Safari Rally: Skoda driver Oliver Solberg hit with suspended fine over social media misstep

©Oliver Solberg

Safari Rally: Skoda driver Oliver Solberg hit with suspended fine over social media misstep

Festus Chuma 11:37 - 28.03.2024

Safari Rally stewards have penalized the Sweden-born driver for off-track conduct amidst his strong performance in WRC2 class.

Skoda driver Oliver Solberg has encountered a hiccup off the track which could potentially dent his sterling reputation. 

Despite kicking off with a promising performance, clocking the second-fastest time during Wednesday's shakedown, Solberg finds himself in the stewards' spotlight for a different reason.

The young rally sensation, who is a frontrunner in the WRC2 class, faced a €2,000 (equivalent Ksh 284,000) suspension fine after a video surfaced on his Instagram account that contravened rally regulations.

The contention arose from a clip posted during the reconnaissance phase, depicting what seemed to be Solberg filming with a mobile device while driving. 

The Safari Rally stewards, upon review, determined the act as contrary to the safety ethos of the sport. 

The decision to impose a suspended fine was predicated on the video's impression that Solberg was multitasking in a manner that could set a negative example for his wide following.

In his defense, Solberg clarified that the controversial video was the handiwork of his social media manager and was filmed in a vehicle not registered for reconnaissance.

The Swedish driver emphasized that the video was immediately pulled down from his Instagram upon realization of the oversight, apologizing for any misinterpretation and the unintended portrayal of unsafe driving practices.

Despite the off-track setback, Solberg remains focused on his rally ambitions. 

Having triumphed at Rally Sweden earlier in the season, he is determined to carve out success in the challenging terrains of the Safari Rally.

"This year, the rally is longer and rougher than before," Solberg observed, emphasizing the tactical endurance required over raw speed. 

With Friday set as a relatively benign start, the real test awaits in the subsequent days, with Sunday poised as the ultimate challenge. 

Solberg's approach is clear: survive and advance, with an eye firmly on the finish line, unperturbed by the recent social media snafu.

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