Ole Christian Veiby was close to getting a dream debut for Skoda Motorsport at Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand. But technical problems robbed the 20-year-old of the victory and he finished in second place.
Ahead of the event, the Norwegian youngster said that he hoped to be able to fight for a podium at the first round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. That he eventually finished second was still a bit bitter. He had the victory in the palm of his hand at his debut for Skoda Motorsport.
“We were in control of the victory when we got problems on SS14. I used the brakes and the pedal came all the way down” he explained.
At a speed of about 140 km/h without brakes, things got dramatic for Ole and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen.
“It was a pretty tight corner and without brakes we hit an earth bank. We barely made it through the corner. We had to finish the stage without brakes and lost nearly one and a half minute” said the recently contracted works driver.
It appeared that a hole in the brake hose had led to the brake fluid leaking. On the way to the next stage, Ole and Stig Rune had to put their mechanics’ gloves on. They changed the brake hose, but arrived late to the stage and got a minute and a half’s penalty.
The Norwegian came to New Zealand as an unfamiliar name to most of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship contestants. Together with co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen, he immediately introduced himself by being fastest at shakedown. They kept their great pace through the rally and lead by 23 seconds when the brake issues came on SS14 – and that cost them the victory. Their Indian team-mate Gaurav Gill secured the win, two minutes and two seconds ahead of Ole and Stig Rune. Although it was bitter to drop to second, they are pleased with the job that they have done for Skoda Motorsport.
“I feel like we did our job and we also got great feedback from the team. Throughout the weekend, we got many pats on the shoulders. I’m obviously a little disappointed that we didn’t win, but at the same time we get valuable points and lots of experience. I came here not knowing what to expect and now it feels good to have completed my debut. I would like to thank Skoda Motorsport, MRF and the rest of the team” said Ole, who liked Rally of Whangarei very well.
“It was a really cool rally! Incredibly fun stages that had just about everything. Now I’m looking forward to the next round in Australia” he said.
Top 10 Rally of Whangarei 2017
1. Gaurav Gill/Stephane Prevot, 2:35:06.8
2. Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjærmoen, +2:02.8
3: Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield, +6:53.5
4. Dylan Turner/Malcolm Read, +7:59.9
5. Darren Galbraith/Rocky Hudson, +8:59.9
6. Rhys Gardner/Phil Hall, +12:41.4
7. Graham Featherstone/ Dave Devonport, +13:55.6
8. Job Quantock/Matt Hayward, +16:52.6
9. Dave Strong/Bruce McKenzie, +17:39.9
10. Robert Blomberg/Lars Andersson, +17:45.5