TODAY’S announcement that Aaron Johnston and Oliver Solberg have decided to go their separate ways will have caught many by surprise.
Over the last three years together, the young crew has been tipped for the very top of the World Rally Championship, so their decision to part company will raise more questions than answers.
One thing is for sure, they didn’t reach the heights anticipated in 2021 due to a combination of mechanical issues with their new Hyundai Motorsport i20 Rally2 machine and individual errors.
That meant they failed to finish more events than they concluded this season, including their last two WRC2 outings in Belgium and last week at the Acropolis Rally in Greece, and those disappointing results will probably be suggested in some quarters as having played a part in their decision to go in different directions.
It is believed, however, that there has been no fall-out between Johnston and Solberg, who remain friends, and that this decision has been amicable and purely based on the professional interests of both parties, who won the Junior European Rally Championship together last season.
Solberg is expected to announce a new co-driver in the very near future, with Rally Finland just over a week away, and having already had Kris Meeke’s former navigator, Seb Marshall in the passenger seat at Arctic Rally Finland in February, that would seem like one logical option for the teenager.
Meanwhile, some might see the departure of 26-year-old Fintona man, Johnston from Hyundai Motorsport and from the Solbergs as a big blow to his career, but it is also believed that he won’t be without a gig for too long and an announcement in relation to his future would seem soon to follow too.
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S ULSTER HERALD…
Posted: 11:23 am September 16, 2021