Ole Christian Veiby got the perfect rehearsal for the Swedish WRC round when he and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen scored a strong second place at KNA Rally Finnskog.
The 20-year-old from Kongsvinger had not competed since the WRC round in Wales in November last year when he on Saturday morning jumped into the car to participate at the second round of this year’s Norwegian rally championship. But the youngster’s skills were far from rusty – he was in the game from start and won the first stage ahead of drivers like Mads Østberg and Eyvind Brynildsen.
“I started the stage a bit carefully, but finished it very well” he said.
Last year’s works driver for Ford, Mads Østberg, fought back on the following two stages and had a 10,5 seconds lead over Ole Christian Veiby right before midpoint service, with Eyvind Brynildsen in third place, just seven tenths behind Veiby.
SS4 was cancelled due to safety reasons and with that, only two stages remained after service. And it turned out to be an exciting duel. Ole won SS5 and narrowed down the gap to Østberg to 8,1 seconds and also increased the gap to Brynildsen with three tenths. Brynildsen was fastest on the final stage but just seven tenths behind, Veiby secured a strong second place overall – only five seconds behind Mads Østberg.
“It was a fantastic fight with Eyvind (Brynildsen) today. 0,3 seconds is not many meters on these roads so to speak. We came to start hoping to surprise and that is what we did” he said.
The rally on Veiby’s home soil was primarily an important warm-up for the WRC round in Sweden in two weeks.
“There is no doubt that this has given me confidence. Mads is one of the best drivers in the world on snow and ice and to be beaten by just five seconds, that makes me a little proud” he said.