The debut as a works driver in the WRC 2 turned out to be a rollercoaster ride for Ole Christian Veiby. The Skoda Motorsport driver had to retire after a roll on Friday, but restarted on Saturday and completed Wales Rally GB while delivering some impressively strong stage times.
“This was an event filled with ups and downs. It was a disappointment that we rolled on Friday, but very positive that we finished the rally with some great stage times on Sunday” said Ole Christian Veiby.
The 21-year-old Norwegian started Wales Rally GB with two third fastest times and a second quickest time before setting the fastest time in the WRC 2 class on SS4. That put him in second place overall, only 7,5 seconds behind Pontus Tidemand – the 2017 WRC 2 champion. But Friday turned out to be a day of contrasts for the rally talent. On the following stage, he literally rolled out of the competition with his Skoda Fabia R5.
“It was completely my own fault. I came to fast into a corner, went wide and hit a dirt bank. The car flipped over and got so damaged that we had to retire for the day. It was very disappointing because I felt like we had found a good rhythm. We didn’t push in any way but mistakes can still happen, something we learned the hard way this time” said Ole.
The mechanics managed to fix the car and made it possible for Ole and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen to come back on Saturday, but obviously they were out of the top fight. They started a bit on the careful side, but eventually got warmed-up and set some solid stage times. The youngster followed it up with another two stage wins and several top three times.
“I know the pace is there and I think I got to show that. If we look past some small mistakes, we are right there in the top” said Ole, whose team-mate Tidemand won the WRC2 class.