Oliver led from the first stage (by 14.8 seconds), and nobody got close to him for the following 14 stages and won by 1m28.5s.The entry for Shell Helix Rally Estonia is arguably the strongest national field outside of the WRC calendar with more top-line factory drivers than any other domestic event in the world.
Without a doubt, it was Oliver’s biggest test yet. Certainly, the biggest since he re-wrote history in the FIA European Rally Championship – when Oliver won Rally Liepãja (Latvia, May 25/26) to become the youngest winner of the world’s oldest rally championship.
When Oliver and co-driver Aaron Johnston reached the finish almost a minute and a half ahead of his nearest class rival and only 24 seconds behind the last of the fastest World Rally Cars ever made, the 17 year old Norwegian ace couldn’t have been happier.
“What an incredible time this is right now,” said Oliver. “Last week I was in Goodwood for the Festival of Speed with a 600 horsepower Supercar, this week it’s virtually a WRC round in Estonia and next week America for New England Forest Rally with Subaru Motorsports USA. I like these three weeks!
“When you look at the entry for Estonia, you know this is going to be a big challenge,” said Oliver. “Every team from the world championship was here; M-Sport was here with its new [R5] car and that was driven by [Teemu] Suninen – the guy who finished second on the last round of the World Rally Championship in Sardinia. I knew this competition would be tough. From the start, my focus was on just driving my rally – not looking to anybody else. It was like [Rally] Liepãja for that. Aaron [Johnston, co-driver] and I wanted to do our thing. We just got on with it. We had good notes, a good recce and I just drove the car.
“When we got into the lead and we were still taking time out of people then I started to manage the driving a bit more to control the gap. To be honest, to come here and do what we’ve done, I’m still thinking about it a little bit. Yes, OK, we’ve had some small issues – we lost the power steering for a while and had a couple more things to work on – but I’m very, very happy with this result.”
“Like all the American Rally Association rounds this year, I will be in New England for the first time – this year is all about discovering new stuff. I think the roads are pretty fast and wide over there, they should suit our Subaru WRX STI quite well.
“I’m loving driving the Subaru and competing in America – the atmosphere’s really nice out there and the team and all the guys are just fantastic. And, of course, what’s really special is the chance to compete in the blue and yellow like my father.I love that.”
Source: Monster Energy