A new event and new challenges await Ole Christian Veiby when he this weekend participates at Rally Hokkaido Japan, which is the penultimate round in the Asian rally championship. The 21-year-old Norwegian leads the overall championship and has a chance of deciding the championship in Japan.
Ole Christian Veiby, who competes for Skoda Motorsport, tops the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) standings when only the events in Japan and India remain. The youngster and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen are prepared for a tough battle against their team-mate Gaurav Gill in the fight for the victory in Japan. Gill won the rally last year and is in second place overall – ten points after the Norwegian.
“Just like at the other events this year, I think it will be an even fight between us in the fight for the victory. If Gill would retire, I have the chance of securing the championship title. However, that ‘s not something I think about. Even though we have a good lead overall, it is very crucial to get to the finish and score points” said Ole.
The event in Japan is, like the other APRC rounds, a completely new experience for the Norwegian. He does not know much about what awaits him, but has heard that the stages are fast, but with narrow sections.
“Since everything is new to us, it’s very important to do a good job with the reconnaissance. We won’t get any test day this time so shakedown is what we will get before the actual start. But I think it will be fine. We have many kilometers of gravel driving behind us and I feel like we’re well prepared” he said.
Although the goal is to win, he does not plan on taking any risks too big.
“If it turns out that Gill sets a pace that we’re having trouble keeping up with, we will do our own thing and focus on completing the event. There’s no point in taking unnecessary risks when we are in the lead of the championship” said Ole.
The service area is located in Obihiro, on the island of Hokkaido, which is Japan’s northernmost island. The Olympic city Sapporo is the capital of the island.
“Japan is seven hours ahead of Norway, but there’s no problem adjusting to it. I’m starting to get experienced in that area” said Ole.
Time schedule (CET+7H)
Friday 15 September
18:00 SS1 Sammy Satsunai 1 (0,96km)
Saturday 16 September
08:28 SS2 Rikubetsu Long 1 (4,63km)
09:01 SS3 Kunneywa 1 (28,75km)
09:55 SS4 Spirikakim Short 1 (14,62km)
10:34 SS5 Pawse Kamuy 1 (10,40km)
11:30 SS6 Rikubetsu Long 2 (4,63km)
13:25 SS7 Rikubetsu Long 3 (4,63km)
14:08 SS8 Kunneywa 2 (28,75km)
15:02 SS9 Spirikakim Short 2 (14,62km)
15:41 SS10 Pawse Kamuy 2 (10,40km)
18:09 SS11 Sammy Satsunai 2 (0,96km)
Sunday 17 September
06:00 SS12 Otofuke Reverse 1 (6,12km)
06:54 SS13 New Honebetsu 1 (13,79km)
08:12 SS14 New Ashoro Long 1 (29,11km)
10:23 SS15 Otofuke Reverse 2 (6,12km)
13:23 SS16 New Honbetsu 2 (13,79km)
14:41 SS17 New Ashoro Long 2 (29,11km)
17:12 SS18 Sammy Satsunai 3 (0,96km)
APRC – FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship
28-30 April Rally of Whangarei – New Zealand 2nd place
26-28 May Rally Canberra – Australia Winner
7-9 July Rally China – Kina Cancelled
11-13 August Malaysian Rally – Malaysia Winner
15-17 September Rally Hokkaido – Japan
24-26 November Rally of India – India
APRC – Driver Standings
1. Ole Christian Veiby, Norway 108 points
2. Gaurav Gill, India 98
3. Jari Ketomaa, Finland 56
4. Roberg Blomberg, Sweden 50