Millions of race cars thundered up the hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year. That number isn't true, of course, but it certainly feels like the truth. The converted driveway that hosts the hillclimb buzzes from dawn to dusk. If you camp in one track-side spot, like I did for most of the event, the cars pass by in a flash, often blurring together in your memory.
And, oddly enough, when every second or third car is an irreplaceable motorsports icon, even the most special metal tends to lose its impact. One race-winning Porsche 917 is followed by another, and another, and another. Among the grinding processional, it takes a special driver to deliver a memorable stint up the hill at Goodwood.
Oliver Solberg delivered just that. Rally fans will recognize the name instantly; Petter Solberg, Oliver's father, won the World Rally Championship drivers' title in 2003, hustling a blue WRX to glory for the Subaru World Rally Team. (Some guy called Sébastien Loeb claimed second that year.) Oliver clearly didn't fall far from the Solberg family tree. While he hopped between different machines during the weekend at Goodwood, Oliver made his biggest splash during a banzai charge up the hill, wrangling his 600-hp Citröen DS Rallycross through each corner with abandon.
I was stationed between the first two turns up the hillclimb. What you miss in this clip are the spectators' shouts when Solberg backed in the Citröen and cut each corner in a lurid, dusty slide. The crowd went berserk. That reaction wasn't matched by anyone else the rest of the day. Hell, I didn't see half that excitement during the entire event. Solberg had the crowd on their collective feet. He left the event as the toast of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Even more shocking than Oliver's forceful driving is his age: 17. If this clip and his bloodline are any indication, we'll be seeing Oliver on a WRC stage soon. We can't wait.
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