Hampus Hagström and Oliver Sollie shine in junior class


Hampus Hagström and Oliver Sollie, who finished fifth and fourth respectively in the junior category in last season’s RallyX championship, were perfectly prepared for the first round of the 2024 championship at Tierp.

While Niko Kinnunen made a name for himself by winning the intermediate classification in the rally sprint event and was one of only four drivers to qualify for two consecutive finals, along with Pauli Turpeinen, Oliver Sollie and Hampus Hagström, it was the latter two who made the biggest impression last weekend.

Hampus Hagström, who took his first career win in Race 1, put in a similar performance to his Norwegian rival Oliver Sollie.

Having both scored 30 points out of a possible 32 in qualifying, the two juniors neutralised each other in the final stages to reach the 25-point mark out of a total of 28 stakes in Sweden.

With 55 points each by the end of the weekend, neither teenager could show the slightest emotion at the end of the Tierp event. Both focused on their respective goals, Hagström and Sollie know that their duel has only just begun.

Second at the end of Race 2 after winning the intermediate classification, Hampus Hagström knows that there were undoubtedly a few extra points to be gained in the final.

“My final didn’t go too well, but we scored some good points for the championship, so that’s very good,” said the 13-year-old Swede.

“Our speed was there and we were able to perform well in qualifying. Q1 and Q2 were productive with first and second places, but we managed to finish on a high with another success in Q3. Unfortunately, I couldn’t confirm this in the semi-final with an average start, while engine problems slowed us down in the final. I started to feel that I was losing power and by the end of the first lap the engine wasn’t working normally. The temperature was rising and the power was gone. I tried to give it everything I had, but in this situation it was impossible to aim for anything better than second place on the podium.

Hampus Hagström, who set the second fastest absolute lap of the weekend between Oliver Sollie and Niko Kinnunen, was already concentrating on the races to come.

“Of course I’m a little disappointed not to have been able to fight with Oliver Sollie in the final, but we’re leading the championship, so there are still a lot of positive points to take away. I hope we’ll be able to keep up the pace in Kouvola. In any case, this Tierp race can only give me confidence for the future. Now we’re going to concentrate on Finland, while taking care to build a new engine to try to come back even stronger”.

For his part, Oliver Sollie lived up to expectations. After the departure of the Finnish trident of Uitto, Ylilammi and Halonen during the off-season, the Norwegian was naturally eagerly awaited.

“My feeling is good and I’m very happy with the results of the last two days,” said Oliver, who set the fastest lap of the weekend, 0.355s ahead of Hampus Hagström.

“We have a very good speed and we had some great battles with Hampus. It was close and I had a lot of fun on the track.

Like his Swedish counterpart, Oliver Sollie was keen to keep his eye on the prize.

“It’s true that I’ve won the first RallyX victory of my career, but I don’t feel anything special after this performance. I feel completely normal. Of course I was very happy to cross the finish line as the winner, but I’m concentrating on the championship. I just hope that the intensity we saw this weekend will continue throughout the season. For my part, I’m going to give it my all. I’m just going to use the next few days to fine-tune my preparation for Kouvola with a bit of extra practice”.

In a junior championship that is more unpredictable than ever, both Hagström and Sollie know that nothing is certain and that they will also have to watch out for Niko Kinnunen, who is currently third in the standings thanks to two consecutive podium finishes at Tierp.