Ole Christian Veiby was very pleased and all smiles after winning the fourth round of the Finnish rally championship. “This was a perfect rally” he said.
The 19-year-old, who turns 20 on Friday, gave himself the best thinkable birthday present at the moment. Together with co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen, he came to Finland to participate in the Finnish rally championship to find the right pace for the next Junior WRC round. And speed is something that the guys definitely delivered. They dominated the event and won by almost a minute. Enset Oy SM-Ralli consisted of 120 km, divided into nine special stages and had its base outside the city of Tampere.
“This was perfect, all according to plan. Even though our main objective for participating was to find speed for the JWRC round in Poland, I still wanted to win. I knew I had the pace” said a pleased Ole Christian Veiby.
But it was not as simple as traveling to Finland and collect the victory – this was also Ole’s first rally on gravel with a four-wheel-drive Skoda Fabia R5. In the Junior WRC, he drives a Citröen DS3 R3T with two-wheel-drive.
“It was a bit different than what I’m used to at first. I had to use the first two stages to get going properly. During the day, I found a nice rhythm and with that came the speed” said the Norwegian youngster, who was fastest on six out of the nine stages. At the finish, he was 54.1 seconds ahead of Juha Salo, who is in the lead of the championship. Ole has done three of the four rounds so far and with two victories and a second place, he is second in the overall championship standings.
“I’m not sure if I will do any more events in the Finnish championship. At least one of the remaining rallies collides with a JWRC round” said Ole, who definitely can say that his trip to Finland was successful.
“We have absolutely found a great pace. The roads here are completely crazy and I think that we had an average speed of 130 km per hour on some stages. The stages were located to typical Finnish roads. The road characters are pretty similar to the one at the Finnish WRC event, so this rally has also been valuable in terms of that” he explained.
To quickly adjust back to the front-wheel-drive car that he will drive at the JWRC round in Poland in the beginning of July, he will have a test day already on Monday.
“Then it will be all about rethinking things, but after a few kilometers of testing, we will probably be in sync with the car again” said Ole.
Results Enset Oy SM-Ralli1. Ole Veiby 59:06,4
2. Juha Salo +54,1
3. Joonas Soilu +1:11,4
4. Ari Vihavainen +1:11,5
5. Mikko Eskelinen +2:03,1
6. Jussi Vainionpää +2:03,9
7. Jarkko Hosike +2:06,4
8. Kim Niemi +2:10,0
9. Takamoto Katsuta +2:33,9
10. Jukka Kasi +2:52,7Photo: Taneli Niinimäki Photography