Elliot Edmondson, Emil Lindholm & Reeta Hämäläinen, Sami Pajari & Enni Mälkönen, Marco Bulacia & Diego Vallejo, Bruno Bulacia & Axel Coronado.
The local hero Oliver Solberg had a point to prove and he went the right way about it on the first full day of his 2023 campaign, taking three stage wins in his brand-new Škoda Fabia RS Rally2.
Reigning WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm lost important time on SS3 when he was forced to pull over and remove snow from the radiator of his Škoda after ploughing into a snowbank. They eventually completed a frustrating day in 11th overall, more than two-and-a-half minutes off the pace.
Stepping up to his first full WRC2 campaign after missing Rallye Monte Carlo very last minute, former Juinior WRC champion Pajari began the day in fifth but was up to second by lunchtime, keeping Solberg on his toes for the remainder of the day. Despite leading going into the day’s final service, Solberg offered a level-headed response when asked about his day: “It’s been okay. Pajari has definitely been very, very quick, hunting me down. I have been driving very clean with no push or risks for the entire day. I just wanted to get used to the new car on snow,” he concluded.
Solberg and Edmondson began Saturday with a 13sec lead and immediately set about consolidating it. He set the pace on the day’s opening stage, stretching his buffer to 17.1sec over closest rival Sami Pajari, who was distracted by a flailing side window. Distraction turned to frustration one stage later for Pajari when a spin cost the former Junior WRC champion 40sec.
Our leading crew produced an error-free Sunday drive on his home rally to steer his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to a 42.3sec buffer over rivals.
Solberg started the final day of action in Sweden’s snowy north with a 51.6sec buffer over Veiby. With such a lead in hand, he could afford for a conservative approach to the remaining 63.04 competitive kilometres.
That didn’t stop him from going all-out in the Wolf Power Stage, however, and he secured maximum bonus points after outpacing Emil Lindholm by 0.5sec in the finale. Rounding out the top three in an identical Fabia to Solberg was fellow 21-year-old Sami Pajari, with the 2021 FIA Junior WRC champion recording his maiden WRC2 podium.
“It’s fantastic – what a great feeling!” Solberg exclaimed. “It’s been a long time since I won, and finally everything worked correct and I am really happy. Elliott (Edmondson, co-driver) did an amazing job and for sure it’s been an amazing weekend – no mistakes and really consistent.”