He already has arguably the coolest name in the paddock, and as he continues to impress on the rallycross stage, Norwegian teenager Marius Solberg Hansen picked up another prestigious accolade last weekend, with the presentation of the Petter Solberg Scholarship.
Solberg Hansen has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2021, clinching the Norwegian crown in both rallycross and circuit racing and sealing the runner-up spoils in the domestic hillclimbing series.
Back in August, he also contested the second round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s Euro RX3 season at Höljes, turning heads with a brace of top five qualifying performances and only narrowly missing out on progressing through to the final in the 21-strong field behind the wheel of his ex-Marius Bermingrud Škoda Fabia.
Having ably proven himself on the national scene, the 17-year-old is now targeting a full campaign at Euro RX3 level in 2022, buoyed by his NOK 150,000 (c. €15.000) scholarship prize – presented to him by two-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Solberg himself in front of some 700 guests during the Norwegian Motorsport Association’s annual Motorsport Gala evening.
“I am incredibly grateful and proud to receive this scholarship,” Solberg Hansen enthused. “It is an honour in itself, and the money will clearly come in useful in our preparations for next year.”
The scholarship was launched in 2019 following Solberg’s retirement from full-time competition, with Solberg Hansen only its second recipient. The 2014 and 2015 FIA World Rallycross Champion was effusive in his praise for his young compatriot.
“Marius has already achieved incredible results despite the fact that he is only 17,” acknowledged the first driver ever to secure FIA World Championship titles in two different disciplines. “His versatility is also impressive, and in addition to his great talent, he has a good support network around him, which is important to enable him to retain full focus on developing himself and his driving. I have great faith that Marius will succeed internationally as well.”
“The reason the scholarship was established is that we hope future generations will be motivated by the courage and the passion Petter has always had for motorsport,” added Norwegian Motorsport Association President, Finn Eirik Eilertsen. “The scholarship reminds them that with the right attitude and hard work, almost anything is possible. Marius is in every way a worthy recipient, and it will be extremely interesting to follow him in the years to come.”