Ole Christian Veiby had every chance to win the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), but gearbox issues on the opening day crushed his dream to take his first international title.
The 21-year-old traveled to India with his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen to participate at the final round of the APRC. The Norwegians were in second place ahead of the event, just six points behind their team-mate Gaurav Gill. That meant that the one of the two Skoda drivers who won the rally, would also win the champion title. But unfortunately the outcome was practically decided already on Saturday, when Ole struggled with the gearbox of his Skoda Fabia R5.
“It was obviously very frustrating even though the guys did a great job at service and changed the gearbox. But by then we had already lost so much time that only an incident could take the victory away from Gill” said a disappointed Ole Christian Veiby, who really showed his internationally high pace after the gearbox change. He was fastest on the rest of Saturday’s stages and won three of four stages on the final day – and climbed to second place at the rally and also secured second place in the championship.
“The second part of the event is a very positive thing to take with us, but I am of course very disappointed to not win the championship” said Ole, who nevertheless pointed out that it has been a great experience to compete in the APRC. To score second place in a championship where every event was completely new to him is a strong achievement during his first season as a works driver. With rallies in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan and India, he finished the season many experiences richer. From those five events, he takes two victories, two second places and one third place with him.
“It has been incredibly fun and I have learned a lot by participating in the APRC, and I feel like it has been a good season all in all. We have had some issues, but still we have shown what we can do” said the Skoda driver, who congratulated Gill on his second straight victory in the APRC. Together they also made sure that Skoda won the Team Championship – something that was Skoda’s target this season.