Ole Christian Veiby came to Wales Rally GB with one goal – to show off in a good way at his last event for the season. “I think we did just that and I’m happy with my season finale” he said.
The 20-year-old from the city of Kongsvinger in Norway got the opportunity to drive a Skoda Fabia R5 in the WRC 2 category at the WRC rounds in Spain and Wales. This is a step up from the JWRC, the junior class in the WRC, which he has participated in for the main part of the season. And the youngster has shown his rally talent in a great way in the season finale.
“The last two rallies have made me want more. I think we have done it well, so now I’m hoping for a full season programme with the same car next year” said Ole.
The level in the WRC 2 class is very high and the Norwegian and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen knew that it would be extremely tough to mix in with the top fight. The target was to choose a few stages to showcase their talent, and that was a tactic that worked well.
“But the event started very unfortunate. Two punctures on the first stage was not what we had in mind. The car in front of us had dragged a rock onto the road about five kilometers into the stage. We hit that rock with both right tyres and punctured the rear right tyre. We stopped to change it. Only five kilometers later, we got a puncture on the front right tyre. My guess is that we got a slow puncture when we hit the rock” said Ole, who was saved by the two spare tyres they were carrying.
He admits that it was difficult to find the rhythm on Friday, but it got gradually better and so did the stage times.
“Those who were in the fight for the championship were flat out. It wasn’t easy to keep up with their pace but I set some good stage times, which I’m happy about” he said.
This was the third time that Ole participated at Wales Rally GB and he is starting to get familiar with it. The conditions were a bit different this year. Usually the event is like mud wrestling for cars, but this time it was somewhat drier. With that in mind, it is a paradox that the roads in many places were more slippery than usual.
“It was definitely a fun event. But the conditions were very demanding. You could easily get fooled to believe that it wasn’t so muddy when it in fact was. The roads were almost like they were polished in some places and it was difficult to predict the grip” said Ole.
Given that he didn’t do the last event in the JWRC in favor of the WRC 2, he also chose to not aim to defend his second place from last year. He still had a little hope that the season could end with a second place, but eventually had to realize that it was a fourth place for him in the championship.
“Although the chances to finish within the top three were great, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to drive an R5 car in the WRC 2 class” explained Ole.
WRC 2 top 10, Wales Rally GB:
- E. Lappi, Finland 3:24:00.3
- P. Tidemand, Sweden +29.1
- T. Suninen, Finland +30.2
- J. Kopecky, The Czech Republic +2:18.8
- M. Aasen, Norway 4:25.3
- O. Veiby, Norway +8:22.8
- N. Fuchs, Austria +10:53.2
- F. Turán, Hungary +16:56.2
- D. Bogie, Great Britain +17:32.1
- K. Suwaidi, Qatar +18:31.1