Teenager Oliver Solberg will partner Ole Christian Veiby in Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC2 line-up in 2021.
The 19-year-old Swede steps up to the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support category after campaigning a Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia in the lower tier WRC3 this season. He finished fourth, with a victory at Rally Estonia.
Norwegian Veiby stays with the Korean manufacturer for a second season after taking three podiums en route to fourth in the WRC2 standings in an i20 R5. He completed the year with a maiden World Rally Car start at ACI Rally Monza earlier this month.
The Scandinavian duo will start the season in Hyundai’s i20 R5 before moving into the new i20 N Rally2 car when it becomes available mid-season. The schedule for both drivers has not been finalised.
Solberg has signed a two-year deal and will be co-driven by Northern Ireland’s Aaron Johnston. He said it was an ‘incredible opportunity’ to be joining the team which won the WRC manufacturers’ world title in 2019 and 2020.
“This is the next part of the dream. I have one part of the dream still to make. To join Hyundai Motorsport is fantastic. To be driving for the reigning world rally champion manufacturer… this is a big part of the dream for me,” he added.
“It definitely feels like this is a new chapter. I have made the start to my career now this is the next part. But, it’s like anything. We can celebrate this deal today, but tomorrow we start the hard work to make the most of working with the world champions.”
Veiby, 24, will be co-driven by the experienced Jonas Andersson and said he planned to build on his maiden year with the team.
“I’ve learned a lot and I’m pleased to continue the work we have started. The 2020 season didn’t turn out the way we wanted. We took three podiums out of the five WRC2 events we contested, but there is no doubt we really wanted to win and to be on the top step of the podium.
“It has been a very different and challenging year, and I’m looking forward to having another year to fight properly in WRC2,” he added.
Veiby will prepare for the new season at the Romjulsrally in Norway on 29 December.
Hyundai will also support WRC3 and Polish champion Jari Huttunen next season, although details have not been confirmed. Russia’s Nikolay Gryazin departs the squad.
Team principal Andrea Adamo said it was important to reaffirm Hyundai’s commitment to rising stars.
“Both are exciting talents and definitely ones-to-watch. Oliver, of course, has a very well- known surname but he has already started to prove himself in his own right, with results like the WRC 3 win in Estonia. Ole Christian, too, had some promising results in our i20 R5 during the year.
“Our Customer Racing department has worked fiercely during this challenging year to produce competitive rally machinery for crews around the world, so we are excited to see what our customer cars can do on the world rally stages in 2021 with these ambitious drivers,” he added.