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Solberg didn’t want Rally Monza to stop after best WRC finish

Oliver Solberg admitted he didn’t want Rally Monza to stop after netting a top five World Rally Championship finish in only his fourth top flight event.

Oliver Solberg, Elliott Edmondson, Hyundai 2C Competition Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Vincent Thuillier / Hyundai Motorsport

The 20-year-old surprised himself by matching the pace of his more experienced Hyundai teammates Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Teemu Suninen at times across the three day asphalt contest in Italy on his way to fifth at the finish.

Solberg’s display was by far his most accomplished since stepping up to WRC machinery, having previously claimed da pair of seventh finishes on debut at Arctic Rally Finland (February) and Rally Spain (October), with a retirement at June’s Safari Rally in between.

“I want to carry on” said Solberg, who was competing alongside his fourth co-driver of the sedans in Elliott Edmondson.

“When you have a car like the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, you just don’t want to stop driving it. This has been such a cool, such a fantastic week.

“This rally is actually quite complicated because you go from driving the cars out there in the mountains and then we come to the circuit where it’s much more technical, so many more junctions and always turning and you have to really change the driving style. You have to be completely precise.

“We used some of the gravel roads in the circuit and this is also a lot of fun – this was reminding me of when I was competing in rallycross.

“We made more progress and took more experience from this rally. Some people were asking me what was the difference between this event and the one before [Rally de España] where we were not so high up.

“The answer is that we went faster! I was never in Spain before, but I competed on this rally last year and I had some experience of the stages.

“I think the speed we had was good here. To be able to fight with my team-mates was more than I was expecting, to be honest.”

The result will act as a confidence boost ahead of next year when the Swede will step compete in WRC Rally1 machinery on a more regular basis with Hyundai.

Solberg will share the Korean marque’s third entry alongside the experienced Spaniard Dani Sordo with the former expected to kick off the season at Monte Carlo on January 20-23.

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