Oliver Solberg forced to withdraw from Rally Sardegna

Oliver Solberg has been forced to withdraw from next week’s Rally Sardegna after his father, 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg, tested positive for coronavirus.

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The 19-year-old was gearing up for his second top flight World Rally Championship outing with Hyundai at the Italian event.

However having been in contact with his father, Oliver will be required to remain in quarantine in a hotel in Porto for 14 days as per regulations.

The FIA’s Appendix S COVID-19 protocol and national government regulations offer clear quarantine instructions for those in close contact.

Solberg admitted he was “a little bit devastated” after receiving the news having already enjoyed a run to seventh on his full WRC debut at February’s Arctic Rally Finland.

The 19-year-old also revealed that his father Petter is suffering from a “small fever” after contracting COVID-19.

“You can imagine, I am more than disappointed by this news. I am a little bit devastated,” said Solberg.

“But you know, we have seen in the last year what coronavirus can do. My papa is doing well with a small fever and I’m thinking to him right now.

“It’s really hard to take now, but the time for my next rally in that amazing Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC will come. We have these rules and regulations for a reason and that reason is to try to stop this thing spreading.

“My family accepts completely what the FIA, the rally organisers, the national governments and medical professionals are telling us. The most important thing is that we keep people safe.”

WRC’s strict COVID-19 regulations were breached last week resulting in WRC2 driver Ole Christian Veiby receiving a ban for the remaining events of the season.

The FIA has handed Veiby a six-month ban after failing to notify the motor racing governing body that he had been in contact with a person that has since contracted COVID-19.

Co-driver Jonas Andersson has a lesser three-month ban until 21 August having been found guilty of breaking quarantine regulations and for travelling from Spain to Portugal.

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