Rally Portugal 19 – 22 May preview

18. May. 2016

Veiby aims for the JWRC top

Last year, Ole Christian Veiby finished second in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship. This year, he aims for the top position and is well prepared for Rally Portugal, which is the first out of six events in the JWRC.

The 19-year-old from Kongsvinger in Norway had a massive development during last season. He surprised many with his mature and strong driving, something that resulted in securing second place in the JWRC in his debut season in the championship. With a year of experience from the championship, he has now ambitions to take the ultimate victory this year. The main prize is to get to compete at six WRC events during 2017. The JWRC is also an excellent format to show new talents and a perfect way to get experience from the WRC rallies. And this is where the French rally legends Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier began their careers, just like Dani Sordo, Craig Breen and Elfyn Evans.

“Now we know more about what awaits us. With a second place from last year, it is only natural to aim higher this year – an then it is all about finishing on top. The Frenchman Quentin Gilbert, who took the JWRC victory last year, is doing the WRC 2 this year. With that in mind, we know that we are favorites for the victory this time” said Ole Christian Veiby, who is accompanied by Stig Rune Skjærmoen in the co-driver’s seat.

11 cars come to start in this year’s JWRC, and Ole sees Italian Simone Tempestini, Frenchman Terry Folb, Italian Andrea Crugnola and Slovakian Martin Koci as his main competitors in the fight for the overall win.

“Crugnola and Koci did not participate in the JWRC last year and I’m excited to see their level” said Ole.

He and Stig Rune have prepared thoroughly for a new season. Ole won the WRC 3 class in Rally Monte Carlo in January, participated in the WRC 2 in Sweden and in addition to that, he has done some winter rallies in the Finnish championship with strong results. To prepare for the first JWRC event of the year in Portugal, the Norwegians have been in Spain for a gravel test.

“It has been great to get back to the feeling of gravel under the tyres. We had a really good test in Spain and got the answers we were looking for when it comes to set-up of the car” said Ole and added that they have been working hard and goal-oriented during the winter as well as the spring.

“Stig Rune and I have been working closely together and it has been great. Among other things, we have spent a lot of time on practicing pacenotes. We have also done much physical training in order to be as prepared as possible for a new season. I feel like we are as ready as can be.”

The Norwegian guys drive a Citröen DS3 R3T in the JWRC, the same kind of car as last year. Rally Portugal is an event that both Ole and Stig Rune is familiar with. In 2015, Ole finished fifth after driving with a broken hand on the last day of the rally.

“I have never before done a rally where so much has happened, but at the same time we learned a lot. Portugal is very challenging and you have to use your head and drive safely. It can easily turn into a difficult event, especially on the second pass of the stages, when the roads are even rougher. In many ways, this is a rally where it is all about surviving. You will not make it if you go flat out from start to finish. I’m aiming for the podium and the only way to get there is to be smart and take care of the car and the tyres” said Ole.