Thursday, July 29, 2021

Oliver Solberg Set to sign for Hyundai, Joining Jari Huttunen

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Two young reigning champions, ERC 1 Junior Oliver Solberg and WRC3 Jari Huttunen are close to signing for Hyundai Motorsport N according to Spanish magazine Scratch, the announcement is expected soon, before the closing of the entry list for the Monte-Carlo Rally tomorrow Friday, December 18.

In the 2020 season, Hyundai Motorsport N finished third in the four-team struggle in the R5 category. The victory was won by Toksport, which drives a Skoda Fabia followed PH Sport, which runs Citroen’s satellite rally operations. 

In general the 2020 season for Hyundai’s R5 Category in WRC2 has been rather low-key, with Ole-Christian Veiby and Nikolay Gryazin achieving several podiums but far from rivals such as Mads Ostberg or Pontus Tidemand. Gryazin ended the year by winning the Rallye Recalvi Mariña Lucense with a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 while Veiby was able to test the Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC of 2C Compétition in Monza, although he could not finish the test after a terminal accident on Saturday, in the Lombard mountains.

according to Scratch Magazine Solberg assured that he was going to focus on the World Rally Championship and that he would compete with a Rally2, this program being a priori that he has been negotiating since the WRC was restarted with Rally Estonia.

As for Huttunen, his arrival at the team would complete a path of redemption after he was chosen as Hyundai’s first development driver, but he had a very uneven 2018 and 2019 where he fell short of expectations. However, in all the WRC3 events in this 2020 he has achieved podiums and victories, crowning himself champion after beating names such as former European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz or Marquito Bulacia. By hiring Huttunen and Solberg, Hyundai wants to win the team championship in the smaller class as well. At the WRC level, the Korean manufacturer has already celebrated in the previous two years. 

In this way, Hyundai would have two names to fight for the second division title, in addition to doing so in the final year of World Rally Car with Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak, Dani Sordo and Craig Breen. In the first half of the year they will take the Hyundai i20 R5, awaiting the transition to the new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 once it is homologated in July.

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