Former world rally and rally champion Norway’s Peter Solberg, who is accompanying his son Oliver Solberg (Hyundai i20) in the 55th edition of the Rally Portugal, said on Saturday that being a father was “more difficult than a pilot”.
Speaking to Lusa, the former Ford and Subaru driver, with whom he won the 2003 World Rally Championship, revealed that this year he turned down “four offers for different projects in motorsport – Turismos, Extreme E, Dakar and Ralicrosse – to devote himself to pursuing his son Oliver Solberg’s involvement.” In the World Rally Championship, which gives him some advice.
“I do my best,” he said, “but you also have to learn for him.”
In fact, the Rally of Portugal was a learning experience for the 21-year-old driver, who today crashed his Hyundai i20 WRC2 in the second pass through Vieira do Minho, almost knocked out one of the rear wheels, after that in the year he already finished sixth in Sweden, With the Hyundai i20 Rally 1, which he shares with Spaniard Dani Sordo this season.
This is why Solberg, 47, who never made it to the Portuguese race, after entering the world championship in 2002, the year Rallye de Portugal left the calendar, admits that “being a father is more difficult than being a pilot, suffers the most” .
The Norwegian left his full-time career at the end of 2008, after winning the World Rally Championship (2003) and the Rallycross Championship (2014 and 2015), being the only driver to collect these two FIA trophies. (FIA).
So, this morning, the subject of a small tribute from the municipality of Montalegre, in Matosinhos, was the nerve center of the Rally Portugal, not least because Solberg was the first to win a Terrace or Montes event when he became part of the Rallycross Championship.
“I will be driving there for sure. The passion of these people for the Montalegre track is very important. It is one of the best tracks in the world and it is very important to me, as I won there in my first year” he recalls.
Although he has never raced in Portugal, he remembers the atmosphere prevailing in Portuguese racing.
“I’d love to race in Portugal, but the new generation is arriving now. Maybe I’ll be back in a day. The Fafe Theater may be the main stage, with all these people and all the atmosphere created. It’s going to be one of the most exciting tournaments. I’ve also seen the pictures and it’s crazy It’s what helps make the Rally de Portugal a special event,” the Norwegian defended.
And when he saw Frenchman Sebastien Loeb, who lost the 2004 and 2005 championships to himself, racing in the fourth round of the championship, he felt a flutter in his stomach and wanted to get behind the wheel. But there are higher values that go up.
“When I see him, it makes me want to come back. This year I’ve had four offers to do four different projects in motorsport – Turismos, Extreme E, Dakar and Rallycross – but at the end of the day, he hasn’t had a kid racing. And he doesn’t have to run things. You have a child who has all the talents like Oliver, it is better if I help him as much as possible,” he explained in a manner of resignation.
On the other hand, Peter Solberg has seen a significant development in the tournament.
“It has evolved like hell, that’s for sure. But the sport is constantly evolving. Manufacturers have innovated, too. It will be interesting to see where we’ll be in five years,” he predicts.
But if this year, on the Portuguese stage of the World Rallycross Championship, on September 17-18, in Montalegre, the cars in the main class will already be all-electric, Solberg does not think the rallies can follow the same path.
“I don’t have a problem with electric cars, they are perfectly suited for rally racing, but I still like the sound of combustion engines. In rallying? I don’t know. Formula 1 is not fully electric yet. There are different technologies in different sports, rallies are a sport.” extreme. I don’t know if it’s possible, but you never know.”